| SRINAGAR, India, June 3
SRINAGAR, India, June 3 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
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
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
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
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
(Editing by Matthias Williams and Jerry Norton)