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Kashmir government offers CBI probe into Shopian rapes, murders

IANS  Srinagar, August 12, 2009
First Published: 21:30 IST(12/8/2009) | Last Updated: 21:31 IST(12/8/2009)

The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday said it was ready to order a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the rape and murder of two Shopian women amid reports of the alleged tampering of DNA samples of the victims.

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The alleged fudging of evidences rocked the state assembly Wednesday with opposition and some ruling party members insisting on a debate on the issue.

According to reports, the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) in New Delhi has found that the DNA profile of tissue cells present in the slides sent by the Kashmir police do not match with the samples from the victims' blood and viscera.

The slides, said to have been prepared from vaginal swabs of the victims, were apparently drawn from other women.

The CFSL has sent its findings to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Jammu and Kashmir police. The findings also say that there was no match between spermatozoa in the swabs and the DNA samples of the four police officers arrested in the case.

The reports of alleged tampering triggered protests in the assembly, led by opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti, and caused commotion as soon as the house met for the day.

Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said the government was ready to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) but a permission is to be sought from the state high court.

"We have decided to order the CBI probe, but we will have to seek the permission from the state high court as the matter is sub-judice," Rather told the house.

Asiya Jan, 17, and her 22-year old sister-in-law Neelofar were found dead off a stream in their village in Shopian May 30.

Their autopsies confirmed that the women were raped and murdered, triggering widespread unrest and violent protests in the valley. The state government convened one-man commission of a retired high court judge to investigate the case.

On the commission's recommendation, four police officers were arrested for their alleged role in "the destruction, dissipation and suppression of evidence".


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