Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Sunday condemned the rape and murder of two young women in Jammu and Kashmir, and criticised the strong-arm tactics adopted to deal with the protesters.

The administration’s attempts to pass off the May 29 incident as death by drowning were “extremely reprehensible,” the Central Committee said in a statement.

“Now autopsy reports from the Forensic Science Laboratory have confirmed that rape had occurred, and even gang rape cannot be ruled out.”

It was unfortunate that the incident occurred soon after the Lok Sabha elections, and at a time when hopes of normality returning to the State were rising and tourists started visiting the valley in large numbers, the statement said.

“Ensure speedy action”

The committee felt that the situation should have been dealt with sympathetically, and expressed the hope that the Commission of Inquiry ordered by the State government would submit its report immediately and the most stringent punishment would be meted out to the guilty.

It urged the Omar Abdullah government to talk to the locals and assure them of its determination to ensure speedy and just action so that peace was restored at the earliest.

The committee concluded its two-day meeting here.