Kashmir shuts down for sixth day against rape, murder of two women

June 6th, 2009 - 6:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 6 (IANS) Educational institutes, banks, government offices, shops and other businesses in the Kashmir Valley remained closed for the sixth consecutive day Saturday as clashes between security forces and irate residents continued over the alleged rape and murder of two women last week.
Life remained paralysed and roads were deserted as the shutdown called by separatist Hurriyat Conference entered its sixth day with many secessionist leaders either arrested or confined to their homes here.

Tension was palpable in the old city areas, the stronghold of separatists, where paramilitary troopers fired warning shots and used batons to disperse a mob of youth who were throwing stones at them.

People alleged that the troopers smashed the window panes of Jamia Masjid in the old city and roughed up some youth.

Police reinforcements were rushed to the area to quell protests and bring the situation under control.

Though the level of violence was less Saturday but stone throwing incidents were reported from some uptown areas and clashed with police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who continues to remain under house arrest, Friday extended the shutdown call till Sunday against the alleged rape and murder of Neelofar Jan, 22 and her kin Asiya Jan, 17. The women were found dead May 30 in a field near their house in the south Kashmir Shopian town, 60 km from here.

People are alleging that security forces are involved committed in the crime that has triggered massive protests.

The state government has announced a judicial probe into the Shopian incident to be conducted by a retired high court judge even as the initial findings suggested the women were not raped.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) workers held rallies at various district headquarters Saturday demanding the revocation of special powers given to the armed forces in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir being a disturbed area.

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