The mysterious death of two women in Shopian in south Kashmir in May last year has been listed in the category of "arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life" in the 2009 annual reports on human rights issued by the State department of the US government in Washington on Thursday.
Asiya and Nelofar went missing on May 29 last year before their dead bodies were found in the River Ramibara in Shopian, 50 Km south of Srinagar, next day. This sparked off protests across the Valley for almost a week and life remained paralysed for 42 days in Shopian town, where people sought justice for the dead.
The protests were rooted in the allegation that the duo were raped and murdered by the security forces situated in that area.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had concluded in its investigations and reported to the J&K High Court on December 14 that the two "died of drowning." The people at large in the Valley have doubts about these results. It had also ruled out rape on the two women.
"Local residents and examining doctors alleged that Indian security forces committed gang rape before killing Neelofar Jan and Asiya Jan, and government officials stated that police involvement in the killings could not be ruled out," the report said in an obvious reference to the probes, including a judicial probe and an inquiry into the alleged role of the state police officials in the district in a supposed cover up operation in destroying the evidence.
"On July 15, the High Court ordered the arrest of four police officers on charges of suppressing and destroying evidence in the case. On September 12, the court granted bail to the officers. On September 17, the CBI took charge of the case from the Special Investigation Team, and on September 29, the CBI exhumed and collected samples from the bodies of the two women.