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Page last updated at 07:39 GMT, Thursday, 16 July 2009 08:39 UK

Police held over Kashmir murder

Protesters in Indian-administered Kashmir
The alleged rapes and murders have generated much anger

Four police officers have been arrested in connection with the alleged rape and murders of two women in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The policemen, including a former chief officer of a district, had been earlier suspended in connection with the deaths in Shopian district.

The bodies of the women were discovered in a canal in Shopian on 30 May.

Life in Shopian has returned to normal after 47 days of protests and strikes over the case.

The protests have been suspended until Tuesday in response to an appeal by the chief justice of the high court, one of the organisers said.

The government initially maintained that the two women had died in an accident and that they had not been raped or killed.

But later the police registered a case of both rape and murder.

On Wednesday, the high court in Kashmir said it would "go to the bottom of this matter and bring the culprits to justice".

The former district police chief of Shopian, Javed Iqbal, and three other officers have now been held on orders of the high court, says the BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar.

The court also ordered the collection of DNA samples from the four officers who were earlier suspended, accused of destroying evidence pertaining to the case.

The judge said the DNA profile of the police officers would be compared with that of semen found in the vaginas of the victims.

A judicial inquiry into the double murders - conducted by retired judge Justice Muzaffar Jan - in its report last week said the police were involved.

Protests have raged throughout the Kashmir valley since 30 May and shops and businesses have shut in Shopian until now.



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