Govt forgets Kunan-Poshpora ‘gang-rape’ re-investigation

Year On, No Headway On SHRC Recommendation


Srinagar, Dec 20: One year on, the state government is yet to act on the State Human Right Commission (SHRC) recommendations to re-investigate the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora “mass rape case”.
 On October 19 last year, a division bench of SHRC asked the government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for re-opening the case in which at least 30 women of the two villages Kunan and Poshpora in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district were allegedly gang-raped by army personnel of 4-Rajputana Rifles on intervening night of February 23/24 in 1991.
 “SIT should be headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police," the bench comprising Commission chairman Justice (retd) Syed Bashiruddin Ahmad and Javaid Kawoosa had pronounced.
 A senior official in the Home Department said any recommendation or observation made by the SHRC vis-a-vis human rights have to be decided upon by an empowered committee within the department headed by the Principal Secretary.
 “So far there has been no progress on SHRC recommendations. The empowered committee has not taken any decision in this regard,” the official said.
 Reopening of the case has been the long pending demand of the victims and human rights groups in the Valley.
 After the “shocking” incident, Police had lodged an FIR under section 376, 452 and 342 at police station Trehgam against the Army.
 The commission had asked the government to prosecute the then director (prosecution) for recommending that the case should be closed and ordered a compensation of two Rs 2 lakh each to the victims.
 “Right from February 1991, all successive governments and district administrations have been guilty of callous, negligent, insensitive and indifferent attitude towards the victims as if nothing has happened in Kunan-Poshpora on the intervening night of February 23 and 24, 1991,” Justice (retd) Javeed Kawoosa had said.
 "The offenders have been neither taken to a civilian court nor a court martial was initiated. Instead, the case was closed. The investigation was stopped and the files were shelved. This has benefited the offenders," the SHRC observed.
 However, the Press Council of India (PCI) team, which visited Kashmir in June that year, claimed that charges against the army were "well-concocted bundle of fabricated lies".
 The J&K government closed the investigations as “untraced”. Following this, the victims approached the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in 2004.
 The Commission sought a report from the government after 34 petitioners filed four petitions with the rights panel in 2004.
 Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani said he would find the progress in the case. “I will let you know,” he said.  
 Principal Secretary Home Suresh Kumar said: “I have no information regarding the case as I have joined the department recently.” 

Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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