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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 June 2007, 05:01 GMT 06:01 UK
Indian soldiers 'paraded naked'
By Altaf Hussain
BBC News, Srinagar

Two Indian soldiers have been paraded naked for allegedly attempting to rape a girl in Indian-administered Kashmir, police say.

Angry residents in Kunan village near the northern town of Bandipora beat up the soldiers, stripped them bare and paraded them through the market.

Police have charged the soldiers with attempted rape.

An army spokesman said the charges were baseless, and that the villagers had been incited by "hardliners".

Reports quoting local residents say that the two soldiers, dressed in civilian attire, forcibly entered a house in the village of Kunan on Tuesday evening.

The soldiers are said to have posed as militants and asked the family for food and shelter.

'Gathering intelligence'

The reports said that the soldiers allegedly attempted to rape a teenage girl in the house.

When the girl raised the alarm, neighbours rushed in and joined by the family, beat up the soldiers, stripped them, shaved their heads and smeared soot on their faces, witnesses say.

The soldiers were then paraded naked through the local market by the angry mob, who also shouted slogans against the army.

Police fired tear gas shells and fired in the air to break up the demonstration before taking the soldiers into custody.

Army spokesman Colonel Manjinder Singh said that the soldiers had gone to the village to collect intelligence.

He said some "hardliners" had levelled false allegations against them, and incited the residents.

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