Major KS Suresh in the reply affidavit denies any army role in the detention of the minor girl, and states that the army was not involved in the creation of the video of the girl and “only released the video which was already existing on various social media”. Further, that “nothing has been done by the respondents with malice”. First, as seen in some other cases, the army ultimately passes on the blame to either the Jammu Kashmir government or the police and absolves itself of all responsibility. Second, it is only investigations that will ascertain the role of the army in the creation and circulation of the video and this is precisely what the minor girl and family have prayed for before the High Court. Third, the circulation of an unlawful recorded video would also warrant legal action. The army has admitted that they circulated the video and this admission should lead to legal action. Therefore, if not for the creation of the video – which needs to be investigated – the army must necessarily be held accountable for the circulation of this illegal video. Also, the army on one hand relies on the video for absolving itself from the accusation of molestation and at the same time seeks to distance itself from it. Finally, the record clearly reflects the “malice” with which the army and police have treated the minor girl. The very act of circulating a video of a minor girl within hours of her detention by the police, with no sensitivity to either the girl or the fact that the video itself is unlawful, is a clear demonstration of the intent of the army i.e. to defame the girl at all costs.
(Handwara minor girl case)
3 May 2016
Today, Union of India (UOI) and the army, through Major KS Suresh of 21 Rashtriya Rifles, submitted their reply to the petition filed on behalf of the family of the Handwara minor girl by her mother, the petitioner. The High Court petition, to be heard in the coming days by the Division Bench, accuses the Handwara police of holding the minor girl and family in unlawful police custody and seeks investigations against the army and police for their role in the creation and circulation of the video.
The case in the High Court was supposed to be listed within a week in the Division Bench, but due to non-availability of the judges and also the vacation of the Chief Justice, it is unclear when the case will be listed next, as it is only the Chief Justice, who can constitute the Division Bench.
Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society