Kashmir Assembly Halted Over Murder Dispute

27 July 2009
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: The opening session of Indian Kashmir's new state assembly was halted Monday as opposition members demanded a debate on the rape and murder of two Muslim women. The crime has become a focus for large pro-independence protests in the Muslim-majority region, where many residents have long campaigned against rule from New Delhi. Police initially said the two women drowned but later acknowledged they had been raped and murdered. Four officers have been arrested for destroying evidence. Lawmakers from the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) demonstrated in the centre of the assembly, but the speaker rejected their calls for a debate on the issue. Security guards were ordered to remove the protesting lawmakers after their leader, Mehbooba Mufti, grabbed the speaker's microphone.