J&K police arrest one of the two accused named by Handwara girl

Srinagar: One person was arrested in connection with an alleged molestation case of a girl in Handwara, an incident that triggered a cycle of violence for past one week in North Kashmir.

Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused identified, was arrested from Handwara by Jammu and Kashmir Police last night, official sources said, adding he is being questioned.

Bandey was among the two persons named by the girl in her statement before Chief Judicial Magistrate. He is accused of manhandling the girl on 12 April while she was stepping out of a public restroom in Handwara town.

The girl had also denied the allegation by local people that an armyman had tried to molest her.

Initial investigation indicate that the girl was spurning offers for a relationship from one of the two boys.

However, the entire case will be solved once the second accused is also arrested, the sources said.

Immediately, after the locals dragged the girl from the public restroom, angry mob started pelting stones and ransacked the Army bunker in Handwara town.

Incidentally, the locals had been demanding withdrawal of the bunker for quite sometime, but the army had to put its foot down, saying it was strategically important for the troops. Now the state government is likely to hand over the bunker to civil administration for development.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to the people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in the Valley.

Mobile services, that had been suspended following the clash between the army and locals, were restored on Monday. Authorities also lifted restrictions for three hours on the movement of people. However, curfew was later re-imposed in the area.