“What is the Indian judiciary doing for Kashmir? The mass rape case of Kunan and Poshpora is not a priority. Justice in a situation like this does not interest even the Supreme Court of India,” said prominent Kashmiri activist, Khurram Parvez
Twenty-nine years ago, Kunan and Poshpora, twin villages located in Kashmir’s border district of Kupwara, were victims of mass rapes perpetrated by the Indian armed forces. On the cold night of February 23, 1991, deep in the Valley, armed personnel of the 4th Rajputana Rifles raped at least 40 women in the quiet hamlets and 29 years on, their fight for justice waits in the pages of the Supreme Court’s registry.
“The case has been lying in three courts and although the State Human Rights Commission found all the allegation to be true, there has been no judgement yet,” Khurram Parvez, the Program Coordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and a prominent Kashmiri human rights activist told The Logical Indian.
Between the years of 2005-2011, the villagers of Kunan and Poshpora fought to get the case moving in Jammu and Kashmir’s State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). When the SHRC conducted an inquiry and found the accusation of mass rapes to be true, they ordered for the erstwhile state government to pay compensation to the forty women identified to be the main victims.
“But the compensation never came then and hasn’t even come yet,” Parvez highlighted.
Natasha Rather, co-author of ‘Do You Remember Kunan Poshpora?‘ informed that 50 Kashmiri women had come forward to re-open the case and file a petition to fight for delivering justice to the victims in 2013. “Fifty of us came forward to file a petition in the Srinagar High Court. Originally, around a hundred women had volunteered to help with the legal battle but the authorities asked us to submit our identity cards with the court. You must know that in a place like Kashmir, foregoing an ID card – even briefly – is a risk one cannot undertake.”