21 July 2007

Indian Soldier paraded naked by mob

The soldiers
Joginder Singh and Daljit Singh of 57 Rashtriya Rifles unit.


Indian soldiers 'paraded naked'
By Altaf Hussain
BBC News, Srinagar

Hundreds of angry Kashmiri villagers paraded two Indian soldiers naked through the streets after they were "caught trying to rape" a 17-year-old girl, witnesses and newspaper reports said on Wednesday.

Police said they were investigating the incident, which took place late on Tuesday in Kunan, a village north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Two army men in civil dress entered our house in the afternoon demanding food and shelter. They asked my mother to leave and tried to rape me," the girl was reported as saying.

"I resisted and screamed until my neighbours rescued me," she said, according to the Greater Kashmir daily.

Mohammad Usman, a witness, told Reuters by phone that furious villagers had beaten up the soldiers, stripped them, shaved their heads and paraded them through the village market.

"Police fired in the air to disperse the protesters and rescued the two soldiers," said a local police officer, who asked not to be identified.


Two Indian soldiers have been paraded naked for allegedly attempting to rape a girl in Indian-administered Kashmir, police say.
Angry residents in Kunan village near the northern town of Bandipora beat up the soldiers, stripped them bare and paraded them through the market.

Police have charged the soldiers with attempted rape.

An army spokesman said the charges were baseless, and that the villagers had been incited by "hardliners".

Reports quoting local residents say that the two soldiers, dressed in civilian attire, forcibly entered a house in the village of Kunan on Tuesday evening.

The soldiers are said to have posed as militants and asked the family for food and shelter.

'Gathering intelligence'

The reports said that the soldiers allegedly attempted to rape a teenage girl in the house.

When the girl raised the alarm, neighbours rushed in and joined by the family, beat up the soldiers, stripped them, shaved their heads and smeared soot on their faces, witnesses say.

The soldiers were then paraded naked through the local market by the angry mob, who also shouted slogans against the army.

Police fired tear gas shells and fired in the air to break up the demonstration before taking the soldiers into custody.

Army spokesman Colonel Manjinder Singh said that the soldiers had gone to the village to collect intelligence.

He said some "hardliners" had levelled false allegations against them, and incited the residents.

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