Kashmir erupts over Kathua rape and murder

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Srinagar: The campaign for justice for the eight-year-old victim of Kathua rape and murder is gaining momentum across Kashmir with students and people holding protest marches across the length and breadth of the valley on Wednesday, giving police a tough time.
Students of various educational institutions took out a protest rally on Residency Road Srinagar, demanding justice for the girl and stern punishment to those involved in the heinous crime that has sparked outrage.
A group of lawyers, civil society members and people from other walks of life also held a protest rally at Pratap Park Srinagar, demanding death penalty for the persons involved in the rape and murder of the minor girl in January this year.
They also demanded setting up of a fast-track court for speedy delivery of justice in the case.
A massive rally was taken out by students in Uri town — near the Line of Control — in Baramulla district in support of the victim, reports reaching here said.
Similar protests were held in the Tral area of Pulwama district where police used batons and tear smoke shells to disperse the students.
Official sources said several students were hurt in the police action.
Students held protests in Anantnag, Baramulla, Awantipora and other parts of the valley as well. The protestors accused the police of using force at some places to quell protests, a charge denied by the police.
A police spokesman said some “miscreants” indulged in stone-pelting to enforce a shutdown in Anantnag town.
“In the said incident, two police personnel and two miscreants received injuries when they were hit by stones. All of them are stated to be stable,” he said.
He said personnel of municipal committee were pelted with stones during an anti-encroachment drive in Pulwama. “However, police party reached the spot and subsequently dispersed the miscreants. No loss was reported,” the spokesman added.
He said “miscreants” tried to block the main road at Awanitpora but due to the timely intervention of police, the situation was handled.
“It is clarified that situation has been brought under control in all these locations,” the spokesman said.
The campaign for justice for the victim is gaining momentum every passing day with people adopting novel methods of protest.
Many passenger vehicles, including autorickshaws, have put up placards in front of the windscreens, demanding justice for the victim girl.
A large number of private cars and motorcycles also have posters, making the same demand. Business establishments have also put up similar placards on their premises.
In the virtual world, an online petition to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was started last month to demand justice for the victim.
The demand for justice can be seen on thousands of Facebook pages, in whatsapp messages and statuses and in tweets as well. PTI