Kashmir paralysed by strike, protests against death of two women

June 1st, 2009 - 2:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 1 (IANS) A strike called by separatist leaders and protests by angry youth against the alleged rape and killing of two women in south Kashmir’s Shopian district last week paralysed Kashmir Valley Monday, as authorities tightened security.
The strike called by senior hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was complete in Srinagar and many other towns in the valley. Shops, businesses, government offices, educational institutions and banks remained shut.

Restrictions were imposed in areas falling under five police stations to maintain law and order. Heavy police and paramilitary reinforcements were moved to Srinagar.

But despite the heightened security, angry youth held protests in several localities of the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital and other towns, shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

The protesters also threw stones at vehicles and security forces, who responded by firing teargas and baton charged the mob.

Residents of Shopiyan allege that two young women, identified as 22-year-old Neelofar Jan and 17-year-old Asiya Jan, were raped and murdered by security forces Friday evening.

Their bodies were recovered from a field near a stream in village Nagbal near Shopian, nearly 60 km from here, Saturday morning.

Authorities have sealed Shopian and no movement is being allowed in the town following the incident.

The state government had announced that it was determined “to investigate and bring forth the truth with regard to the mysterious deaths of the two women”, but the protests have continued.

Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir Masood Samoon told reporters here that “if any conspiracy or foul play came to light with regard to the death of the two women, those involved would be turned over to justice”.

Reports from other district headquarters said there was palpable tension and that security had been beefed up.

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