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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 13:46 GMT 14:46 UK
Protest over Kashmir 'sex ring'
A mob ransacks the house of a woman alleged to be running a sex ring
The house of a woman alleged to be running a sex ring was attacked
Police in Indian-administered Kashmir have broken up a protest against an alleged prostitution ring.

An angry mob in the summer capital, Srinagar, tried to tear down a house of a woman who is alleged to have run the ring and has been arrested.

The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar says public outrage has grown because a number of senior government and police officials are alleged to be involved.

The alleged scandal was reported last month by a local news agency.

On Friday, police used batons and fired in the air to break up the protest by hundreds of protesters in Srinagar.

Shops and businesses in the city were shut in response to a strike called by an all-women Kashmiri separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Faith).

The protesters ransacked the house of the woman who is alleged to be at the centre of the prostitution ring, burning her furniture and household belongings.

The woman was arrested last month after videos showing nude women and amateur pornography began circulating in Srinagar, reports say.

'Cover up'

Police have already launched an investigation which is now being handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, India's top investigative agency.

But many people allege that the government is trying to cover up the scandal and protect those who are more influential.

"We appeal to the government to expose the culprits involved in this sex scandal," a traders' association is quoted as saying by Reuters.

Last year the Duktharan-e-Millat launched an aggressive campaign against prostitution and alcohol in Muslim-dominated Kashmir.

They raided several restaurants suspected of selling alcohol and also several suspected brothels.

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