Kashmiris call for international probe after 'India rape cover-up'

Thousands of angry Kashmiris took to the streets on Tuesday, a day after India rape probe, triggering claims of a cover-up.

Kashmiris call for international probe after 'India rape cover-up'

Thousands of angry Kashmiris took to the streets on Tuesday, a day after federal police investigating the deaths of two women said they "drowned" and were not raped and killed, triggering claims of a cover-up.

The deaths of Neelofar Jan, 22, and her sister-in-law, 17-year-old Asiya Jan, in May had sparked protests in the disputed Himalayan region. Locals said they had been sexually abused and killed by the security forces.

Four police officers were later arrested on charges of suppressing and destroying evidence in the case. The officers were freed in September, a move that further angered residents.

In September after weeks of protests, India's Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI took over the case.

In a report for India's high court Monday, the federal agency concluded that the two had "drowned", ruling out rape and murder.

"International probe"

On Tuesday, thousands of people gathered in the main square in Shopian chanting, "We want freedom" and "Sisters, we are ashamed that your killers are still free."

In both Shopian and Srinagar, shops and businesses stayed shut and public transport remained off the streets in response to a strike called by the Majlis-e-Mashawarat, a local group demanding justice for the two women.

The strike is also supported by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of the All Parties' Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of pro-independence groups in the region.

On Tuesday, Farooq called the CBI report politically motivated and said that he supported the Majlis-e-Mashawarat's call for an independent international probe into the deaths.

Veteran Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani also strongly condemned the CBI report, terming it as "an attempt to shield the men in uniform".

Tens of thousands of Muslims have been killed since simmering discontent against Indian rule turned into a full opposition in 1989.

In 1948, the United Nations adopted a resolution calling for a referendum for Kashmir to determine whether the Himalayan region should be part of India and Pakistan. But India has rejected to hold referendum in Kashmiri territory. Kashmiris see India as an "occupier state".

Last Mod: 16 Aralık 2009, 12:53
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