J-K gangrape case puts army under scanner again

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By: Arun Sharma
Jammu: The Army’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir has triggered a controversy again, after Southern Command wrote to its Northern counterpart, requesting its cooperation with the the state police in the gang rape case of a college girl in the state.
The 2007 case from the otherwise peaceful Samba district, Jammu revolves around the alleged gang rape by army personnel. The college girl from Rajasthan later committed suicide.
Nearly four years after the incident, police has reopened the case, which had been earlier written off simply as a suicide.
Confirming that they have reopened the case, Israr Khan, Senior Superintendent of Police, Samba admitted he had received a copy of the letter written by Army’s Southern Command to the Udhampur based Northern Command in the matter. He said that the police would now approach the Northern Command for custody of the accused.
Khan, who also confirmed all details related to the accused, said that the latter was posted in an insurgency hit area of Jammu and Kashmir.
The victim Anjana Sihag, a second year student of Dogra college, had consumed poison in her hostel room at the industrial township of Bari Brahmana near Jammu.
The girl, who hailed from Rajasthan, had befriended soldier Aman Kumar (No. 15154560-H/GNR/CLK of 103 MC, MF DET Unit) who had introduced himself as a captain. When the girl found out that he was not a captain, their relationship got strained.
On September 20, 2007, the day she committed suicide, Sihag had gone outside her hostel for the day. Before leaving the hostel, she had told a classmate that she was going to meet Aman, who had been pressuring her to meet him for the last time before they parted ways.
When she returned to the hostel around 6 pm, she appeared shattered. Before anybody could ask her about her condition, she locked herself in her room and consumed poison. When people broke into her hostel room, they found her dying and rushed her to the hospital, where she succumbed to the poison.
The police had at that time initiated inquest proceedings in the matter, but concluded it was a suicide case. Dissatisfied with the police investigation, the girl’s parent’s kept demanding for the case to be reopened.
The current SSP reopened the case, after he was peturbed by the hurried manner in which the case had been closed. He took special note of the autopsy report confirming torture and gang rape.
After the matter was reopened, police requested the Army’s permission to take the accused into custody. It later asked the Southern command to trace the soldier and ask the Northern Command to assist in the matter.

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