Minor girl who can’t be named remains in police custody
30 April 2016
On 28 April 2016, after receiving a second written application from the minor girl and family seeking the immediate end of police custody / police “protection”, Ms. Nayeema Mehjoor, State Commission for Women (SCW), ordered the police to end the custody / “protection” of the girl. After the SCW order was disregarded by the police, on 29 April 2016 the Chairperson, SCW, and Handwara police asked the girl to submit the same application in writing to the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Handwara. Ms. Nayeema Mehjoor initially expressed confidence that her order would help in ending the police custody and also she did inform the JKCCS legal team after examining the documents provided to her by Police that the protection had never been ordered by the CJM in the first place.
On 29 April 2016, the father of the girl submitted an application before CJM, Handwara, explicitly seeking the end of police custody immediately. But, SHO, Handwara Police Station [also a respondent in the High Court petition] submitted a status report before the CJM informing the court of the litigation pending in the High Court and stated that one of the relief sought in the family’s High Court petition was in fact police protection. The SHO Handwara submission is a complete misrepresentation as the entire case before the High Court is that at no point has the minor girl and family voluntarily sought any protection from the police and that they are in fact under police custody against their will. The CJM dismissed the application, as the case was sub-judice before the High Court.
The Handwara police have consistently from 12 April 2016 itself used misrepresentations and deception, combined with intimidation and harassment, to conceal their criminal conduct in this case. SHO Handwara in the status report before CJM, Handwara has once again used the same tactic to ensure the continued unlawful police custody of the minor girl.
The minor girl and family have now spent 18 days in police custody. As the family struggles in confinement, the minor girl’s expectations from the High Court increase as the matter is to be heard on 2 May.
Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad . She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.