SRINAGAR, India - Thousands of people hurling rocks and shouting anti-India slogans protested in a remote village in Indian-controlled Kashmir yesterday after a woman told police she was abducted and raped by army soldiers stationed in the disputed region.
The protests broke the delicate peace that had settled this summer over Kashmir and kindled concerns of a return to the deadly street violence that consumed the region the previous three years.
The protesters demanded the arrest of the two soldiers. The Indian army and police insisted justice would be done.
“A special investigation team has been formed,’’ said Shiv Murari Sahai, a top officer in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. Police also said results of a medical exam of the woman were pending.
The Indian army chief in Kashmir, Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain, said the military also is investigating, but he suggested armed Kashmiri rebels may have staged the attack to incite public anger against the army.
Terrorists also use combat uniforms that could resemble the army’s, Hasnain told reporters in Srinagar, the main city in Indian-controlled Kashmir. “We’ve conducted certain operations a fortnight ago in the same area, and the terrorists are under pressure. Therefore, this was something which was not unexpected.’’
The 25-year-old woman filed a police report saying two soldiers abducted her Tuesday near her home in Manzgam village and held her in a meadow hut, raping her repeatedly over two days, according to her statement Thursday. Her husband later told reporters she was left in the meadow and made her way home in a state of shock but would be able to identify her attackers.