On 19 April, the Jammu and Kashmir police force arrested one of the accused in the alleged molestation of a teenage girl in Handwara. The incident had plunged Kashmir in a state of violent frenzy over the last week, resulting in the death of five civilians.
Hilal Ahmed Bandey, one of the two accused, was arrested from Handwara by Jammu and Kashmir police last night, official sources said, adding that he is being questioned.
Bandey was among the two people named by the girl in her statement before the chief judicial magistrate. He is accused of manhandling the girl on 12 April, while she was stepping out of a public restroom in Handwara.
The girl had also denied the allegation levelled by locals that an army personnel had tried to molest her.
In her statement before the judicial magistrate, she said that on 12 April after school hours, "while going home with her friend, she entered a public restroom near the main chowk in Handwara".
"As soon as she came out of the restroom, she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched. One of the boys was in a school uniform. The girl and her father were summoned before the chief judicial magistrate, Handwara, in compliance with the Jammu and Kashmir high court's order," the police said.
Sources said a manhunt had been launched to arrest the other accused named by the girl in her statement. Initial investigations indicate that the girl was rejecting one of the boys who sought a relationship with her.
However, the entire case will be solved once the second accused is also arrested, sources said.
Immediately after locals dragged the girl from the public restroom, an angry mob started pelting stones and ransacked the army bunker in Handwara. Locals have been demanding withdrawal of the troops, but the army says it is strategically important for the bunker to be where it is.
The state government is likely to hand over the bunker to the civil administration.
Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions continued in Handwara and adjoining areas.
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed to people to help restore peace and promised severe punishment to those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that has left five people dead.