Security lockdown to prevent rape protests
Indian police stepped up security in Kashmir Monday and detained more separatists to try and prevent fresh protests over the alleged rape and murder of two Muslim women by security forces.Updated: Jun 08, 2009, 13:16 IST
Indian police stepped up security in Kashmir Monday and detained more separatists to try and prevent fresh protests over the alleged rape and murder of two Muslim women by security forces.
Demonstrations following the deaths of the young women, aged 17 and 22, have shut down much of the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley since May 30 -- when their bodies were found dumped in a stream.
Indian officials initially insisted they had drowned, but the families of the victims accused security forces of abducting, raping and killing the women.
On Sunday, police said they were treating the deaths as rape-related after forensic experts found traces of semen on the bodies.
Separatists had called on Muslims to march to Shopian, the women’s home town, on Monday to “express solidarity with the families of the victims.”
But authorities deployed thousands of police and paramilitaries to prevent the march. Parts of Indian Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar were closed off with barbed wire and iron barriers.
“It is curfew in our area. We are not being allowed to move out,” said businessman Abdul Hameed.
Residents of Shopian said similar restrictions were in force there.
Indian police on Sunday arrested a hardline Kashmiri separatist, Syed Ali Geelani, for calling for protests. Another prominent separatist, Javed Mir, was arrested on Monday.
An insurgency against Indian rule in Kashmir has left more than 47,000 people dead over the past 20 years.