After Shopian

What is a brutal crime at one end is an immense human tragedy at the other. The state's primary administrative duty in such a case is to investigate whether anything is amiss, and if so, to conduct a thorough and swift probe to nab the culprits and do the aggrieved what, for want of a better word, must be called justice. It should do all this, and be seen to be doing so, in good faith. That the Jammu and Kashmir administration had slipped up in its initial reaction after the May 30 discovery of the bodies of Nilofar (22) and Asiya (17) in Shopian was in no doubt when protests spread to distant parts of the Valley and paralysed the state for over a week and continued even after the police had to register a rape and murder case following a forensic report, going back on its initial public statement seconded by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah that the two women had been killed by drowning.

So it was necessary to send a Congress emissary, Saifuddin Soz, to Srinagar, followed by the Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who promised "proper action" against the guilty. It is a relief that the state government has set up the judicial commission whose high-profile investigating team is probing the Shopian double rape and murder case. The manner in which the investigation is questioning security personnel and police officials posted at the CRPF and state police camps located near the point of recovery of the bodies, the manner in which possible relevant information is being collected from various quarters, raises hopes that the law will take its course. While the investigation runs, it should send out the right signals to the people of the state that the administration is seriously pursuing what needs to be done.

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