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Kashmir – Handwara girl seeks SWC help for release from police detention #FreeHandwaraGirl

Handwara girl seeks SWC help for release from police detention

Sumaiya Yousuf

Srinagar, April 27:The girl from Handwara, who has been at the centre of the controversy that led to five civilian deaths in Kupwara district, has once again again sought the intervention of J&K State Women’s Commission (SWC) for her release from police detention along with her father.

The girl wrote a letter to SWC Chairperson, Nayeema Mehjoor for the second time in this regard.

Human rights organization, Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has been providing legal assistance to the girl and her family.

Programme Coordinator of JKCCS, Khurram Parvaiz said: “Her primary wish was that she should be set free from the oppressive police custody immediately. She wrote a letter today again requesting SWC to rid her of police detention.”

He said the girl’s father handed over a written application to SCW chairperson wherein they have denied having sought police protection.

“We are now waiting for the SWC response to this plea,” Parvaiz added.

The girl had earlier written a letter to SWC complain about intimidation by police.  “She wrote a letter in which she informed Mehjoor about intimidation by police but the response from SWC is still awaited,” Parvaiz said.

When contacted, Mehjoor declined to share any information regarding the case. “I cannot say anything at this stage as I am busy meeting eyewitnesses, family and other people. we will be able to divulge information after some time,” she said.

Meanwhile, condemning police’s role in the case, JKCCS issued an official statement, saying: “The Handwara minor girl has been video recorded, that in turn was widely circulated by the army. Slapped, spat at, had her phone snatched, personal space violated, randomly moved around, been under constant surveillance and kept detained by police all of this against her will and she will still continue to remain under detention till May 2 (when the court will hear the matter next).”

Earlier, on Tuesday a division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir high court heard a petition by the girl’s mother, seeking her immediate release. The plea was clubbed with a PIL filed on the same lines by the Bar Association.

Alleging that the girl’s personal space was being violated, JKCCS said: “On the one hand, government claims that the minor girl and family are not under preventive detention, and only protection is being given to them, but on the other hand the Police is brazenly regulating her movement and even prevented her from visiting the High Court and the office of the SWC.”

“By these lies and restrictions, we believe the government wants to break the will of the minor girl and her family to continue their struggle for justice, which of course will lead to culpability of police and government officials,” the JKCCS said.

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