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Sex assault case a ‘conspiracy’ Kashmir lawmaker granted bail

SRINAGAR, India, Feb 14, (AP): A lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a female doctor in Indiancontrolled Kashmir surfaced on Thursday after evading arrest for several days and said the allegations were part of a conspiracy against him.

Shabir Ahmad Khan, from the nationally governing Congress party, resigned as Kashmir’s junior health minister last Friday but failed to appear when summoned by police investigating the case. A court on Saturday issued a warrant for his arrest, but Khan vanished and eluded several police raids in the neighboring Jammu region. Kashmir’s High Court granted Khan bail on Wednesday and set a hearing for Feb 18, but barred him from leaving Kashmir. The case is “a conspiracy to spoil my political image.

The allegations leveled against me are baseless,” Khan told reporters outside a government guest house in Srinagar, where he arrived Thursday in a vehicle escorted by paramilitary soldiers. The case has shocked many in Kashmir, a mostly Muslim territory divided into an Indian-administered region and a Pakistani-held portion. Both countries claim the mountain territory in its entirety, though anti-India sentiment runs deep throughout.

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