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Anger wells up in Srinagar over rape
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar |
November 10, 2004 18:40 IST
Srinagar witnessed widespread public anger on Wednesday over the alleged rape of a woman and her daughter by an army officer.
Youths took to the streets burning tyres in the morning. They shouted pro-freedom and anti-government slogans and forced the markets to close.
At Maisuma in the afternoon, the police resorted to lathi-charge and fired teargas shells to disperse the stone-pelting youths. The protestors made repeated attempts to block the main road in Lal Chowk, the city centre.
Shops in most parts of the city remained closed in response to a call given by the Kashmir Bar Association and Dukhtaran-e-Milat. The traffic, however, was not affected.
National Conference leaders and workers took out a procession demanding a judicial probe into the incident and action against the officer.
The Valley has been tense for the past few days in the wake of the news about the rape at village Badran near Handwara town in north Kashmir. The army has denied the allegation. However, following public protests, the defence authorities ordered a probe.
A defence spokesman in Srinagar said, "The army authorities have shifted the accused officer from the area of operation in Handwara."
State government sources say the army major has been shifted from the command for the conduct of the inquiry.
Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti, People's Democratic Party president and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's daughter, faced an angry crowd when she visited Handwara on Tuesday. The Special Services Group commandos providing her protection fired several rounds in the air and escorted the member of Parliament to safety.
The crowds threw stones at her motorcade, which later returned to Srinagar.
The residents were angry at the CM's statement that only the woman was allegedly raped, which was being probed, and not her 10-year-old daughter.