Three Army troopers have been arrested on charges of molestation and attempt to abduct a minor girl in Bandipora district.
Witnesses and police sources told local wire agencies the nine-year-old girl belongs to the Chewa area of the northern Kashmir district.
The three soldiers were detained on February 10 after they made the alleged bid to abduct and molest the girl. Of them, two men are non-locals, while one of the troopers is a resident of the state, police sources said.
A case has been registered under sections 341, 363, 511 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Sumbal Police Station after the child’s family lodged a complaint.
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter saying, “Locals in Bandipora have alleged that 3 army men tried to abduct & molest a 9 year old girl. Her family is now being pressurized to withdraw the FIR. It’s a complete travesty of justice & an impartial probe must be set up immediately so that they are given the harshest punishment.”
Bandipora SSP Rahul Malik told News18 three persons have been arrested, but did not identify them as the "case was very sensitive". "We have kept the identities of both the complainant and the accused confidential. We will proceed once the charges are made against the three accused," he said.
He did, however, confirm that a case has been registered after locals alleged the trio tried to abduct the minor girl. "Everything will be investigated,” Malik added.
The father of the girl was quoted by a local wire agency Kashmirwalla that police are investigating the matter. “I am glad that my daughter is fine. I am a daily wage labourer and cannot follow up on what is going on. She was returning from her class when the trio, as per eyewitnesses, attempted to take her away,” he was quoted as saying.
He said eyewitnesses had told him the trio was in a Maruti Alto car and tried to take her inside the car. “They were carrying three different number plates in the car,” he said.
The Army has not yet reacted to the incident. As and when that happens, the story will be updated.