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Army releases video of girl alleging harassment not by soldier, but local

Authorities today imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar and Kupwara districts in Jammu and Kashmir as tension mounted over the killing of three persons in firing by security forces to quell protests after an alleged molestation incident.

As the death toll rose to three after a 55-year-old woman today succumbed to her injuries sutained during the firing in Handwara, 85 km from Srinagar, in Kupwara district yesterday, J and K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the matter with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished.

Describing the firing incident as “very unfortunate”, Mehbooba, who is on her maiden visit to Delhi after assuming the post of chief minister, said she raised the matter with Parrikar.

“I spoke to Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. “At the same time the families(of the victims) will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future,” she told reporters in Delhi.

Two youths, including a budding cricketer, were killed when Army opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob which was protesting against alleged molestation of a girl by an army jawan.

Army today released a purported video statement of the girl given to the police to claim there is no case of molestation by its jawan.

“If you focus on the video released by us, it clears that there is no case of molestation. It is a malafide intent by some elements to malign the good image of Army,” Defense Spokesperson N N Joshi said.

“Army regrets the loss of life. The matter is being investigated. Anybody found guilty shall be dealt severely as per law,” he said.

The Army also issued a press release in which it said the video footage “implicated” local youth of misdemeanour.

“The truth from Handwara: the girl, purportedly molested by an army soldier, exposes the malicious intent of perpetrators. “Implicates local youth of misdemeanor and false propaganda that resulted in massive protests,” it said.

Raja Begum (55) of Langate succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Hospital in Srinagar the wee hours, a police official said.

He said four others injured in the incident were undergoing treatment at various hospitals.

Curfew-like Restrictions were imposed in six police station areas of Srinagar city and Handwara area of Kupwara in north Kashmir, a police official said.

He said restrictions were imposed in Rainawari, Maharajgunj, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safakadal and Maisuma police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure in view of apprehensions of law and order problems.

Most of the shops, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut in areas other than those were restrictions have been imposed.

Public transport was off the roads while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying, the official said. He said reports of shutdown were received from most of the district headquarters of the Valley.

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