Rape victims seek people’s support

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Rape victim, By Aliya Bashir,

Srinagar: Asking for the complete support; not only from the civil society but from the entire society, victims of the Kunan Poshpora on Saturday said that even if they have not succeeded to get justice till now but they have not failed either and sought support from the people till victims get justice.

The victims expressed their happiness over the recent development in which court of judicial magistrate has ordered the reinvestigation of a gang-rape incident in which 30 women aged between 13 and 70 were allegedly gang-raped by the Army in 1991.

“No one has ever supported us or fought for our rights. We have never seen people be it politicians, bureaucrats or other mainstream groups visiting us in all these years to extend a supporting hand or hear our stories. Instead, people tried to discourage us but we stood silently to continue our fight,” said a victim pleading anonymity.

It is worth to say that the court order comes after a group consisting of lawyers, teachers and students filed public interest litigation (PIL) before the High Court of the region; who demanded justice for the victims.

Although, the central government has rejected the allegations against the Army but Seema Mustafa, head of the delegation of the Central Investigation Team monitored by the Supreme Court of India has recently stated, “Governments-whether it is of India or Kashmir, you have to understand that there has to be justice and there has to be peace. This is… what any human being in the world wants… If justice had been given constantly, the story in Kashmir would have been very different.”

The rape survivors also urged people to boycott all the persons who tried to malign the survivors of the Kunan Poshpora. They also deliberated that BG Verghese-the then head of Press Council of India should be criminally prosecuted and alleged that he never visited the village but filed his report from Brigade headquarters in Baramulla. “It is horrible to narrate the tale that we had gone through all these years. We were not only victimized but are still facing stigma for no fault of ours. Our fight is not just to punish the culprits alone but we don’t want such incidents getting repeated again in the valley,” said another victim.

Parvez Imroz, Human rights lawyer and convener of J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) said that the credit for re-opening of the case should be given to the 40 women who have come forward and registered the PIL so that they can extend full support to the victims. “The institutional rape is crime against humanity. We all know the outcome of re-investigations here; as the same police and Army will carry out the further investigations who not only committed such heinous crimes but even tried to suppress the truth. Judiciary is also a part of the state here and they also have their limitations. But, we have no other option than to continue mounting pressure on the authorities till justice is delivered,” Imroz said.

The order by the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara on 18 June for further investigations has again infused a new ray of hope for all the survivors of the Kunan Poshpora incident.

[Courtesy: TKM]

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