Tragedy-Hit Shopian Rallies For Delhi Victim, Says Hear Our Pain Too

SRINAGAR: The southern township of Shopian on Monday came out in solidarity with the victim of the recent gang-rape in Delhi, asking to be resolved on its own tragedy that rocked Kashmir in 2009.

Fighting since May over three years ago for Neelofar and Aasiya Jan who, it says, were raped and murdered by the forces, the Shopian majlis-e-mashawarat led a sit-in to denounce the horrific Delhi gang-rape, but called upon outraged India to show equal concern for justice for similar victims in Kashmir.

The demonstrators were protesting a CBI probe which had ruled out rape-and-murder in the 2009 case saying that the two sisters-in-law had died due to drowning in the local Ranbi Ara which flows ankle-deep for most of the year.

Several Shopian lawyers are on trial for forcing locals to lead false evidence after witnesses, during the CBI probe, retracted their initial statements to the police and a Commission of Inquiry appointed by the state government.

Immediately damned by the media for failing to nail the culprits, the Commission headed by Justice (retd) Muzaffar Jan, however, had not dismissed rape-and-murder, but called for further investigations while indicting several district police officers on destruction of evidence – findings overturned by the CBI.

Today’s protest in the township included Shakeel Ahmad Ahangar, the husband of Neelofar and brother of Aasiya Jan, who is bringing up a motherless child.   

Demanding equality in justice, the demonstrators said that together with the families of Aasiya and Neelofar, they were in solidarity with all victims of such heinous attacks.

“Every incident of rape, wherever in India it takes place, is a horrific crime,” they said.

“Be it Kashmir, Manipur, Punjab, Assam, Nagaland or Delhi, sexual attacks on women are unpardonable,” they said.

“The majlis was formed after two young women of this town were brutally raped and murdered by the forces. Such incidents are common in Kashmir, and particularly in the last two decades, there have been innumerable such tragedies here,” they said.

“We want to highlight how women in Kashmir too are being subjected to gang-rape, and how the government, the media and the judiciary then proceeds to shield the culprits,” they said. 

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