Protests erupted at scores of places in the Kashmir Valley on Monday as outrage over the rape of a three-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
Markets were closed in Bandipora, Sopore, Badgam and Baramulla towns but shutdown call given by the Itihadul Muslimeen, a religious outfit, had a partial effect in Srinagar city.
Schools and business establishments in the area remained shut as protestors demanded the strongest penalty for the accused. Local officials said public transport was also affected by the strike. However, government offices and banks remained open, they said.
People in large numbers took to the streets across the state capital and other places demanding death penalty for the man accused of raping a three-year-old girl last week.
Students of Kashmir University, Central University and the Islamic University of Science and Technology boycotted classes and held protests. Members of the High Court Bar Association stayed away from courts to express solidarity with the victim.
Former CMs Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, separatist leaders, as well as a number of social, religious and political groups expressed shock over the incident.
Police on Monday detained the principal of a private school who issued a minor certificate for the rape accused, Tahir Ahmad Mir, who has already been arrested. Mir’s father has given a statement that his son is 20 years old, said the police.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been set up to fast-track the probe.
Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik expressed pain and directed the police to “ensure culprit gets exemplary punishment for this shameful act”.
“Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed deep shock and pain over the extremely heinous incident of rape of a 3-year-old girl from Bandipora district,” a press statement from the Raj Bhavan said.
Malik has conducted a detailed review of the case and directed Kashmir IG of police SP Pani to ensure justice to the victim.
“On learning about the unfortunate incident, the Governor immediately spoke to SP Pani, IGP Kashmir, and took a detailed review of the ongoing investigations into the case. He directed the IGP to work swiftly in the case and ensure that the culprit gets exemplary punishment for this shameful act,” the press note reads.
The valley has been witnessing protests after the minor girl was allegedly raped in Sumbal area of Bandipora district in north Kashmir on May 9.