The Foreign Office on Monday condemned the alleged rape of a three-year-old in Indian-occupied Kashmir on May 8, which lead to widespread protests across the Valley on Sunday.
"Reported horrific rape of 3-year-old Kashmiri girl in Bandipora, in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, another brutal reminder of humanitarian nightmare in IoK," FO Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter on Monday.
"Fresh reports of pellet gun firing on protesters, yet another reflection of continued Indian atrocities," he added.
According to the Indian Express, the girl was allegedly raped on Wednesday before iftar in the Sumbal area of Bandipora district, following which widespread protests broke out across the Valley on Sunday.
As per the complaint filed by the girl's family, the accused lured the child with candy before abducting her and then raping her. “We found her in a nearby area and informed the local police,” a family member was quoted as saying.
Soon after the incident was reported, police officers said that the girl was referred to a Srinagar-based hospital while the accused, who hails from a village in the area, was arrested.
“A case was registered, and the accused was produced before the court which sent him on police remand,” SSP Bandipora Rahul Malik told the Indian Express.
“The heinous crime of rape of a minor in Bandipora is under investigation. We assure that [the] perpetrator of the crime will be brought to justice. We appeal to the public to stay calm and not heed to any rumours,” Bandipora Deputy Commissioner Shahbaz Mirza was quoted as saying, after protests were recorded in as many as 12 locations on Sunday.
Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani termed such incidents “a black stain on our social fabric and rich culture”.
Former IOK chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted" “The rape of a child in Tirgaam is a travesty. [Jammu and Kashmir Police] must ensure a speedy investigation with only one consideration and that is to identify the guilty, prepare a watertight case & ensure exemplary punishment to those responsible."
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also expressed her shock at the incident in a tweet, writing: “Mortified to hear about the rape of a 3 yr old girl in Sumbal. What kind of a sick pervert would do this? Society often blames women for inviting unwanted attention but what was this child’s fault?”