Sunday, January 8, 2012


       Kunan Poshpora Mass Rape by Army

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. 

The troops firstly cornered all the men not allowing any of them to enter the houses, and whilst a group of them interrogated and adopted cruel measures to torture the men, others went ahead and mercilessly raped the women for hours together, irrespective of their age, irrespective of them being married or unmarried, or even pregnant, and they continued to do so until 9 O’clock the next day. The incident sent shock waves across villages, however, the helpless people could only cry and cry. Those who dared to resist were beaten ruthlessly by the troops of Raj Raffles. The heart rendering incident had a prolonged impact on the lives of women who became victims of the troopers’ aggression. Almost all the victims suffered psychosomatic disorders and at least two pregnant women (victims) were ultimately divorced by their husbands. From here onwards, the victims were subjected to official apathy, while the police registered a case vide FIR (First Incident Report) No R-1/1387/88 under RPC 376-452-342 dated 07-03-1991 at the Trehgam police station. However call it an irony that no legal action was actually initiated against the erring troopers involved in the heinous act. Keeping abreast with the past record of human rights violations during the 17 years of turmoil, the NGO’s and other organizations, including the APHC (All parties Hurriyat Conference), which claim to be safeguarding the interests of the victims of violence, did not extend any moral or financial help to the victims, only paying a visit to the village to ‘show face’. Instead a local teacher, Ghulam Hassan Dar of Kunan Poshpora, gave away a shameful Rs.50 to each victim. And it still remains a mystery whether the teacher donated this money from his own pocket or from any other source. The victims narrated the woeful tales recalling the traumatic experiences after sixteen long years. “At 11pm, I as usual was busy offering special prayers (naffil) and, at least four troopers broke down the window and entered into the room in candle light. As my son, who is serving in the Police Department, was rendering his duties in Uri, Baramulla, I was all alone. The troopers tore my cloths as I cried, but all in vain. They raped me one by one for hours. I could only cry but they put cloth into my mouth to cease my cries. After hours of trauma, I became unconscious.”, recalled Lass Ded who was 70 years old at that time. Her son, after learning about his aging mother’s ordeal, turned mad and even today has not recovered fully requiring medicines on a regular basis. Lass Ded was the first women to become the victim of the troopers’ aggression, and 16 years later, though the ill fated women regrets that nobody whole heartedly came forward to help the victims, she only demands punishment to the erring cops and nothing else. Lass Ded is one among many victims who in addition of having undergone the physical and psychological trauma of the heinous act inflicted upon her, have also suffered the social stigma of being raped in this conservative society. Lass Ded added that this heart rendering episode has held them back in their own houses and hearths, as they that punishing the erring cops would further damage their character in public. Lass Ded agrees that she had received a compensation of the mere Rs.50 from the teacher, but feels dejected in recalling this. While the inhuman and widely condemned event in Kunan Poshpora exposed the tormented women on a very sad note, the victims continue to carry a social stigma after such a long period of time. They still feel shy and ashamed of living a life in their village, but what haunts them the most is the fact that the erring cops are still roaming scot-free and no action has been taken against them. “It has been more than 17 years that the troopers have tarnished our chastity in open and no punishment has been accorded to the guilty. It amounts to encouraging crime. Those who committed this heinous crime are roaming scot-free. The government claims to have a check on gross human rights violations but the cops who committed this heinous crime in open where not taken to task.”, said Naseema Bano, d/o Ghulam Mohammad Dar, who was twenty two years old at the time of the incident.Although more than a decade has past by, the victims of the troopers’ aggression are still lost deep into the bitter memories of the traumatic experiences that they underwent on the night of 23rd February. The village still presents a grim picture of the said event which not only sent shock waves across entire border district, but also drew wide criticism from one and all in the Kashmir valley. The lives of victims became more miserable owing to the fact that the government and all other organizations almost failed to deliver goods on account of getting the guilty cops punished, not to speak of extending compensation to the victims.The trauma does not end here, the heart rendering incident had a telling impact on the women folk in the village, few women wishing anonymity say that they still receive unruly comments while visiting other villages as Kunan Poshpora came to the limelight after the mass rape event. “It is highly unfortunate that victims apart, even village girls have to listen to unhealthy comments with regard to the mass rape incident. Every mature girl wants to get married-off happily and to her best satisfaction, but believe us, scores of our girls’ proposals were turned down after the boys parents came to know about the mass rape incident.”, a young women pursuing her graduation said.The victims who bore the burnt of the unruly troopers in this remote village include;
The magnitude of the crime committed by the Indian Army could be well assessed by the fact that even Jaan Ded, now 110 years old was not spared. The old frail-bodied lady has been rendered dumb after this shocking incident. The locals say that after 36 hours of the episode, the women lost her voice to dejection as she could not bear the shock of this inhuman act.During the past 17 years of turmoil the gross human rights violations in Kashmir Valley went on spiraling as the paramilitary forces, interested with the job of fighting counter insurgency, indulged in letting loose their aggression upon the beleaguered Kashmiris caught between two guns. In the frontier district of Kupwara, the Kunan Poshpora mass rape incident is believed to be the most gross human rights violation during the ever growing phase of violence and blood shed. As the years have passed by, the human rights violation cases in Kashmir valley have increased drawing the attention and criticisms of people, however, unfortunately, it seems the government has never been serious enough in punishing the guilty and putting a check on atrocities. 
Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad
Kupwara 2007

1 comment:

  1. Salaam,
    Crore likes to your post sir. I had never heard of this heart rendering act. My heart was broken into pieces...
    May Allah grant those victims more and more patience to bear this (otherwise unbearable) pain!