Father of molested girl 'abducted', says Kashmir group

Srinagar: A rights group in Kashmir on Thursday accused security forces of virtual "abduction" of the father of the girl whose alleged molestation by soldiers led to violent protests and subsequently to deaths of four people in firing by security forces.

"The family of the girl states that she has been kept in police custody from 12 April to date. Last night, around 1 a.m., the father of the victim was called to the Handwara police station. He was accompanied by his brother. Since then his whereabouts are not known. The family has been denied access to both the minor girl and her father," the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Society (JKCS) said in a statement issued here.

"The detention of the minor girl and her father are outside the powers of the state and appears to be an attempt to further pressurise the family to withdraw all allegations against the armed forces," it added, claiming the actions of the police and the army would necessarily invite criminal prosecution if investigated.

The family of the girl, according to the statement, had appealed for immediate release of the girl and her father and has sought legal assistance.

"The state under the garb of law and order is ensuring that all access to the family of the victim is denied so as to ensure protection to the armed forces personnel and seek to further distract from the crimes that have been committed..," it said.

The Kashmir Valley has been on boil since the killings took place while Hurriyat leaders have called for a shutdown. Restrictions were imposed in many parts of the valley to curb protests.

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