Bandipora Rape: Probe in ‘Final Stage’ Thanks to Forensic Lab

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police has almost completed its investigation into the alleged rape of a three-year-old girl in Sumbal area of Bandipora district. The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) has established the crime, after the team of doctors had left certain gaps in the medical report.

Director General of J&K Police, Dilbag Singh, as well as the Superintendent of Police in Bandipora, Rahul Malik, confirmed to The Quint that the investigation was in the “final stage”, and that the police would be filing a challan against the detained accused, Tahir Ahmad Mir, “in a few days”.

They said that the main investigation, in which the FSL played a key role, had been completed in record time, and only some technical and legal formalities were pending.

Also Read: Amid Bandipora Protests, Another Minor Raped In J&K’s Ganderbal

The Forensic Lab’s Inputs

Even as the two senior police officers declined to share details, well-placed authoritative sources, privy to the investigation, revealed that the SIT, comprising Sub- Divisional Police Officer of Sumbal and a Senior Prosecuting Officer, used the services of the FSL, after they noticed certain deficiencies in the medical report prepared by a team of doctors.

“The Forensic Science Laboratory worked hard, collected and examined circumstantial and other evidences, while the SIT obtained evidences and corroborations during the investigation. It was established beyond any iota of doubt, that the accused had committed rape on the girl child, and some deliberate efforts had been made to add twists to shield the accused”, said an official.

Also Read: Angry Protests Erupt in Kashmir After 3-Yr-Old’s Rape in Bandipora

Attempts to Project the Accused as A ‘Minor’

While the principal of a local school had purportedly issued a fake birth certificate, in an attempt to show the accused as a minor, the SIT is understood to have established his age as 20 years. Being under 18 years of age would have made it incumbent on the police to treat him as minor and prosecute him under Juvenile Justice Act.

In the midst of an uproar, the father of the accused had dismissed the allegation of rape against his son as an ‘attempt by his neighbour to grab his house’. He had told a local news agency that his neighbour, who had purchased his house, had staged a drama, as he was supposed to pay him the second installment of the deal on the same day that he leveled the allegation of rape.

Also Read: Rape of 3-year-old triggers protests in Bandipora

FIR Under Provisions of Ranbir Penal Code, POCSO

According to the FIR registered with the Sumbal police station, the accused had lured the toddler into a nearby school compound and committed the crime inside a toilet on 8 May, Wednesday, which was the second day Ramazan. The FIR was registered under different sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), the equivalent of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in J&K. Provisions of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act were subsequently added to the FIR.

Initially, there were some routine protest demonstrations in Sumbal-Pattan belt of northern Kashmir, which subsequently turned violent and spilled over to Srinagar, Budgam, Pulwama and Anantnag districts. Dozens of vehicles were damaged in intensive stone-pelting on Srinagar-Baramulla highway, and scores sustained injuries in the bitter clashes for two days.

A 23-year-old, Arshid Ahmad Dar of Cheenabal, was hit on his head when the police and the CRPF threw tear gas shells on the crowds. He subsequently succumbed to injuries at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in Srinagar.

Initially silent on the reports of the young girl’s rape, almost all the mainstream and separatist political parties later issued statements, demanding fair investigation and exemplary punishment to the accused, if found guilty.

Demonstrators carried placards while demanding that the ‘culprit’ be publicly hanged to death.

DLSA Orders Rs 1 Lakh Interim Compensation to Rape Survivor

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, as well as the district judge designated under the JJ Act, took suo motu cognizance of the public uproar over the alleged incident of rape, and directed the police to submit detailed reports.

The Principal District and Sessions Judge, Bandipora, who also happens to be the District Legal Services Authority (DSLA) Chairperson, directed the accused to pay an interim compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the survivor.

“From the perusal of the status report submitted by the police, it is established that the incident of alleged sexual violence of the 3-year-old minor girl has taken place, as a result of which the victim has suffered loss/injury arising out of the reported criminal activity,” the Chairperson observed in his order.

“I am satisfied that the victim is entitled to be compensated by way of interim measure of compensation and as such it is recommended that interim compensation to the tune of Rs, 1,00,000/ (rupees one lakh) shall be paid to the victim in terms of Section 545-A Cr.P.C (Criminal Procedure Code)read with J&K Victim Compensation Scheme, 2013 (herein referred to as Scheme of 2013 provided under SRO No. 229 dated 23rd of April, 2013)”, the order reads.

“However, an undertaking shall be furnished on behalf of the minor victim before the disbursal of the compensation amount, to the effect that if the trial court, while passing judgment at the later date, orders the accused to pay an amount by way of compensation under Sub-Section 3 of Section 445 of the Act, the victim/claimant shall remit the amount ordered, equal to the amount of compensation or the amount ordered to be paid under Sub-Section 3, whichever is less,” the judicial officer ordered.

(The writer is a Srinagar-based journalist. He can be reached @ahmedalifayyaz.)

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