Srinagar: It was around 7 in the evening of March 20, when 17-year-old Saima (name changed) was returning home from pastures of Samba to feed her livestock. She was accompanied by her father, mother and her elder brother.

The family was enjoying the evening ride along with their livestock until Saima was stopped by three unknown people who allegedly molested her and used racial slurs against her. After the intervention of her father and brother, they tried to abduct her.

“We cried for help. Saima somehow managed to free herself from them. They got angry and tried to beat us. One of the person called up someone on phone and within no time around 50 people came in cars with wooden rods in their hand. Saima was hiding behind her mother when the people came and started beating my father. They were repeatedly saying Ye Kashmir nahi hai, niklo yahan se (This is not Kashmir, leave this place),” recounted 19-year-old Dilawar Khatana, Saima’s brother.

Rafakat Khatana, Saima’s father was allegedly beaten black and blue and left lifeless on the road.

“After people from a nearby village came out for help, goons left us on the road and they run away. They killed our sheep as well. My father was unconscious. He was taken to the district hospital where from he was shifted to GMC Jammu. His condition was very critical for the last two day. He had developed disk in his back and had bruises all over his body,” said Dilawar.

Dilawar said, “I don’t know who were they, but I can recognize them easily. This is just to suppress the voices of the tribal community of the Jammu division. They have not done this for the first time, in the past as well many tribal families were attacked and harassed. We are living in a constant fear.”

Tribal activist and State President Jammu and Kashmir Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference (JKGBYWC), Zahid Parwaz Choudhary said, “After the 2018 incident of Kathua rape case, tribal people have been time and again harassed and molested by the ‘local goons’. People are trying to disrupt communal harmony in Jammu.”

He said that government should act strictly against such incident to stop these kind of incidence in future.

“If government within no time slaps a PSA and other draconian laws to a person who has posted anything that sounds antinational to government then why government is been so lenient to these goons who has allegedly attempted to outrage the modesty of a minor girl,” Choudhary rued.

District Magistrate Samba, Anuradha Gupta did not receive calls from Free Press Kashmir.

Speaking to the Freepress Kashmir, Senior Superintendent of Police Samba, Rajesh Sharma contradict the family’s statement that the girl was being molested instead he said that there was no case of molestation.

“We have received a complaint that some people have tried to abduct the girl and when the family tried to resist, they have beaten up one of the members of the family. He was admitted in GMC Jammu and has been discharged today,” Sharma claimed.

He said that police is investigating the matter and yet no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, IGP Jammu Mukesh Singh in a tweet said that police have taken cognizance of the incident and recorded the statement of the injured man.

 

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