SRINAGAR, India — Indian riot police fired teargas and used batons Friday to disperse hundreds of Kashmiris protesting the alleged rape of a married woman in the disputed region, police and witnesses said.
The woman from Muslim-majority southern Kulgam district alleged that she was abducted and subsequently raped by two armed men wearing army uniforms on Tuesday.
On Friday, angry protesters set fire to a government vehicle and clashed with police, a police officer said, adding several protesters were hurt after police used teargas and batons.
“The protesters have retreated into narrow lanes and are targeting the policemen with stones and bricks,” a witness, Ghulam Ahmed, said in Kulgam town, a two-hour drive from the region’s biggest city Srinagar.
The region was hit by massive protests in 2009 over the alleged murder and rape of two women in the neighbouring Shopian district. Federal investigators later said the two had drowned in a stream and were never raped.
Police have registered a case and constituted a special team to investigate the latest incident, while the army has also launched its own investigation.
“If there is any truth in the allegation, then it is a criminal act against which strict action must be taken,” the army chief of Kashmir valley S.A. Hasnain told reporters in Srinagar.
“Army is cooperating in the police investigation and we have launched a separate investigation of our own,” Hasnain said.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan, with the Indian-administered sector hit by a violent 20-year insurgency against rule from New Delhi.