January 2005 News

Indian Army To Fire Officer In Kashmir Rape Case

31 January 2005

Jammu: An Indian army major found guilty of sexually molesting a 10-year- old girl and her mother in Indian Kashmir is to be dismissed, a spokesman said on Monday. The decision by a military court was one of the swiftest to deliver justice to victims of abuse by Indian security forces battling Islamic militants in the disputed Himalayan state. 'Major Rehman Hussain, who was accused of rape and other charges ... has been found not guilty of the charge of rape but found guilty of other charges and the officer has been sentenced to be dismissed from service,' Colonel R.K. Sen said. The other charges related to molesting the woman and her daughter in their house in October, he said. The family had been adopted by the Indian army 'in a gesture of compassion and consideration', Colonel Sen said. The girl and her brother would be educated at an army residential school and subsequently helped to find jobs. The parents would be suitably rehabilitated, he added. The rape allegations had triggered widespread street protests across Kashmir, where a revolt against Indian rule has killed more than 45,000 people since 1989. Protesters had said the officer raped the woman and her daughter in their house in Badrahpayeen village in north Kashmir during a search operation. The military said this month that DNA tests did not support the rape charge. Rights groups blame Indian forces and militant groups for widespread abuses in Kashmir. Indian officials deny this, saying they investigate all reports and punish the guilty. Earlier, militants stormed a house in a remote Kashmir village and threw several grenades at a family inside, killing two sisters, their brother and mother, police said. The attack came as the Himalayan region disputed by India and Pakistan holds its first elections in 27 years to choose town councils. Kashmiri rebels have called for a boycott of the polls, which are spread over several days. Although rebel violence continues in Kashmir, Indian authorities say the levels are lower than in 2003, coinciding with moves by New Delhi and Islamabad to make peace. Leaders of the two countries are due to hold talks on the sidelines of a regional summit in Bangladesh next week.


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