Top Kashmiri separatist held after pro-Pakistan rally

Updated 17 April 2015

Top Kashmiri separatist held after pro-Pakistan rally

Srinagar: Police arrested a prominent separatist leader in Indian-administered Kashmir on Friday after he headlined at a rally where supporters waved Pakistani flags and chanted pro-Pakistan slogans.
Masarat Alam Bhat, who was released in March after several years behind bars, was arrested at his home in the main city of Srinagar, a day after police registered a case against him for “anti-national” activities.
“He (Bhat) has been arrested after a case for unlawful activity was registered against him,” K. Rajendra, the state’s director general of police, told AFP.
The case stems from a rally on Wednesday organized to welcome another separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on his return to Srinagar from New Delhi where he had spent the last three months receiving medical care.
Although the rally passed off peacefully, television images of Bhat leading a chorus of his supporters chanting “jeeve jeeve Pakistan (long live Pakistan)” and other slogans against India’s rule of the disputed region triggered widespread condemnation from politicians and the media.
Anti-India sentiment is deeply held across Kashmir, a picturesque Himalayan region which is India’s only Muslim-majority state.
Bhat rose to prominence in 2010 when he organized a series of mass protests before being detained without charge for four years under controversial public safety legislation.
Kashmir has been rocked by violent protests this week after the brother of a top rebel leader was killed by the army near the town of Tral in the south of the Kashmir valley.
The octogenarian Geelani is one of several separatist leaders who were placed under house arrest on Thursday night to prevent them from joining a protest march in Tral on Friday.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan since the two countries gained independence in 1947. Both claim the territory in its entirety.
Although several rebel groups have been fighting Indian forces since 1989 for independence of a merger of the territory with Pakistan, street protests have become the principle mode of opposition to Indian rule.
Violence has declined steadily in the region during the last decade but armed encounters between rebels and government forces occur regularly.


Indian woman who alleged gang rape dies after burn attack

Updated 07 December 2019

Indian woman who alleged gang rape dies after burn attack

  • The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year
  • The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest

NEW DELHI: An alleged rape victim in northern India who was set on fire while heading to a court hearing in the case has died in a New Delhi hospital, officials said Saturday.
The woman was attacked in the state of Uttar Pradesh by a group of men that included two of the five she had accused of gang rape last year, police said. The two were out of custody on bail.
Five men were arrested in connection with the burn attack, police said.
The 23-year-old woman suffered extensive injuries and was airlifted Thursday from Uttar Pradesh to Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, where she died late Friday of cardiac arrest, said Dr. Shalab Kumar, head of the hospital’s burn unit.
Yogi Adityanath, the state’s chief minister, said that the case would be heard in a fast track court and that the “strictest of punishment will be given to the culprits.”
Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary of the opposition Congress party, faulted the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, for failing to provide the woman with security, even after a similar case in the state in which a woman who accused a BJP lawmaker of rape was severely injured in a vehicle hit-and-run incident.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, is known for its poor record regarding crimes against women. According to the most recent available official crime records, police registered more than 4,200 cases of rape in the state in 2017 — the most in India.
Government figures for 2017 also show that police registered 33,658 cases of rape in the country. But the real figure is believed to be far higher as many women in India don’t report cases to police due to fear.
Indian courts also seem to be struggling to deal with these cases. Data shows that more than 90% of cases of crimes against women are pending in city courts.
The burn victim’s death came on the same day police in the southern state of Telangana fatally shot four men being held on suspicion of raping and killing a 27-year-old veterinarian after investigators took them to the crime scene. Their deaths drew both praise and condemnation in a case that has sparked protests across the country.
The woman’s burned corpse was found last week by a passer-by near the city of Hyderabad, India’s tech hub, after she went missing the previous night.
Police took the four suspects, who had not been charged with any crime, to the scene to help them locate the victim’s phone and other items, officials said. They said the men grabbed police firearms and began shooting, and were killed when police returned fire.
The Telangana High Court ordered authorities to preserve the bodies of the suspects and submit a video of the autopsies ahead of a court hearing set for Monday.
Separately, the National Commission on Human Rights, an autonomous body within India’s Parliament, sent a fact-finding mission to the crime scene and mortuary where the suspects’ bodies were held on Saturday amid questions from opposition lawmakers about the circumstances of the suspects’ deaths.