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Two Lawmakers Arrested Over Sex Scandal in Indian Kashmir


Authorities in Indian Kashmir have arrested two lawmakers in connection with a prostitution scandal that has sparked weeks of protests.

Former state ministers Ghulam Ahmed Mir and Raman Matoo are being held by the federal agents from the Central Bureau of Investigation. The bureau is probing claims that Kashmiri girls, including some minors, were provided as prostitutes to politicians.

Mir is state assembly member from Kashmir's ruling Congress party and was junior tourism minister until last year, while Matoo is an independent lawmaker who worked at the industries ministry.

An angry group of demonstrators ransacked and torched the house of a woman suspected of running the prostitution ring in Srinagar, soon after the story broke more than two months ago.

The woman and three others were detained by police for questioning.

In recent weeks, federal agents have also arrested a deputy inspector general of India's main paramilitary force and a local police officer for their alleged involvement in the scandal. The scandal involved sexual exploitation of young girls who would be drugged, filmed in the nude, raped and then coerced into prostitution.

Prostitution is illegal in Kashmir as elsewhere in India.

Indian Kashmir has been troubled because of 17 years of an Islamic insurgency against Indian rule, a conflict that has killed more than 45,000 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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