In a new twist to the rape and murder of two women in Shopian, police on Tuesday recovered the body of a member of a group that has been spearheading an agitation for justice in the sensational case that rocked the Kashmir Valley this summer.
The body of Mohammed Hussain Zargar, 42, a property dealer, was discovered in an orchard three days after he had disappeared, triggering fresh protests in the south Kashmir town, police said.
Shopian has been on the boil after two women - Asiya Jan, 17, and her 22-year-old sister-in-law Neelofar were found dead near a stream in their village May 30.
Zargar was one of the activists of the Shopian Majlis-e-Mashawarat Committee formed to fight for justice in the rape-murder.
"Mohammed Hussain Zargar was a pro-active member of the Majlis," committee president Mohammed Shafi Khan told IANS.
Khan said Zargar had gone missing on Saturday and it was suspected he had been picked up by the Special Operations Group of the Kashmir Police. "But police have denied it. We were in contact with the police. Today (Tuesday) when we were returning from Srinagar for a court hearing in the rape and murder we were told that Hussain's (Zargar) body was found in an orchard."
According to Khan, Zargar was found lying in a pool of blood. "We cannot say what kind of injuries he had because police quickly took the body to a hospital."
He said police had cordoned off the area and "preserved the site" and a team of forensic experts was expected by Wednesday for investigation.