Mirwaiz vows to fight till Kashmir rape, murder culprits punished

June 24th, 2009 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 24 (IANS) Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was allowed to move free after 20-day house arrest Wednesday, vowed to continue fight till the culprits behind the rape and murder of two Kashmiri women were identified and punished.
The Mirwaiz, who heads his faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, visited south Kashmir Shopian town, where life has been at a standstill for the last 24 days after two women were found dead May 30.

The separatist leader visited the families of the victims - Neelofar Jan, 22, and Asiya Jan, 17.

Asiya and her pregnant sister-in-law Neelofar were raped and then murdered, medical test reports confirmed, a day after they went missing from an orchard in the south Kashmir town.

The incident has triggered massive protests in the Kashmir Valley forcing the government to form a judicial probe committee. People are alleging that the two women were raped and killed by security forces, an allegation that has been denied.

The Mirwaiz visited the town in a convoy of about 20 vehicles and thousand of locals turned out to receive the separatist leader.

The representatives of the local agitation committee of the town, which was formed in the wake of the public outrage over the incident, urged the Mirwaiz to ensure more active support to their protests for bringing the guilty to book.

He said he would hold a meeting of different separatist leaders soon to chalk out a more effective strategy to mount pressure on the authorities to identify and punish the culprits.

Businesses, educational institutions and banks remained closed and traffic was off the roads for the 24th day Wednesday in the town.

The judicial probe by a retired judge of the high court has already submitted its interim report to the government.

Based on this report, five officials - including the former district police chief, his deputy, two junior police officers and a scientist of the local forensic laboratory - were suspended from service by the government.

A separate departmental enquiry has also been ordered by the government to look into the dereliction of duty and destruction of evidence by the suspended officials.

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