Srinagar: The Kashmir Valley erupted in anger on Monday against the rape of a three-year-old minor, with 74 people injured in widespread clashes between the security forces and protesters. Markets and educational institutions were shut and most transport went off the roads as protests broke out in all 10 districts of the Valley with those taking to the streets seeking death for the young man, Tahir Ahmed Mir, who allegedly raped the girl in Bandipora on May 9.
The incident occurred when Muslims were breaking their daily fast during the ongoing holy month of Ramadan.
Forty-seven security personnel were injured in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district when stone pelting mobs went on the rampage. An official statement said an Assistant Commander of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) was hit on the head by a stone and he sustained a critical injury.
The accused, Tahir Mir, has been arrested. A police statement said: “Miscreants pelted stones on security forces deployed on National Highway at Mirgund, Chainabal, Harthrath, Singhpora, Jheel bridge, Kripalpora Payeen and Hanjiwera areas of Baramulla, resulting in injuries to 47 security forces personnel including one Assistant Commandant of SSB 2nd Battalion who was hit on his head.
“Utmost restraint was maintained by the forces on ground. However about seven miscreants got injured (and) are all stable.”
Clashes also occurred at a dozen other places between the security forces and stone throwing mobs during the day.
In Badgam district, 20 youths were injured in clashes with the security forces.
Students of Kashmir University, Central University and the Islamic University of Science and Technology boycotted classes and held protests. Members of the High Court Bar Association stayed away from courts to express solidarity with the victim.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik sought exemplary punishment to the rapist, “Governor has expressed deep shock and pain over the extremely heinous incident of rape of a 3-year-old girl from Bandipora,” a Raj Bhawan statement said.
It said the Governor spoke to S.P. Pani, Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Kashmir, and directed him “to work swiftly in the case and ensure that the culprit gets exemplary punishment for this shameful act”. The Governor asked religious leaders of different communities to deplore this gruesome incident and appealed to the people to remain calm and not let “anti-social elements disturb peace and harmony in the society”.
Former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, separatist leaders as well as a number of social, religious and political groups expressed shock over the incident. Mehbooba Mufti has said that the guilty of such a heinous crime should be stoned to death by invoking the Muslim Sharia laws.
Preliminary medical examination of the Bandipora rape accused has proved that he was not a minor. “Doctors have said that the accused is around 20 years old,” a police officer said. A controversy had arisen about the age of the accused after a private school issued a date of birth certificate that said the minor was born on July 23, 2009.
Police suspected the genuineness of the certificate from the very beginning. They have lodged an FIR against the principal of the private school. Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been set up to fast-track the probe.