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J&K HC defers hearing on Shopian case

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
August 19, 2009 22:29 IST
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While observing that it was the prerogative of the state government to transfer the investigations into the Shopian rape and murder case to any agency it deemed fit, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday deferred the hearing of the case till next week.

The division bench of the state high court comprising Chief Justice Barin Ghosh and Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir heard the public interest litigation filed by the Kashmir Bar Association about the investigations into the rape and murder of Asiya Jan, 17, and her sister-in-law Neelofar Jan, 22,  in southern Kashmir's Shopian town on May 30.

Arguing for the KBA, its president Mian Abdul Quyoom told the court that he had strong reservations about the government's plea to transfer the investigation of the case to the CBI.

On the direction of the high court, four police officers, including the then district police chief of Shopian, were arrested in July and their blood samples were drawn for DNA mapping.

The bail application of the four police officers was turned down by the Shopian district and sessions judge earlier this month.

Today, two of the four accused officers including Javed Iqbal Mattoo and Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Baskotra moved a revision application against the district judge's order, before the single bench of the high court.

Bodies of the two women were found by the side of a stream hours after they went missing on May 30 in Shopian town, triggering  protests and demonstrations across the valley, which went on for days.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar