Handwara Minor Girl Meets With Lawyers And Confirms Illegal Police Detention

By News Desk

On 20 April 2016 the Jammu and Kashmir High Court referred the petition filed by the mother of the Handwara minor girl to the Division Bench of the High Court for 26 April 2016. But, the court also directed the SP, Handwara [Ghulam Jeelani Wani] to facilitate the meeting between the minor girl and her mother and lawyer.

Today, Advocate Parvez Imroz and his team of three other persons arrived in Handwara for the meeting. SP, Handwara had been informed last night itself. For more than an hour DSP (Operations) and incharge SDPO Baljeet Singh and DO, Masroor Ahmad, Police Post Zachaldara, in person, and SP, Handwara, on phone, informed the team that only Advocate Parvez Imroz can be allowed for the meeting as the lawyer on record before the High Court. The meeting was finally held between the minor girl, her parents and Advocate Parvez Imroz and Adv. Kartik Murukutla. JKCCS, Programme Coordinator Khurram Parvez and another colleague were not allowed into the meeting. The girl and her father were brought from an undisclosed location, which is almost 5 kms away from the place where the actual meeting was held in Zachaldara. Two police personnel were stationed outside throughout to ensure that no one else was allowed inside.

The Jammu and Kashmir police have through their conduct today confirmed that the minor girl is in police custody, and is under severe restrictions, surveillance and her movement, and those wishing to meet her, are regulated by the police. This contradicts with the status report filed by the government before the High Court that the minor girl and family have requested police protection and are not confined or detained in any way. The restrictions imposed by the JK Police and the statement of the minor girl and her family belies the claims made by Police officials and other government officials who have stated that the girl and her family are not in the Police detention. We are particularly concerned about the statement to this effect made by Ms. Nayeema Mehjoor, Chairperson of the State Commission for Women, as she has offered to assist the family of the minor girl in relocating them away from Police control and media.

The minor girl and her family had a detailed two-hour meeting with their lawyers. The family confirmed that they were being held in police custody against their will, and seek urgent relief from the High Court to have them released from the custody and be allowed to reside at a place at their choice where they can continue their legal struggle.

The minor girl at the center of the police oppression is daunted by continuous police detention and resultant instability and worried for the security of her family members. She informed the lawyers that once she is out of the police detention; she would struggle for justice and expose the lies of the State and those who have been maligning her image.

Press Release: 21 April 2016

Spokesperson Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society

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