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Jammu & Kashmir: Protests held in Jammu Kashmir over rape of minor girl

19th Apr 2018
Jammu & Kashmir: Protests held in Jammu Kashmir over rape of minor girl

By Zahid Rafiq

 

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir, India, (AA): Protests erupted on Wednesday in universities across Jammu and Kashmir against the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl.

According to police, the protests left two students and two police officers wounded.

The girl from a nomadic Muslim herder family was grazing cattle when she was kidnapped in January. A week later, her raped and mutilated body was found in Kathua district, located in south of the valley.

The incident came to the limelight after the Supreme Court, earlier this month, took notice of the conduct of scores of lawyers in Kathua, who tried to block the police from entering a courtroom to file a charge sheet in the case.

According to police, the victim was held captive and raped for seven days inside a Hindu temple. All eight accused in the case are Hindu men, including 60-year-old Sanjhi Ram, the custodian of the temple.

The incident has revealed the religious fault lines in India’s only Muslim majority state where a pro-independence movement since 1989 is brimming.

“Today morning a peaceful protest was taken out at Anantnag which was allowed by the police and the administration. Subsequently some miscreants indulged in stone pelting and turned violent and tried to enforce a shutdown in Anantnag town,” police said in a statement.

– Students, police clash

Students told Anadolu Agency that the police attacked them while they were protesting in a peaceful manner.

The most intense clashes were reported from the Islamic University of Science and technology in Awantipora that lasted for several hours.

Police and students accused the police of entering the campus and using teargas and pepper spray against the protesters.

“When the police attacked us, then we clashed with them, and seeing us being attacked by so many soldiers, the locals too joined us, because what we are saying is what the people want too,” Showkat Ahmad, a student told Anadolu Agency.

Massive protests demanding justice for the girl were held on Sunday across India, including major city Mumbai and capital New Delhi. The movement picked up as Bollywood celebrities joined the campaign on social media, forcing two ruling party ministers to resign for publicly supporting the accused.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

[Archive Photo: Indian army soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir on April 11, 2018.Photo: Faisal Khan/AA]

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