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J&K: Shopian strike called off after 48 days

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
July 16, 2009 12:07 IST
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Responding to the appeal made by the chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, residents of Shopian in southern Kashmir on Thursday called off their 48-day strike, which had started after the rape and murder of two local women, allegedly by security forces.

Shopian had erupted into protests after the rape and murder of Asiya Jan, 17, and her sister-in-law Neelofar Jan, 22, on May 30. Normal life had come to a complete halt and shops, business establishments and educational institutions have remained shut since then.

Barin Ghosh, chief justice of the J&K high court, had ordered the arrest of the four police officers who had earlier been suspended in connection with the case. He also made an appeal to the town's residents to call off their strike and restore normalcy so that the special investigation team, which is probing the case, is able to speedily complete its task.

"The SIT has reported that because of the strike, the people of Shopian are suffering and they are not able to appropriately assist in the investigations," the HC order said.

The court added, "We assure them that as the people of the state are behind them, so is the high court and it would be our collective effort to ultimately solve the crime and appropriately deal with the perpetrator(s) of the heinous crime of rape followed by murder."

"We have ended the strike on the appeal by the chief justice and feel assured that justice would be finally delivered," said Mohammad Shafi Khan, spokesman of the Shopian Mujlis Mushawara, which spearheaded the agitation.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar