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Kashmir shuts down to protest report

Mainstream and separatist political parties are sceptical about the CBI report on the Shopian case present before the high court on Tuesday, in which the agency ruled out murder and rape of two women, reports Peerzada Ashiq.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2009 21:54 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Mainstream and separatist political parties are sceptical about the CBI report on the Shopian case present before the high court on Tuesday, in which the agency ruled out murder and rape of two women.

A complete shutdown was observed in Kashmir valley against the CBI report that gave a clean shit to police offers and booked 13 people, including six doctors, five lawyers and two civilians for fabricating evidences and hatching conspiracy.

The report sparked off protests in several districts including Shopian, the district of the victims. Hundreds of Shopian residents converged onto the streets in the district and raised anti-CBI slogans.

"We will continue our fight to seek justice,” said Mohammed Shafi Khan, the spokesperson of the Majlis-e-Mashawarat Shopian, a conglomerate spearheading the case for justice for the two victims.

Besides Shopian, there were reports of protests and stone-pelting from Pulwama, Sopore and Baramulla. At least seven people were injured in Baramulla town when police used force and fire tear-gas shells to quell protesters.

In Srinagar, there was no traffic on roads and downtown and uptown Srinagar witnessed stone battles between security forces and protesters.

Fire engulfed two houses in Bohri Kadal during a protest. Locals allege that the two houses were gutted in police shelling. The police, however, denied the allegation.

The bodies of 22-year-old Neelofar Jan and 17-year-old Asiya Jan was found near Rambi Ara Nallah on May 29. The family suspect the duo was raped and murdered by unknown persons.

Rejecting the CBI report, Peoples Democratic Party said appealed to President Pratibha Patil and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi to intervene.

“Our President is a woman and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi too is a woman. The Shopian case is a woman issue. I am asking them and appealing to the conscience of the nation to help get justice to the two women killed in Shopian,” said Mehbooba Mufti at a press conference at her official residence on Gupkar Road.

She claimed that the CBI is trying to shield “some pseudo-nationalists” by their report. “We thought that the state institutions failed us and reposed faith the Central institutions. Our party thought the CBI will work above considerations of pseudo-nationalism but Central institutions have failed us again in getting justice to the victims,” said Mufti.

Hardline faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) on trashed the CBI report on the Shopian case and decided to go for public hearing of the case before approaching any international body for justice.

“We are for a public trial of the case where all the witnesses will be brought. In the public trial, no witness will be influenced by anybody,” said Mian Qayoom, a senior lawyer and president of the HCBA. “We will take this case to its logical end.”

Rubbishing the CBI report, which concluded that the two Shopian residents 17-year-old Asiya Jan and 22-year-old Neelofar Jan were neither murdered not raped, the HCBA president said: “It (the CBI) report is fraud and a drama perhaps conceived in Delhi…Unfortunately, the report is toeing the same line as of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, which he made in June 1 about the case.”

APHC chairman Geelani also trashed the CBI report. He alleged that the duo was murdered by the personnel of the CRPF, Police, Army and SOG camps.

“In the first place, Shopian Majlis shouldn’t have deposed their trust on the CBI. The CBI or any other agency of India wouldn’t give us any justice,” Geelani said at a press conference held at his residence at Hyderpora.

Geelani said the killers were being entrusted with the responsibility of investigation. “Lawyers, doctors and witnesses have been decalred as accused in the case. It speaks volumes about the cover up operation.”

Geelani supported any move made by the HCBA or Majlis Mashawarat Council to go for an international probe or a public trial.

Chairman of moderate Hurriyat conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who was placed under house arrest this morning, said "though the people of Shopian showed faith in CBI, it did against their expectations and shielded the guilty." The Mirwaiz demanded a probe into the incident by an international agency.

Chairman of JKLF Mohammad Yaseen Malik described the CBI report as "rubbing salt to the injuries of Kashmiris". Sharing a similar view, President of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah alleged the report was drafted in a way to prove right the first statement of chief minister Omar Abdullah that the victims, Asiya and Neelofar, had drowned.