Manzgam Gang Rape: Amid protests, politicians seek through probe

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Srinagar: Massive protests broke out in southern Kulgam district Thursday after news of alleged gang rape of a young Kashmiri woman by the army personnel broke out.
The woman, identified by police as Ruqaya Bano wife of Muhammad Latief Bhat, resident of Gujjar Dara-Manzgam has accused two [Indian] Army personnel of “abduction and rape”, official sources said today.
The 30 year old married woman reported to police that she was abducted by some unidentified armed army personnel from Kheranbal Behak on July 19 from outside her home in Manzgam and gang raped for two consecutive days inside a dhok before being released Wednesday night.
Senior police officers rushed to the concerned police station in Kulgam and recorded her statement, the sources said, adding the woman will be sent for medical examination. Sources also said that MoS Home Nasir Aslam Wani, Director General Police, Kuldeep Khoda and IGP Kashmir, S M Sahai rushed to Kulgam to monitor the situation. A late evening report said police has filed a case against Army for the alleged abduction and gang-rape of the woman.
“We have registered a case Fir no 66/2011 under section 366, 376 against the Army on the basis of a complaint filed by the woman. Deputy Inspector General Police south Kashmir Range, Shafqat Watali said that the girl recorded her statement before the police alleging she was raped by two Army personnel.
“We have recorded her statement though she changed her statement once. Medical examination of the woman is going on,” Watali said. The DIG said that they have also talked to General Officer Commanding Victor Force who has assured full cooperation from Army’s side in the probe.
The incident has triggered massive pro-freedom, anti-India demonstrations in the area. The protesters were demanding stern action against culprits. Tension also spread to nearby Damhal Hanjipora where people came out on the roads and held demonstrations against the crime. Officials have described the situation as tense but under control.
The protesters alleged that army personnel belonging to 62-Rashtriya Rifles were involved in the rape. Defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar was not immediately available for comments as he was out of town. Meanwhile, opposition Peoples Democratic Party has demanded athorough probe in the case. Condemning the incident the PDP spokesman said this was yet another instance of lawlessness that has made lives and honor of the people insecure. He said such incidents were on a rise.
The spokesman said a thorough probe and investigations must be taken up immediately into the incident. Full facts should be brought out and the culprits involved in this and earlier such incidents should be brought to book and given severe punishment. The CPI (M) state secretary and MLA Kulgam, M Y Tarigami demanded judicial probe into the incident.

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