Kashmir Portal

A digital Kashmir Info Network

India minister raps Kashmir security personnel

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

SRINAGAR, India (AFP) — India’s home minister on Thursday demanded security personnel in Indian Kashmir respect human rights, officials said, amid accusations they raped and murdered two Muslim women.

The deaths of a 17-year-old girl and her 22-year-old sister-in-law have sparked fierce daily anti-India protests across the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley since their bodies were found in a stream on May 30.

P. Chidambaram arrived in the summer capital Srinagar on a two-day “detailed review of the security situation,” a statement said, which included meeting the state’s senior security and intelligence officers.

“The minister asked the officers to show zero-tolerance for human rights violations,” said one of the officers who attended the meeting, asking not to be named.

Indian officials initially insisted the two women had drowned, but the families of the victims have accused the security forces of abducting, raping and killing the women.

On Sunday, police said forensic tests showed they had indeed been raped.

Meanwhile Thursday, hundreds of government employees chanting, “punish the killers,” marched through the streets of Srinagar, wearing black bands on their arms.

The procession ended peacefully after several leaders of the employees addressed the marchers and called upon the government to speed up the investigations or face more agitation.

Authorities have placed top separatists under house arrest or put them in jail as demonstrations have threatened to turn into pro-independence marches that have so far claimed one life and left nearly 400 injured.

An insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir has left more than 47,000 people dead over the past 20 years.

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