Kashmir child rape fuels call for Shariah law

The Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested the accused and protesters are demanding stringent punishment

Thousands also protested in Srinagar and clashed with government forces.

People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone claimed the police had fired pellets but the force denied the charge, saying it had used only tear gas.

On the evening of May 8, a three-year-old girl of Tiragam, Sumbal in north Kashmir's Bandipora district was raped by her neighbour Tahir Ahmed Mir, 20, after she was lured to the washroom of a nearby school.

Shops, businesses and schools were also shut across the Muslim-majority region in response to a strike called by separatist cleric Moulana Masoor Abbas to protest the rape. But, as the day progressed, the protests spilled over to other parts of north Kashmir as members of different communities took part in the violent demonstrations.

The incident is believed to have happened last week.

So far, the police said, they have been treating the accused as major.

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On Sunday, massive protests were held by angry crowds in various parts of the Valley's Bandipore and Baramulla districts against the incident. "Seven miscreants too got injured but all are stable", he said.

The protesting students were demanding that stern punishment be awarded to the culprit, who has been arrested by the police. Scores of young boys also received injuries during clashes with security forces in Srinagar. The official said a special team has been formed to fast-track the investigation in a professional manner.

"A medical board will determine the age of accused through ossification test". A senior police officer said, "The certificate believed to have been issued by a local school declaring the accused a minor and circulated through social media appears to be fake".

Lawyers abstained from work in the courts on Monday to express solidarity with the victim. "Times like these, Shariah law seems apt so that such paedophiles are stoned to death", Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir said in a tweet. "The rapist is among us, facilitators are among us, those who shield rapists they are among us, stalkers are among us, abusers are among us", bureaucrat turned politician Shah Faesal tweeted, demanding the justice for the minor rape victim.

"If the culprits of such crimes are hanged, then such incidents can come down", protester Nafia Khursheed told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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