Total Shutdown In Valley, Brinda Demands Independent Probe23 July 2011
Srinagar: Even as the Kashmir Valley observed a complete shutdown on Saturday protesting against the alleged rape of a young woman in Kulgam, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Brinda Karat demanded an impartial probe, and also action against policemen who had released a medical report on the victim and a compact disk containing her statements. Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Karat expressed surprise at “the way police released the so-called medical report about the victim and also the CD” “It is aimed at influencing the inquiry and the public opinion and it is reprehensible. The concerned officers should be suspended,” said Ms. Karat, who arrived here on a two-day visit as part of an 11-member consultative committee of MPs on women's empowerment It was unethical and unlawful to disclose the identity of the rape victim, she said. “How can they do this and violate the protocol set for such cases.” The police action was highly provocative. “We will have to wait for investigation but it has to be independent.” Hurriyat protest In response to the call given by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, shops, business establishments and educational institutions in the Valley remained closed. Attendance in government offices was thin due to non-availability of public transport. Police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel were deployed in Srinagar city and other major towns. The moderate Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front had also called upon people to register their protest against the rape. Tension continued in Kulgam district with some minor clashes between people and police. “Unsound mind” Meanwhile, a news agency, quoting officials from a Special Investigation Team, reported that the husband and the mother-in-law of the victim claimed before the police that the she was of “unsound mind” and was under medication. They said she was at her home in South Kashmir on the day she claimed she was sexually abused. In her statement to the SIT on Friday, Amina Bi said her daughter-in-law went missing on the morning of July 20 and not the previous evening. “She had gone to a spring at 7 a.m on Wednesday [July 20] and did not return till late in the evening. We sent people in different directions but could not find her. She returned home the next day,” Amina told the SIT officials, the news agency reported. Latief Ahmad told the probe team that his wife was missing only for one night. Sources said the MPs delegation was likely to visit Kulgam on Sunday and talk to the victim and her family. ‘Government still in paralysis' Taking a dig at the Centre, Ms. Karat said there was no movement forward on the delivery of justice to victims of the 2010 violence. “Similarly, the Government of India is yet to come out of the paralysis it has [suffered] on the Kashmir issue,” she said, adding that in the name of interlocutors it did not move forward. “Peace in Kashmir does not mean that political issues are resolved.” The MPs delegation, headed by Chandresh Kumari of the Congress, includes Prabha Thakur, Rajesh Nandini Singh (both Congress), Seema Upadhyay of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Rama Devi, Jayshreeben Patel (both of the BJP), Sushila Saroj of the Samajwadi Party, Vasanthi Stanley of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Jabir Husain and Umashankar Singh, both of the Rashtriya Janata Dal.