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8142India: Kashmiri Villagers Protest After Cops Try to Rape Girl

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  • Zafar Khan
    Jul 1, 2007
      Kashmiri Villagers Protest After Cops Try to Rape Girl
      Mukhtar Ahmad, Arab News

      http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4§ion=0&article=97941&d=28&m=6&y=2007&pix=world.jpg&category=World

      SRINAGAR, 28 June 2007 — Bandipora town in north
      Kashmir yesterday witnessed protests and a shutdown
      against alleged molestation of a local girl by two
      soldiers of the 57 Rashtriya Rifles counter-insurgency
      force.

      Angry villagers paraded the two soldiers naked through
      the streets after they were “caught trying to rape” a
      17-year-old girl, witnesses and newspaper reports said
      yesterday.

      Police said they were investigating the incident,
      which took place late Tuesday in Kunan, a village
      north of Srinagar.

      “Two army men in civil dress entered our house in the
      afternoon demanding food and shelter. They asked my
      mother to leave and tried to rape me,” the girl was
      reported as saying.

      “I resisted and screamed until my neighbors rescued
      me,” she said, according to the Greater Kashmir daily.

      Mohammad Usman, a witness, said that furious villagers
      had beaten up the soldiers, stripped them, shaved
      their heads and paraded them through the village
      market.

      “Police fired in the air to disperse the protesters
      and rescued the two soldiers,” said a local police
      officer. An Indian Army spokesman denied the rape
      allegations.

      “It is all baseless, the allegations were spread by
      vested interests to malign the army,” he said. The
      soldiers are currently lodged in the Bandipora police
      station.

      “These two soldiers were on routine patrol duties in
      Kunan when the civilians took them hostage. Anyway, we
      have initiated our investigations into the matter,”
      said Brig. V. Garg, commander of the army’s 81
      Mountain Brigade under whose command the Rashtriya
      Rifles operates in Bandipora district.

      The protesters, however, alleged that the soldiers
      could not have been on patrol duty as they were
      unarmed and were caught from a house in the village.