Fresh protests in Indian Kashmir over women's deaths

SRINAGAR, India, June 3 Wed Jun 3, 2009 6:06pm IST

SRINAGAR, India, June 3 (Reuters) - At least 35 people were injured after police and demonstrators clashed in Indian Kashmir for the fifth day on Wednesday in protests over the rape and murder of two Muslim women, hospitals and witnesses said.

Police fired tear gas shells and used batons to disperse angry residents who burnt the effigy of the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah. Protesters also burnt tyres and threw stones at police, police said.

Shops, businesses and schools were shut across the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley in response to a strike call by separatists to protest the deaths.

Near daily street protests since last year are giving new life to a separatist movement in the disputed Himalayan region.

Residents said the two women, aged 17 and 22, were abducted, raped and killed by security forces on Friday in Shopian town, 60 km (37 miles) south of Srinagar, Kashmir's summer capital.

Indian authorities denied the killings and say the women drowned in a stream. Abdullah earlier this week ordered a judicial inquiry into the deaths, which separatists rejected.

A Pakistan-based alliance of Kashmiri militant groups, United Jehad Council (UJC), condemned the deaths.

"Security forces are using rape as a war weapon to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris and the Shopian incident is one more attempt to intimidate us," Syed Salahuddin, UJC chief, said in a statement.

In Srinagar, police and soldiers armed with assault rifles blocked off lanes and sealed off residential areas with razor wire and iron barricades to thwart more protests, witnesses said.

Indian security forces fighting separatist militants in Jammu and Kashmir, India's only Muslim-majority state, 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.

Officials say more than 47,000 people have been killed since simmering discontent against Indian rule turned into a full-blown rebellion in 1989. Separatists put the toll at 100,000. (Editing by Matthias Williams and Jerry Norton)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared
People walk in the Wipro campus in Bangalore June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/Files

Wipro Q4 net profit beats estimates, rises 29 percent

Wipro posted a 29 percent rise in its fourth-quarter net profit, beating expectations, helped by increased IT spending by its customers. For the quarter ended March 31, the company said it earned 22.27 billion rupees compared with 17.29 billion rupees a year earlier.  Full Article | Full Coverage 

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Literary Giant Dies

Literary Giant Dies

Nobel winner Garcia Marquez, master of magical realism, dies at 87.  Read 

Election 2014

Election 2014

India holds biggest day of voting with BJP gaining strength  Full Article | Full Coverage 

Insider Trading

Insider Trading

Ex-Goldman director Gupta starts prison term on June 17.  Full Article 

Market Eye

Market Eye

Sensex jumps 351 points, snaps 3-day losing streak  Full Article 

Expansion Plans

Expansion Plans

Reliance Industries, HPCL Mittal plan refinery expansions.  Full Article 

S&P on India

S&P on India

S&P: India's ratings to depend on next govt econ, fiscal policies.  Full Article 

Ambitious Aim

Ambitious Aim

In green car race, Toyota adds muscle with fuel-cell launch.  Full Article 

Deal Talk

Deal Talk

Piramal to buy 20 percent stake in Shriram Capital for $334 million.  Full Article 

Bond Market

Bond Market

A star abroad, RBI boss riles bond traders at home  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage