Posts Tagged ‘Kunan Poshpora incident’

A court order has pulled the infamous Kunan-Poshpora rape case out of the cold storage.

Riyaz Wani meets the people who made it possible

Riyaz Wani Riyaz Wani 2013-07-20 , Issue 29 Volume 10

Cry for justice Kashmiri women protest against the delay in punishing the perpetrators of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora rapes

 

Cry for justice Kashmiri women protest against the delay in punishing the perpetrators of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora rapes Cry for justice Kashmiri women protest against the delay in punishing the perpetrators of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora rapes. Photo: Faisal Khan When the armymen took my husband away that night, I was left alone in the house with my two toddlers. The soldiers snatched my younger son from my lap, tore off my clothes and pushed me onto the ground… while my son was watching and crying. I didn’t know where they had kept my other son. They didn’t let me go for the entire night despite my pleadings.” As Sara (name changed) broke down while recalling the horror from that night in 1991, the audience at the press conference in Srinagar on 22 June, was overwhelmed with emotion. Sara, who was 24 when the incident happened, had given up hope until 50 women from the Valley came together this May to revive the fight for justice in the alleged mass rape by the army at the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora, located 100 km from Srinagar, in north Kashmir. It’s considered the largest case of mass sexual violence in India. In June, the women’s efforts prompted a local court to direct the government to reopen the case to “further investigate to unravel the identity of the perpetrators”.

It was on that night of 23 February 1991 when soldiers of the 4th Rajputana Rifles allegedly raped around 40 women during a search operation in Kunan-Poshpora. According to the villagers, the army cordoned off the village and ordered the men to assemble at an identified place outside the village. The women who were left inside the houses were then allegedly sexually assaulted. Two days later, the then District Magistrate SM Yasin visited Kunan-Poshpora. He commented later that the accused soldiers had “behaved like violent beasts”. The local police filed an fir on 18 March 1991, but the Director, Prosecutions, threw the case out a month later, saying it was “unfit for launching a criminal prosecution”.

Eight months later, the police closed the case without a trial. Following the incident, a Press Council of India committee led by senior journalist BG Verghese visited the Valley and gave a “clean chit to the soldiers”. Verghese didn’t even visit the village but the committee members stayed at the quarters of the army brigade alleged to have committed the crime. The committee report termed the allegations against the army “totally unproven and completely untrue… a dirty trick to frame the army and get it to lay off Kunan-Poshpora”. The then Divisional Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, who called for a fresh investigation in his report, recently said the government deleted his recommendation for an upgraded probe. His report also said that he “found the allegations of mass rape exaggerated because the women of the entire village were saying they were raped”. This is where the 50 women who call themselves the Support Group for the Victims of Kunan-Poshpora took over.

It is an assorted group of students, activists, doctors, government employees and housewives from all over the Valley. On 10 June this year, they signed a petition demanding a fresh probe into the case by a Special Investigation Team headed by an officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). On 18 June, Kupwara Chief Judicial Magistrate JA Jeelani issued an order to the government to conduct a probe led by an SSP rank officer within three months. Though this was an achievement, the women, whose cause was also boosted by Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid’s recent apology, have no illusions about the “drawn and uncertain” nature of their struggle. “This struggle is important not only because we demand justice but also for our future,” says Samreena, 25, an activist, who is part of the support group. “We can’t and shouldn’t forget this crime. If we forget, we will be sending a message to the armed forces that they can go scotfree, encouraging them to repeat the misdeed.

This incident may happen again if we don’t fight. The fear that it can happen with us is much more than the fear of being let down by the State agencies.” Adds Ifra Mushtaq, 20, a student and member of the support group, “The victims had lost hope and the urge to fight. We persuaded them to join the campaign and assured them of our unstinted support. At first, they were sceptical because they had been let down by the State agencies who had promised justice. But we were able to convince them of our group’s genuineness.” Ifra’s mother Parveena Akhter, 48, actively supports her endeavour. Akhter, a housewife, is not only a signatory to the petition but also a member of the support group. “I have two daughters and understand the agony of the women of Kunan-Poshpora,” she says. “I volunteered for this campaign and will stick with it till we achieve our goal.”

Meanwhile, some victims have questioned the irony of people terming the Kashmiri youth killed by security forces as ‘martyrs’ while the gangrape victims suffer stigma and neglect. “When someone is killed by soldiers in Kashmir, his parents feel proud of him and his ‘martyrdom’. People give the family respect,” says Aisha (name changed). “The army snatched our honour by raping us. We were attacked for the same reason they target the youth. But see the irony; we, the 40 women from Kunan-Poshpora, who were gangraped by the army, feel stigmatised. No one feels proud of us.” In Kunan-Poshpora, that fateful night has become etched in the collective memory. A new generation has grown up since, living with the stigma of the rape of their “mothers and sisters”. The people here talk of their daughters being looked down upon in the neighbouring villages and their sons dropping out of schools and colleges following taunts by their classmates and even teachers. The memory remains raw and painful even today. “Every year, on 23 February, our village plunges into mourning. We hardly cook that day,” Zeba, 55, told TEHELKA. Members of the support group plan to help the villagers deal with the psychological scars. Their road to justice is primarily legal: the group hopes the court order will force the government to set up a fresh investigation. Once the probe begins, they want to monitor it. “We will not allow any agency probing the case to get away with shoddy work or be compromised,” warns Samreena. Besides, the group plan to hold protests, media interactions and launch public awareness programmes.

What is more, their fight has a larger purpose too. Hope Floats After Two Decades A court order has pulled the infamous Kunan-Poshpora rape case out of the cold storage. Riyaz Wani meets the people who made it possible Riyaz Wani Riyaz Wani 2013-07-20 , Issue 29 Volume 10 Cry for justice Kashmiri women protest against the delay in punishing the perpetrators of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora rapes Cry for justice Kashmiri women protest against the delay in punishing the perpetrators of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora rapes. Photo: Faisal Khan When the armymen took my husband away that night, I was left alone in the house with my two toddlers. The soldiers snatched my younger son from my lap, tore off my clothes and pushed me onto the ground… while my son was watching and crying. I didn’t know where they had kept my other son. They didn’t let me go for the entire night despite my pleadings.” As Sara (name changed) broke down while recalling the horror from that night in 1991, the audience at the press conference in Srinagar on 22 June, was overwhelmed with emotion. Sara, who was 24 when the incident happened, had given up hope until 50 women from the Valley came together this May to revive the fight for justice in the alleged mass rape by the army at the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora, located 100 km from Srinagar, in north Kashmir. It’s considered the largest case of mass sexual violence in India. In June, the women’s efforts prompted a local court to direct the government to reopen the case to “further investigate to unravel the identity of the perpetrators”. It was on that night of 23 February 1991 when soldiers of the 4th Rajputana Rifles allegedly raped around 40 women during a search operation in Kunan-Poshpora. According to the villagers, the army cordoned off the village and ordered the men to assemble at an identified place outside the village. The women who were left inside the houses were then allegedly sexually assaulted.

Two days later, the then District Magistrate SM Yasin visited Kunan-Poshpora. He commented later that the accused soldiers had “behaved like violent beasts”. The local police filed an fir on 18 March 1991, but the Director, Prosecutions, threw the case out a month later, saying it was “unfit for launching a criminal prosecution”. Eight months later, the police closed the case without a trial. Following the incident, a Press Council of India committee led by senior journalist BG Verghese visited the Valley and gave a “clean chit to the soldiers”. Verghese didn’t even visit the village but the committee members stayed at the quarters of the army brigade alleged to have committed the crime.

The committee report termed the allegations against the army “totally unproven and completely untrue… a dirty trick to frame the army and get it to lay off Kunan-Poshpora”. The then Divisional Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, who called for a fresh investigation in his report, recently said the government deleted his recommendation for an upgraded probe. His report also said that he “found the allegations of mass rape exaggerated because the women of the entire village were saying they were raped”. This is where the 50 women who call themselves the Support Group for the Victims of Kunan-Poshpora took over. It is an assorted group of students, activists, doctors, government employees and housewives from all over the Valley.

On 10 June this year, they signed a petition demanding a fresh probe into the case by a Special Investigation Team headed by an officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP). On 18 June, Kupwara Chief Judicial Magistrate JA Jeelani issued an order to the government to conduct a probe led by an SSP rank officer within three months. Though this was an achievement, the women, whose cause was also boosted by Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid’s recent apology, have no illusions about the “drawn and uncertain” nature of their struggle. “This struggle is important not only because we demand justice but also for our future,” says Samreena, 25, an activist, who is part of the support group. “We can’t and shouldn’t forget this crime. If we forget, we will be sending a message to the armed forces that they can go scotfree, encouraging them to repeat the misdeed. This incident may happen again if we don’t fight. The fear that it can happen with us is much more than the fear of being let down by the State agencies.” Adds Ifra Mushtaq, 20, a student and member of the support group, “The victims had lost hope and the urge to fight. We persuaded them to join the campaign and assured them of our unstinted support. At first, they were sceptical because they had been let down by the State agencies who had promised justice. But we were able to convince them of our group’s genuineness.” Ifra’s mother Parveena Akhter, 48, actively supports her endeavour. Akhter, a housewife, is not only a signatory to the petition but also a member of the support group. “I have two daughters and understand the agony of the women of Kunan-Poshpora,” she says. “I volunteered for this campaign and will stick with it till we achieve our goal.” Meanwhile, some victims have questioned the irony of people terming the Kashmiri youth killed by security forces as ‘martyrs’ while the gangrape victims suffer stigma and neglect. “When someone is killed by soldiers in Kashmir, his parents feel proud of him and his ‘martyrdom’. People give the family respect,” says Aisha (name changed). “The army snatched our honour by raping us. We were attacked for the same reason they target the youth. But see the irony; we, the 40 women from Kunan-Poshpora, who were gangraped by the army, feel stigmatised. No one feels proud of us.” In Kunan-Poshpora, that fateful night has become etched in the collective memory. A new generation has grown up since, living with the stigma of the rape of their “mothers and sisters”. The people here talk of their daughters being looked down upon in the neighbouring villages and their sons dropping out of schools and colleges following taunts by their classmates and even teachers. The memory remains raw and painful even today. “Every year, on 23 February, our village plunges into mourning. We hardly cook that day,” Zeba, 55, told TEHELKA. Members of the support group plan to help the villagers deal with the psychological scars. Their road to justice is primarily legal: the group hopes the court order will force the government to set up a fresh investigation. Once the probe begins, they want to monitor it. “We will not allow any agency probing the case to get away with shoddy work or be compromised,” warns Samreena. Besides, the group plan to hold protests, media interactions and launch public awareness programmes.

What is more, their fight has a larger purpose too. “It is also about motivating our community to fight for justice. It is about developing a culture of resistance where impunity is not taken for granted,” says Samreena. “Our fight is less about outcomes and more about sending a message to the perpetrators of human rights abuse that we will perpetually pursue them.” riyaz@tehelka.com “It is also about motivating our community to fight for justice. It is about developing a culture of resistance where impunity is not taken for granted,” says Samreena. “Our fight is less about outcomes and more about sending a message to the perpetrators of human rights abuse that we will perpetually pursue them.”

riyaz@tehelka.com

 

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This is a press release by the JKCS and the Kashmiri women fighting on behalf of Kunan Poshpora villagers

BOYCOTT B.G. VERGHESE

Press Statement
24 June 2013

On 22 June 2013, for the first time, the villagers of Kunan Poshpora spoke to the civil society and media of Srinagar. They spoke of rape, torture, suffering, pain and courage. More specifically, they spoke of the fight ahead. They vowed to continue the struggle for justice, and never to forget persons responsible for the cover up of the Kunan Poshpora case.

