Posts Tagged ‘Pune’

Muzamil Jaleel : New Delhi, Sun Jul 07 2013, IE
FPHabibullah was posted in J&K then
Wajahat Habibullah, chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, has said that the government “deleted important portions of his confidential report” on the Konanposhpora mass rape case in which he had recommended a police probe, upgradation in the level of investigation, entrusting the case to a gazetted police officer and seeking an order from the 15 Corps Commander to ensure Army cooperation in the probe.Habibullah was Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir when troops of 4 Raj Rifles allegedly raped 23 women in the village during a cordon-and-search operation on the night of February 23-24, 1991. The government used his report to give a clean chit to the Army.

More than two decades later, the mass rape case reared its head again last month after a Judicial Magistrate in Kupwara refused to entertain a police case closure report and ordered “further investigation by an officer not below the rank of a Senior Superintendent of Police” and its completion within three months.

“The Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara had received reports from the villagers of Konan that a mass rape had been committed in the village on the night of 23/24 February during cordon-and-search operations conducted by elements of the 4 Raj Rifles. He (Deputy Commissioner) had visited the spot on 5th March and according to his preliminary investigations, it appeared to him prima facie that an offence of monstrous proportions had been committed,” Habibullah’s confidential report stated.

“Consequently, on being approached by the DG, Police, J&K, the Corps Commander deputed Brigadier H K Sharma, Commander 19 Arty Brigade, to visit the village and report. The Brigadier made some local enquiries on 10/3 and came to the conclusion that the report (of mass rape) was baseless. His report does not, however, discuss in detail why he has altogether dismissed the statements made before him by a number of village women,” the report stated.

Habibullah said he visited the village on March 18, 1991, accompanied by Lt Col Naeem Farooqi, Commandant of the 76 Battalion of BSF Tyagi, the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police.

“I found the allegations of mass rape exaggerated because the women of the entire village were saying they were raped. But I didn’t say nothing has happened. I thought perhaps the entire village had decided to say they were raped so that the victims do not have to live alone with this blot,” Habibullah told The Sunday Express.

“The paragraphs of my confidential report where I had recommended that the level of investigation be upgraded to that of a gazetted police officer so that this case is probed efficiently were taken out of my report. I had also asked that the Corps Commander should issue orders to ensure that the Army cooperates with the investigation because SP Kupwara had indicated that in other cases, he was not getting the required cooperation for investigation from the Army. That paragraph was also deleted.”

Habibullah said he had also recommended several measures that the Army needed to take during operations.

“When the report came out in the public, I did protest. I called up the Governor (G C Saxena). But I was already posted out of Kashmir by then,” he said.

But Habibullah’s explanation has not gone down well with human rights groups pursuing the case in Kashmir who question his role.

“His silence of 22 years makes him culpable of the cover-up. The contents of his report that were made public earlier prove he was actively trying to obfuscate the truth,” Khurram Parvez of the Coalition of Civil Society said. “He has always been pretending to be sympathetic to the victims of human rights atrocities in Kashmir. This report shows how he himself was hand in glove with the perpetrators while holding an important position in the administration in Kashmir”.

Habibullah’s confidential report is controversial because he said the veracity of the complaint was “highly doubtful” though the Deputy Commissioner and Station House Officer concluded that mass rape had taken place.



Young Kashmiri rappers find their creative dissent muffled and face the axe if they step out of line
ENTERTAINING WITH PURPOSE:Zubair Magray has become an independent artiste. He shot to fame when his song ‘Azadi' uploaded online was forced to be taken down by the police.

ENTERTAINING WITH PURPOSE:Zubair Magray has become an independent artiste. He shot to fame when his song ‘Azadi’ uploaded online was forced to be taken down by the police.

It is not unusual that rap and hip-hop find favour with budding musicians of Kashmir. World over, starting from the inner city lanes of New York to the Middle East, these genres of music have been creative tools of resistance. Through popular culture, a critique of perceived discrimination takes place, dissent is voiced and racism and exclusion get challenged. Misrepresentation is also taken to task.

These genres do not exist in isolation but are embedded in and born from the socio-political environment of a society. For many years, youth have taken recourse to these global art forms to engage with and reflect the reality they see around them. A few years ago, this trend took shape in the Kashmir valley, where youngsters tried to articulate what they saw around them through their music.

Soon Renegade, MC Youngblood, The Revolutionary, Mista Shais, M1B, Haze Kay and MC Kash became popular stage names of young Kashmiri men who created music that came straight from the soul of the land and found resonance with the public, not only in the valley but across India. MC Kash or Roushan Illahi is a rapper and emcee who released a song, ‘I Protest‘ in the Kashmiri unrest of 2010 when hundreds of people were killed in paramilitary action. He has a huge fan following on the social networking sites with thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter and ReverbNation. His popularity notwithstanding, his studio was raided by the police and henceforth he has been unable to find a place to record his songs. But he continues to sing, sometimes about love also, says Shayan Nabi, his manager.

Haze Kay or Zubair Magray used to perform with Roushan but has become an independent artist since he moved to Pune to pursue further studies. He shot to fame when his song ‘Azadi’ uploaded online was forced to be taken down by the police who were not amused by the lyrics.

He makes his own music and releases it through his own production house. His music was labelled anti-government. “I am living and studying in Pune, which is in India, how am I anti-government? As an artist, it is my duty to respond to the reality around me and express it through the art form,” says Zubair.

Other vibrant artists have now stopped making any music whatsoever. If a song has the words protest, stones or Kashmir, the police are quick to swoop down to the studios and threaten the producers to discontinue the recording. They are instead offered free promotion if they choose to sing about love and police-people harmony. A number of artists have stopped making music altogether due to the constant threats.

Only those artists, who either have some influence or sing about non-political subjects are able to survive in Kashmir today. A healthy non-violent mode of resistance guaranteed in any free society is thus being stifled even before it can take complete shape