By Zahid Rafiq
SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir (AA) - Demonstrations continued for a third straight day Tuesday concerning the rape of a 3-year-old girl in north Kashmir’s Sumbal area.
Most schools, colleges and universities were closed Tuesday to avoid a further escalation of protests.
Sporadic protests began soon after the toddler was allegedly raped by a neighbor May 8 in Sumbal area in the Bandipora district but each day demonstrations have gotten bigger.
The rape is reminiscent of that of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua last year which led to massive protests in that region of Kashmir.
Police have already arrested the suspect and residents have taken to the streets to demand his hanging.
The family of the victim told the media Monday the suspect lured her to a nearby school on the evening of May 8. She was found afterward lying on the bathroom floor. They also said the girl identified the rapist.
“We went straight to the police. The boy’s family said if he has done this, we will kill him, but we said we will hand this over to the police and let the law take its course,” the girl’s aunt said. “She told the police his name. She used his nickname. They have her recording.”
Deputy Inspector General of Police, North Kashmir Range, Suleman Choudhary, told reporters police had arrested the suspect the same evening.
“The matter is under investigation. We are collecting evidence and the accused, Tahir Ahmad Mir, is an adult and worked as a mason,” he said.
Police have also formed a special team headed by a senior police official to investigate the case.
Condemnations poured in from various groups, including top resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani, who said it is a “black stain on our social fabric,” while resistance leader and top cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, urged residents to maintain unity and vigil “especially in view of mischievous forces waiting to create a sectarian divide out of this most reprehensible crime.”