Shehla Shora: On 23rd December 2012 the news of Zahida's arrest came in. Within an hour of receiving the news, I petitioned the Inspector General of Police of Kashmir (a very responsive and social media savvy official) usinghis personal email. Within 2 days, and with pressure from other groups as well, he issued a statement saying, "police will not proceed further against Zahida". Today, I spoke to a J&K Police spokesperson who confirmed that the case has indeed been dropped.
Zahida is a minor (disputed, see bottom of petition), physically challenged girl who has been booked under serious charges like attempt to murder. She is on medication and cannot even walk without any support. She was called to the police station on the pretext of seeking some "information" regarding a bullet injury that she had received in 2010 but was detained there. This is illegal: a girl cannot be summoned to the police station on a false pretext.
Zahida's family claims that she was not involved in stone-pelting. Even if she were, the politically charged environment of 2010 must be kept in mind. General amnesty must be given to all young people who had expressed their outrage against state atrocities in 2010.
What is more shameful is that this development comes the very same day as the closure of Bandipora fake encounter case for "want of evidence". This will be seen as yet another State atrocity and will cause deep resentment among the masses. How can State actors be let off with impunity when protesters are booked under such serious charges?
We appeal to your good sense to drop all charges against Zahida without any delay so that people's faith in the rule of law is restored.
Note: Her age, as reported by Greater Kashmir, is 17 while IBN reports it as 22. In any case, we maintain our demand to drop charges against her.