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Handwara family rejects Army's offer

By Shujaat Bukhari

BADRE PAYEEN (HANDWARA), FEB. 8. Abdur Rasheed Dar (45) is in no mood to accept the Army's offer to adopt his family. Instead he wants stern action against the dismissed Major Rehman Hussain, who was exonerated of the charges of raping his wife and 11-year-old daughter but punished for indiscipline by a General Court Martial (GCM).

After the GCM, the Army offered to adopt Mr. Dar's two children to educate them outside the State. General Officer Commanding of counter-insurgent Kilo Force, Major General, M.S. Balhara, also said that "besides suitably rehabilitating the family, the children would be provided with free boarding, lodging and education in any Army school and a vocation thereafter." But the offer was rejected.

When the Chief of the Army Staff, General J.J. Singh, visited Srinagar last week he repeated the offer. "We know there are many forces which work in such cases but we would like the family to reconsider the offer," he told reporters.

But the family is firm. "How can this adoption replace what we have lost? We have lost everything and then you come and give us money," said Mr. Dar's wife. The offer of adoption is like adding "salt to our wounds," she added.

Although the Major has been given a clean chit on the basis of a DNA test, the villagers have doubts about the exercise.

Asked about the People's Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti's offer to bear the cost of the girl's education, Mr. Dar said "they are planning to send my children to Kanpur. Are there no schools in Kashmir?" But Ms. Mufti said that "it is aimed at getting them (children) out of the traumatic situation and there is no politics in it."

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