B.G. Verghese was called a liar by the villagers of Kunan Poshpora and several civil society members in the audience. He headed the Press Council of India fact finding team report on Kunan Poshpora, which was ‘appointed’ by Indian army. But, he never visited the villages of Kunan and Poshpora. He, through the report and subsequently, has sought to malign the men and women of Kunan Poshpora. He has called them shameless, as according to him the allegation was orchestrated on behalf of the militants.

In the recently held public meeting B.G. Verghese was accused of actively abetting the rape and torture of Kunan Poshpora. It is public knowledge that B.G. Verghese served as an “Information Consultant” for the Indian Defence Minister.

The re-opening of the Kunan Poshpora case also implies that those involved in cover ups and in maligning the women of Kunan Poshpora had lied. Therefore recognizing his criminal role in the Kunan Poshpora case, it was unanimously resolved that B.G. Verghese is to be socially and professionally boycotted. The civil society vowed to not engage with him. Further, anyone who does engage with B.G. Verghese will in turn be boycotted. B.G. Verghese presently occupies positions of importance in the Center for Policy Research, Delhi and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Delhi. The Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora alongwith other civil society stakeholders will communicate directly with these institutions, and any other institution that may have ties with him, to immediately stop all engagement with him.

We urge civil society groups, conscientious citizens in India and Jammu and Kashmir that until B.G. Verghese is prosecuted for his role in the Kunan Poshpora case, there must be an absolute boycott: he must not be invited to speak at public functions, he must not be allowed to occupy any positions of responsibility, and he must constantly be reminded of his own criminality.

Finally, before and after the 22 June 2013 press conference, the State has continued its intimidation. The Jammu and Kashmir Police [Tregham Police Station], Indian army [specifically 24 Rashtriya Rifles, based at Trehgam] and other agencies, have sought to intimidate the villagers of Kunan Poshpora. They have gone to the villages, demanded answers to questions about the case and sought to intimidate them through repeated phone calls. This will not be accepted. Legal action will be taken against anyone who seeks to intimidate and threaten the villagers of Kunan Poshpora. They will, first, be named in public, and then dragged to court.

Representatives of the Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora
1. Ifrah Mushtaq
2. Samreena Mushtaq
3. Uzafa Basu
4. Uzma Qureshi

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013, | Place: Srinagar | Agency: DNA

31 gangrape victims have now stepped out to drum up support.

Inside a jam-packed conference hall, a group of women with their faces covered, sobbed. Flashback of the horror of the 22-year-old mass rape of 31 women allegedly by army troops in Kunan Poshpora villages played in their minds.

“I dread that night when troopers entered my room and raped me,” said a woman with her face covered as tears rolled down from her eyes.  “I appeal for justice that has been delayed for so long.”

On the dais an emotionally charged old man broke down narrating the awfulness of the intervening night of February 23 and 24, 1991. A pin drop silence descended in the hall as people listened with rapt attention to their 22 year old ordeal.

Stigmatised and ostracised the villagers of the Kunan Poshpora had suffered it all. Some of the girls were rejected by their in-laws. Some of them suffered serious health ailments. Some of the children had to drop out after they were taunted by their fellow students.

“Five victims have died in the last 22 years. Justice is still a far cry. Every year we observe that day when we were subjected to inhuman treatment by the troops. Life has changed for us since then,” said Mohammad Amin, a village elder, while breaking down in the hall.

Amin and the masked women were part of the group who travelled from remote Kunan Poshpora village in border district of Kupwara to meet the media persons and civil society members seeking their support in their pursuit for justice.

This followed the order of the judicial magistrate Kupwara JA Geelani, who dismissed the conclusions of the police in the recently filed closure report and asked for “further investigation” conducted by an officer not below the rank of SSP within three months.

“Today we commit:  We will fight. We will not forget. We will not forgive. We will monitor the police investigations. We will extend absolute and complete support to the people of Kunan Poshpora when dealing with the further investigations,” said a spokesperson of Representatives of the Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora.

Hundreds of students, women groups and civil society members had thronged to venue to hear the ordeal of the victims. Such was the charged atmosphere that people rose from their seats to give standing ovation to the face covered rape victims who stood ground for 22 years seeking justice from the mighty state.

Press Statement
 
18 June 2013
 
 
Today, on 18th June 2013, the Judicial Magistrate Kupwara J. A. Geelani, while dismissing the conclusions made by the police in the recently filed closure report in the case of Kunan Poshpora mass rape of 23-24 February 1991 returned the case file to the police, asking for “further investigation to unravel the identity of those who happen to be perpetrators”.
As the demand by us and the survivors was for the re-investigation by Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by an officer of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) rank, the court while mentioning the lack of authority in ordering SIT, asked the further investigation to be conducted by an officer not below the rank of SSP and within a time bound period of 3 months.
On 10 June 2013, a protest petition was filed by Adv. Parvez Imroz on behalf of the survivors of Kunan Poshpora mass rape against the closure report of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, before the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara. On 13 June 2013, the Chief Prosecuting Officer [CPO] filed objections, and today, oral arguments were made before the Magistrate.
The protest petition argued that the police investigations were incomplete and clearly mala fide as despite having the information on file regarding the involvement of 125 personnel of 4th Rajputana Rifles, the police had not questioned them and neither was an identification parade conducted. The Judicial Magistrate Kupwara while acknowledging the submissions made by us has mentioned in the judgment that, “Until date the investigating agency has not unveiled the identity of the culprits despite having a clear cut nominal role of 125 suspects”
The response of the State, through the CPO Aashiq Hussain was unsurprisingly bad in law, and deeply disrespectful of the victims of Kunan Poshpora. First, they argued that there was no right of filing a protest petition, a position unmindful of the law. Second, the State argued that the protest petition was being filed to allow other victims to get cash compensation, and that the victims appeared to have woken up after 22 years and the protest petition was barred by laches. While rejecting the submissions of the CPO, the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara upheld the right to file the protest petition and further observed that, “The instant final report ought to have been forwarded to the Magistrate way back on 12thOctober 1991.”
After 22 years of cover-ups and delay, the State conveniently blocked the High Court PIL and now was shamelessly attempting to block the victims’ remedies before the Judicial Magistrate. Instead of taking the responsibility for delay and denial of justice, the State has chosen to malign the victims and choke any remedies for the survivors of Kunan Poshpora.
Today’s order is an achievement of the struggle of the Kunan Poshpora people along with those who supported their demand for justice. This will surely inspire many more victims of the recent past to wake up and fight for justice in their cases.
We reiterate our commitment that we will continue the struggle till justice is done. Now the Government should comply with the orders of the court and give up their reluctance of punishing the guilty.
Representatives of the support group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora
1.   Benish Ali
2.   Essar Batool
3.   Ifrah Mushtaq
4.   Samreena Mushtaq
5.   Usvah Rizvi
6.   Uzafa Basu
7.   Uzma Qureshi

8.   Rehanna Qadir

 

kunanposhporaRita Pal   |   Jun 01, 2013, Huffington Post
I have previously summarised human rights abuses in Kashmir in this post. Issues affecting Kashmir appear to have been missed from the international stage. Its people bravely struggle on alone, attempting to achieve some accountability. With one of the highest rates of post traumatic stress disorder in the world, the impact is obvious. Nevertheless, their plight is largely forgotten by India and west.

In April 2013, the UK’s Foreign Minister, William Hague, and the Hollywood actress and Special Envoy to the UN Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, announced their fight against sexual violence in war. They announced additional funding of 36 million dollars from G-8 nations, to develop a series of measures to prevent sexual violence and ensure justice for survivors of military conflicts.

Mr Hague said:-

And today we know the facts about sexual violence in conflict and we have the means to address it, so we must not look away or rest until the world faces up to its responsibilities to eradicate this violence.[Independent].
There has been no mention of Kashmir, and just a stony silence from Foreign Office in response to my tweets. It is interesting to note, however, that Human Rights Watch [HRW] were the first to document sexual violence in conflict in 1993 [Rape in Kashmir – A Crime of War ]. They published a report outlining how the Indian security forces in Kashmir used rape to “brutalise women and punish their communities, accused of sympathising with separatist militants” [It’s Not Just about Violence]. Since then HRW have investigated and documented rape in conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Somalia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Haiti.

Sexualised violence in Kashmir is “systemic and institutionalised as part of a larger framework of punishment meted out to civilians”. The Indian government decided to crackdown on Kashmiri insurgents in 1990. It was then that reports of rape were disclosed. A United Nations report in 1992 cited that the Indian security forces allegedly gang raped 882 women. Moreover a 2005 study by Médecins Sans Frontières found that that “11.6 percent of interviewees said they had been victims of sexual violence since 1989” and that “one in seven had witnessed rape. [ A long struggle Against Systemic Rape in Kashmir ] .

The alleged set of crimes, known as the Kunan Poshpora case, happened more than 20 years ago, on February 23, 1991, when armed forces allegedly raped at least 32 teenaged, adult, and elderly women. The Indian government has refused to hold anyone accountable for these alleged crimes. In 1992, the United States Department of State‘s report on international human rights rejected the Indian government’s conclusion and stated that there was “credible evidence to support charges that an elite army unit engaged in mass rape in the Kashmiri village of Kunan Poshpora”. It is also interesting that Justice Verma’s report on the Delhi Rape issue acknowledged the need for accountability. The team wrote

“We are indeed deeply concerned at the growing distrust of the State and its efforts to designate these regions as ‘areas of conflict’ even when civil society is available to engage and inform the lot of the poor. We are convinced that such an attitude on the part of the State only encourages the alienation of our fellow citizens.” They continued, “It must be recognized that women in conflict areas are entitled to all the security and dignity that is afforded to citizens in any other part of our country” and finally the recommendation was as follows: “Sexual violence against women by members of the armed forces or uniformed personnel must be brought under the purview of ordinary criminal law”
A few weeks ago, “50 Kashmiri women came together to demand that police reinvestigate a well-known case of mass rape. The women–teachers, students, journalists, human rights workers, lawyers, and other professionals–filed a public interest litigation case before India’s Jammu and Kashmir high court”. The Hindustan Times recently reported on a petition to the High Court to reopen the Kunan Poshpora case. The petitioners pleaded “As usual, the State refused to act. One and a half years have passed and the State has displayed a cruel disregard for a crime whose consequences continue to date.” The history is summarised by Women Under Siege . The local media reported on the potential reopening of the case. The international media appears to have remained tight-lipped despite these events occurring during the same time as William Hague’s publicity campaign.

The disappearance of the human rights abuses from the international stage is curious. Mr Rameez Makhdoomi, a local journalist in Indian administered Kashmir, stated,

“‘Tragically, Kashmir human rights violations are grossly overlooked by Western world which is otherwise considered as the region which gave birth to enlightened concepts like democracy and liberty. History will remember with dark words the silence of West over gross human rights violations committed by India in Kashmir. India may have literally committed every crime in book-rapes, murders, torture deaths to quell democratic freedom struggle of Kashmir based on the right to self-determination which was promised by Indian state. Western world is acting blind and voting economic and strategic interests over humanity and democracy when it comes to India’s cruel conduct in Kashmir.”
UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura states

“Sexual violence in conflict needs to be treated as the war crime that it is; it can no longer be treated as an unfortunate collateral damage of war”
It follows that the alleged crimes committed against the people of Kashmir and their difficult journey to achieve accountability must never be forgotten by the international community.

