Clashes, protests erupt across Kashmir valley against rape of minor

Kashmir observes shutdown against rape of 3-year old girl

At least 70 people were injured after the violent protests erupted over the rape of a three-year-old girl in Kashmir.

Sectarian tensions have gripped the Valley since the May 8 rape of the Shia girl in Sumbal, Bandipora.

On Thursday, the youth allegedly lured the child with a candy and raped her in Sumbal area's Trehgam locality. A controversy had arisen about the age of the accused after a private school issued a date of birth certificate that said the minor was born on July 23, 2009. A school principal's discredited certificate showing the accused as a minor, apparently to shield him, has worsened matters. A fast-track investigation has also been demanded by the protestors. Official sources said the principal is in "protective custody" because police fear he may be harmed by angry villagers.

North Kashmir deputy inspector-general of police Suleman Choudhary said Mir had been arrested and charged with rape. They clashed with the police and paramilitary forces at several places. "Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child's fault?Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such pedophiles are stoned to death".

People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she was left mortified by the incident and said only Sharia Law needs to be applied to perpetrators of such heinous crimes.

"On learning about the unfortunate incident, the Governor immediately spoke to SP Pani, IGP Kashmir, and took a detailed review of the ongoing investigations into the case".

The valley observed a complete shutdown following a strike call by Itehadul Muslimoon against the incident.

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At some places, Shia protesters waved the flags of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. According to reports, 47 security personnel were injured in Baramulla when stone pelting mobs went on the rampage.

"However, the police maintained restraint. However about seven miscreants got injured (and) are all stable".

The protesters threw stones at the security forces, who fired tear gas at the demonstrators.

Khan, the administrator, appealed for calm.

Protests rocked Kashmir last year over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district.

Ishfaq said that serving speedy justice was the challenge for the incumbent administration.

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