9 August 2014
23 years after the Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture on 23/24 February 1991, the first legal challenge by the Indian army has been dismissed. On 8 August 2014, Sessions Court, Kupwara dismissed the revision petition of the Indian army that sought an end to further investigations ordered in the case on 18 June 2013 by Sub-judge, Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara. This was the first legal challenge by the Indian army since the crimes were committed in 1991. Rather than legally face the allegations, the army has consistently sought to intimidate and slander the survivors, and through various persons and institutions obfuscate the truth.
The Sessions Court, while dismissing the Indian army petition as having no merit, held that “crime never dies” and that a delay in investigations does not debar the investigating agency from unraveling the truth. The Court held that the army petition had been filed only on the basis of assumptions and apprehensions and that prospective accused had no right to be heard and should only cooperate with investigations. The Court censured the Jammu and Kashmir Police for their “non-seriousness” and their “casual and irresponsible manner” apparent from their years of delay in investigating the case and filing a final report before a court. But, the Court held as “significant” that the police had sought to close the case as “untraced” thereby confirming that a crime had taken place and that it was only a question of identifying the perpetrators.
The survivors continue their struggle before the High Court where the petition seeks court-monitored investigations by a Special Investigation Team, compensation and has also arrayed as parties B.G. Verghese and Wajahat Habibullah, who through their respective reports for the Press Council of India and as Divisional Commissioner assisted the army in the cover up.
– Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society
– Kunan Poshpora Village Committee
– Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora