J&K soldier cleared of rape charges

Agence France Presse

Srinagar, January 20:

DNA tests have cleared an Indian army major in revolt-hit Kashmir of charges he raped a mother and daughter, the Indian army said. “The DNA report indicates vaginal swabs of victims did not contain any DNA strains of the accused,” said an army statement issued in Srinagar, the summer capital of revolt-hit Kashmir.

The rape accusations against the major sparked widespread demonstrations last November in Indian Kashmir where a bloody insurrection against Indian rule has raged since 1989.

The mother and her 12-year-old daughter from Bader Payeen village in north Kashmir alleged to police they were raped by the major in early November when soldiers conducted a search of their house in quest of rebels. “The DNA report conclusively clears the major of the rape charge,” said the army statement late yesterday.

The army suspended the accused from the service and put him in “close arrest” pending the court martial, the statement said. Kashmir police are conducting their own probe into the allegations and have questioned two dozen witnesses.