Larnoo family accuses police of ‘torture, molestation’ during midnight raid

Village Shuts Down To Protest ‘Excesses, Brutality’; Police Says ‘Entire Family Is Rogue’

KHALID GUL

Kulgam, Jan 20: A family in Larnoo village of this south Kashmir district Sunday accused police of torture and molestation of two young girls of the household. The incident triggered massive protests and complete shutdown in the area. Police, however, refuted the allegations, describing the family as ‘rogue and wanted in several cases.’
 Scores of villagers assembled at Laroo early morning and protested the incident. Raising slogans against the J&K Police for “torturing the family and molesting its women”, the protesters blocked the Larnoo-Kulgam road. They demanded strict action against the erring cops. “Police raided our house on Saturday night at around 11 PM. They beat me up severely. They also beat up my two young daughters aged 17 and 18. They thrashed my 14-year-old son and my wife. The cops ripped apart the clothes of my daughters, molested them, gagged their mouth and then took them along,” Abdul Hamid Sheikh, head of the family, alleged.
 Sheikh’s clothes and shoes were soaked with blood while his body bore injury marks. His head was bandaged. “While dragging me out of the house, the cops hit me with gun-butts. I started bleeding profusely and fell unconscious. They left me near a field then,” said Sheikh, adding, “I was then hospitalized in a Primary Health Centre (PHC) at Bugam village.”
 Sheikh said while his elder son was out of home, his 14-year-old son Muhamad Iqbal was also “severely beaten and then detained.” “The cops went berserk and ransacked my house. They looted the valuable accessories including cell phones of my family members,” he alleged. 
 According to the protesters, police initially denied the arrest of the girls and their brother. However, the cops themselves released them after protests in support of their release.
 “The two girls and their bother were released from the police vehicle,” they said.
 The protesters today held a sit-in demonstration seeking stern punishment to the erring cops. They had kept the torn and blood-stained clothes and shoes of the family members on road.  “This is an inhuman, barbaric and cowardly act by police. Today it is Sheikh’s family, tomorrow it can be us. Is this what police is supposed to do?” the protesters said.
 The family members alleged that police has been harassing them for quite some time over a property dispute involving sons of the first wife of Sheikh.

POLICE VERSION
 Police, however, contested the family version, claiming that Sheikh and his family members have “several times attacked the house of Sheikh’s first wife.” They also denied having raided the house at midnight. “The entire family including Sheikh, his wife, his two sons and two daughters are wanted in connection with an FIR 5/2013 under section 332 RPC and another FIR No 6/2013 under sections 336, 436, 452, 354, 323, 379, 511 RPC in Police Station Kulgam. The police Sunday morning went to arrest them along with lady cops,” said Superintendent of Police (SP), Kulgam, Muhamad Shafi Mir. “No night raid was conducted. The family members were arrested Sunday morning and released after questioning.”
 The SP claimed that neither the family members were tortured nor the girls molested. “It was the family members of Sheikh who attacked the police personnel inside their house and injured many cops. Their elder son is involved in many cases including gambling,” the SP said.
 He added that the family members have “inflicted the injury marks upon themselves” to frame police. “You can enquire about the family from anybody in the neighborhood. It is a rogue family,” the SP alleged. He said a fresh case has been lodged against the family for attacking police.
 The Deputy Commissioner Kulgam, Jehangir Mir, said: “I have sought report from the SP and tomorrow I will myself visit the family.”
 He said an inquiry will be conducted into the incident by the Additional District Development Commissioner (ADDC) Kulgam.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 20 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 21 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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