Kashmir rape probe points to police official

Nov 30, -0001
SRINAGAR: A judicial probe of the alleged rape and murder of two Kashmiri women, which triggered massive protests across the disputed Himalayan region, points to the involvement of Indian police, an official said on Friday.

Anti-India protests have raged across the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley since the bodies of two Muslim women were found on May 29 in Shopian town, about 60 km (37 miles) south of summer capital Srinagar.

Four protesters have died and hundreds have been injured.

Locals say the two women, aged 17 and 22, were abducted, raped and killed by security forces. Authorities confirmed that the women were raped and ordered an investigation.

"The involvement of some agency of the J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) police in the present incident cannot be completely ruled out," Abdul Rahim Rather, the state's financial minister said, citing the Commission of Inquiry's report on Friday.

"The government has accepted the recommendations of the Commission and necessary follow-up action has been duly initiated," Rather told a news conference.

Earlier this week, hundreds of Kashmiris took to the streets to protest the killing of a 20-year-old man, who they said was killed by security forces after they arrested him.

Police have denied the charge.

In fresh demonstrations on Friday, thousands of people marched towards an army camp in Kupwara in northern Kashmir, blaming the alleged murder of a girl the day before on a soldier.

Shops, businesses and schools were closed across the Kashmir valley to protest the latest incident, the tenth in recent weeks that has been blamed on Indian troops and the police.

Indian security forces fighting separatist militants in Jammu and Kashmir have been accused in the past of human rights violations, including rape and extrajudicial killings.

Authorities deny any systematic violations and say all reports are investigated and the guilty punished.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since simmering discontent against Indian rule turned into a full-blown rebellion in 1989. AGENCIES



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