Tuesday 9 June 2009

Prolonged protests continue in Indian Kashmir over women's deaths

Hundreds of women under the banner of Dukhtaran-i-Milat take to the streets in Indian Kashmir over the alleged rape and murder of two young Muslim women by security forces.

Hundreds of women under the aegis of the radical women's organisation Dukhtaran-i-Milat took to the street in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir on Sunday (June 07) to stage a mass protest against the alleged rape and murder of two Muslim women at Shopian by security forces.
Frenzied protestors clashed with police personnel, pelting stones and damaging several police vehicles.

Consequently, to disperse the protestors, the police had to resort to firing of tear gas shells and also baton charged the mob that hurled rocks at security personnel.

Near daily street protests since last year have given a new lease of life to the separatist movement in the disputed Himalayan region.

Reportedly, two young Muslim women, aged 17 and 22 years, were abducted, raped and killed by security forces on Friday in Shopian town, 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital.

Asiya Andrabi, chief of radical Dukhtaran-i-Milat said that their organisation would educate and train the Kashmiri women so that they could protect their dignity.

"We will educate and train the Kashmiri women…we will educate them how to protect their dignity…we will train them so that they can protect themselves even in the presence of hundreds of thousands of security personnel…Besides this, we will also train them in traditional weapons so that they can protect themselves," said Asiya Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaran-i-Milat, a radical separatist outfit, Srinagar.

As for the suspected death of the two women, the police denied the killings and asserted that the women died to drowning in a stream. Further it was mentioned that in the post-mortem did not reveal any sexual assault or other injuries.

Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah had also ordered a judicial inquiry into the deaths, which the separatists rejected.

The disputed Himalayan region has been intermittently rocked by protests against Indian rule since last year.

Indian security forces fighting separatist militants in Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state have been accused in the past of human rights violations, including rape and fake encounter killings.

But the administration has denied any such systematic violations and said that all reports are investigated and the guilty punished.

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