Woman alleges rape by army men, Omar promises action (Lead)

July 22nd, 2011 - 3:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, July 22 (IANS) With a woman alleging two army personnel abducted and raped her, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has promised action, saying the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will not be allowed to hamper investigations.

Rukaya Bano, a woman from south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, has alleged that two army men raped her after abducting her when she came out of her home Tuesday. Following the allegations, massive protests broke out in the area, around 50 km from here, and a complaint was registered at the Damhal Hanjipora police station Thursday.

Omar was quick to say the guilty would not be spared.

In a post on Twitter, he said: “The size of army unit in area less than 20 strong, so identification parade won’t be a problem. Guilty won’t be spared either AFSPA or no AFSPA.”

The AFSPA grants immunity to the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir from legal prosecution. But Omar said it would not be allowed to come in the way of legal action against the alleged rapists.

“But unlike most of you I don’t have the luxury of jumping to conclusions, so will wait for the woman to make a positive identification.”

Police have registered a First Information Report based on the allegations of the woman, who is around 30 years old.

“She had gone out for ablutions at about 7 p.m. July 19 and after that she did not return. She came back July 21,” her relatives told police. They also said Rukaya had been forcibly detained by the two army men in a meadow hutment for two days.

Many of Omar’s followers on Twitter suspect the guilty will not be punished as the AFSPA would come in the way, and referred to a case in Kunonposhpora, a village in Kupwara district in north Kashmir, where soldiers were accused of committing rape in February 1992.

Some of his followers, however, responded positively and appreciated his quick response.

Valley-wide protests had also erupted in 2009 when two women drowned in a local stream in the adjacent Shopian district. Massive protests and allegations that the duo had been raped and murdered by security men paralyzed the valley the entire summer of 2009. The CBI probe finally revealed that the duo had drowned and no rape or murder had taken place.

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