Protests over sex scandal gather momentum
12 May 2006
Srinagar: Protests continued in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday over the sex scandal allegedly involving politicians and police officers even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) formally took over the case. In response to a strike call given by the Kashmir Bar Association and supported by the Dukhtaran-e-Millat, people staged protests here and in other major towns. In their Friday sermons, the Imams of mosques castigated those involved in the scandal and accused the Government of shielding them. Protests were held outside the Jamia Masjid here after the prayers and at the University. 12 persons injured Though most demonstrations were peaceful, school students turned violent in Tangamarg. The police fired in the air and used teargas shells to disperse them. At least 12 persons, mostly students, were injured. The 12-member CBI team, led by DIG Pankaj Kumar, held a series of meetings with police officers. The team, which is likely to stay in Kashmir for three months, is questioning Sabeena, the kingpin of the sex racket, and three others who are in police custody. The Government has removed Ashkoor Wani and Sunil Dutt, Baramulla and Kupwara DSPs, from active duty and attached them to the office of their superiors. The officers were allegedly involved in the sex scandal, along with some politicians. The decision to take these officers off active duty was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. The High Court agreed to the plea by the Kashmir Bar Association that the case be treated as a public interest litigation. Justice Hakim Imtiaz Hussain transferred the case to Chief Justice B.A. Khan, who will hear the case on Monday. The court had asked the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to appear in person, but they failed to do so and were represented by the Advocate General. Tension in Kupwara In Karlgund village in Kupwara, thousands took to the streets protesting against the alleged molestation of a woman by Army personnel. As the woman raised an alarm, the soldiers allegedly opened fire, injuring two persons. Defence spokesman Lt. Col. V.K. Batra, however, said a patrol had been stopped by a group of people, and a soldier's gun misfired injuring a civilian.