Shopian rape case: Key witnesses turn hostile

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Shopian (Jammu and Kashmir), Nov. 19 (ANI): Two key witnesses in the Shopian rape and murder case, Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone and Abdul Rashid Pampori have turned hostile, retracting their statements which implicated the security forces.

Both witnesses now say they had been forced to make make the false statements by lawyers of the district bar association.

Meanwhile, reacting to the allegations made by the witnesses, the Shopian District Bar Association that played a major role in protests earlier this year, dismissed the allegation, saying that they (witnesses) were tutored by the CBI, which is now investigating the case.

President of the Shopian Bar association, M.Y. Bhat, said the witnesses' latest allegation was baseless and questioned the procedural correctness of the re-recording of their statements.

A television channel quoted him as saying: "This is the first time in judicial history that witnesses have been re-examined after their statements were recorded under Section 164A of the Criminal Procedure Code."

He added that the lawyers may approach the high court.

The two witnesses, Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone and Abdul Rashid Pampori had said in June that they had heard the cries of the two victims, Neelofar and her sister-in-law Asiya, from a police vehicle near the spot where their bodies were later found.

Their statements were recorded afresh after the CBI took up the investigation in September. Since then, there have been several twists to the case.

Fresh forensic reports reportedly suggested that the vaginal swabs that had "proved" rape do not match the women's DNA samples, raising suspicion of tampering by local doctors. (ANI)

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