SRINAGAR (AFP) - The opening session of Kashmirs new state assembly was halted Monday as opposition members demanded a debate on the rape and murder of two Muslim women. The crime has become a focus for large pro-independence protests in the Muslim-majority region, where many residents have long campaigned against rule from New Delhi. Police initially said the two women drowned but later acknowledged they had been raped and murdered. Four officers have been arrested for destroying evidence. Lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demonstrated in the centre of the assembly, but the speaker rejected their calls for a debate on the issue. Security guards were ordered to remove the protesting lawmakers after their leader, Mehbooba Mufti, grabbed the speakers microphone. Monitoring Desk adds: Pandemonium broke out in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Monday over the Shopian case with opposition PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti wrenching a mike out of the Speakers podium and throwing it away after which she and her party MLAs were removed from the House, reports The Times of India. Trouble started shortly after the House assembled on Monday morning on the opening day of the budget session with National Conference (NC) member Ch Mohammad Ramzan trying to draw the attention of the Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone to an important issue which was objected to by the PDP members. Mufti led her party members into the well of the House where she snatched the mike and was about to wrench another even as other PDP members shouted slogans and said that the Shopian rape and murder case involving two women was more important than anything else. The PDP members raised slogans like Shopian kay katiloon ko pesh karo (bring to book the culprits in the Shopian case). In the midst of the unruly situation, Lone directed the watch and ward staff to remove Mufti and her MLAs from the House. The watch and ward staff assisted by security personnel had to jostle with the members while taking them out.