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Police fire on Kashmir protesters

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 10, 2009

Police fire on Kashmir protesters

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have fired on thousands of protesters demonstrating against the alleged rape and murder of two young women.

Tear gas and live rounds were used to break up the march in Shopian town.

Protesters accuse Indian paramilitary forces of raping and killing the women. On Sunday police said forensic tests showed the women had been raped. Protests over the deaths have raged in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley since the bodies were found on 30 May.

One protester died during clashes last week with police, after being hit on the head by a tear gas shell.

More than 140 others have so far been wounded, about 40 of them during clashes on Monday.

At least four people were taken to hospital with bullet wounds after the clashes in Shopian on Monday, the BBC’s Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says.

‘Case of rape’

Our correspondent says police have imposed curfew-like restrictions in the city and some other towns in the valley to prevent marchers reaching Shopian. Shops are closed and schools, colleges and many government offices are shut across the valley.

The strike has been called by senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Mr Geelani, who had called on people to march to Shopian on Monday, was arrested on Saturday night. The bodies of the two young women were found in a canal in the town of Shopian on 30 May. They had gone missing the previous evening. The cause of their deaths is still being investigated, but police say a post-mortem examination shows they were raped.

“The forensic lab report indicates that an offence has taken place,” inspector general of police B Srinivas told the BBC.

“We have registered a case of rape and taken up investigation. ”

The state government announced an inquiry into the allegations last Monday, insisting that the “initial findings do not suggest either rape or murder”.


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