“To those who believe in resistance , who live between hope and impatience and have learned the perils of being unreasonable. To those who understand enough to be afraid, and yet retain their fury”

kunanposhpora

The Kunan Poshpora incident occurred on February 23, 1991, when units of the Indian army launched a search and interrogation operation in the village of Kunan Poshpora, located in Kashmir‘s remote Kupwara District. At least 53 women were allegedly gang raped by soldiers that night. However, Human Rights organizations including Human Rights Watch have reported that the number of raped women could be as high as 100.Although the Indian government‘s investigations into the incident rejected the allegations as “baseless,” international human rights organizations have expressed serious doubts about the integrity of these investigations and the manner in which they were conducted, stating that the Indian government launched a “campaign to acquit the army of charges of human rights violations and discredit those who brought the charges.
According to reports, on February 23, 1991 at approximately 11:00PM soldiers from the 4th Rajputana Rifles cordoned off the village of Kunan Poshpora to conduct a search operation. The men were taken from their homes and assembled in an open field for interrogation overnight. Once the men had been taken away, soldiers allegedly gang raped a large number of village women overnight till 9:00 AM the next day.Local villagers alleged that up to 100 women “were gang-raped without any consideration of their age, married, unmarried, pregnancy etc.,The victims ranged in age from 13 to 80.The village headman and other leaders have claimed that they reported the rapes to army officials on February 27, but the officials denied the charges and refused to take any further action. However, army officials claim that no report was ever made.On March 5, villagers complained to Kupwara district magistrate S.M. Yasin, who visited the village on March 7 to investigate. In his final report, he stated that the soldiers “behaved like wild beasts”and described the attack as follows: A large number of armed personnel entered into the houses of villagers and at gunpoint they gang-raped 23 ladies, without any consideration of their age, married, unmarried, pregnancy etc… there was a hue and cry in the whole village.
He went on to state: I found the villagers were harassed to the extreme possible extent. In the morning after 9 a.m. when the Army left, the village men folk were released and when they entered their houses, they were shocked to see that the Army forces have gang raped their daughters, wives, sisters, etc. The armed forces have forcibly taken No Objection Certificate from the locals as well as from the local police after doing the illegal action… I feel ashamed to put in black and white what kind of atrocities and their magnitude was brought to my notice on the spot.
The United States Department of State, in its 1992 report on international human rights, rejected the Indian government’s conclusion, and determined that there was “was credible evidence to support charges that an elite army unit engaged in mass rape in the Kashmiri village of Kunan Poshpora.
#Every heart cried and every eye shed tears in the intervening night of the 23rd and 24th February 1991, when the young and energetic, but inhumane, Indian troops of the 04 Raj Raffles of 68 Brigade C/o 56 APO launched a search operation in the village of Kunan Poshpora, just 5kms from the main township Kupwara, and toed all humanitarian principals with the raping of as many as thirty women, including teenage girls and a near 100 year old frail grandmother.-kashmirglobal.com

 

  • Musab Iqbal,

In Kunan Poshpora perhaps lie the truth of not only largest democracy, which moves on million boots, but also the secret of its non- violent conscience. The society whose conscience find no stimulation from the ‘distant’ brutality on it’s top, on it’s margin and in it’s heart.

It reminds us how the existence of oppressive power is denial of dignity to the oppressed. It reminds us of the history that is present and a past, which is not forgettable, and about the future which will emerge from the history of ruins.

The dream to come true is the dream of complete freedom from the rule of the power, which decides for itself and operates on us. The future is not known but what known is the presence of resistance; resistance against the ‘obvious’ – obvious of the power.

Can one speak after such an ordeal – a brutal operation on mind and body but then does ‘one’ remain after such a tragedy. There is no ‘one’ left – the experience transformed ‘one’ into ‘many’ and then into ‘another one’. The impossibility thus is in that very transformation whose beginning point is the singularity of the ‘collective pain’ shared by all but experienced by ‘one’. The moral of ‘one’ is then not in resistance – resistance to brutality but in the existential resistance to that very ‘other’. Resistance to the very operation of brutal has no meaning but the resistance to existence is the essence of that transformed ‘one’: Another One.

Can ones Army be imagined to rape and traumatize its own people but then we are forced to ask do army have any ‘people’ as ‘own’ people. The deployment itself is a detachment from ‘own-ness’. The police in localities of ours if catches someone, does that someone remains police’s own or not. The organized movement to traumatize ends the possibility of ‘own’ and ‘people’.

 

– 23rd February 2013, on his blog http://musab.in/