Army Refuses To Accept Kunan-Poshpora Mass Rape

SRINAGAR: Kunan Poshpora Village Committee and Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora in a joint statement have disclosed that Indian Army is denying Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture and seeks total impunity for the alleged perpetrators.

22 years after the mass rape and torture in Kunan Poshpora on 23/24 February 1991, and more than five months after the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara ordered further investigations, the Indian army has made its position on the case clear. The army absolutely denies Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture and seeks total impunity for the alleged perpetrators and it is therefore there will be no cooperation with the investigations. On the contrary, every effort will be made to stall investigations, the statement alleged.

Giving details, the joint statement read: On 18 June 2013, the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara ordered further investigations in the case. Despite, virtually no investigations being carried out, on 14 September 2013, a further three months extension was granted by the Court. Victims/survivors of the mass rape and torture approached the High Court, Srinagar seeking its intervention in the investigations, which was treated as a Public Interest Litigation by the High Court.

The statement further added: In November 2013, the Indian army has chosen to challenge the 18 June 2013 order of the Judicial Magistrate for further investigations before the Sessions Court, Kupwara. As per established jurisprudence, the army has no role to play at this stage of the proceedings except to cooperate in the investigations. Even Armed Forces Special Powers Act cannot stall investigations. Further, it is clear that the army has chosen to approach the Sessions Court, only to ensure further delay, and perhaps a reprieve from the pending writ petition before the High Court. It appears that the Indian army has reacted to the victims/survivors filing the petition before the High Court in October 2013.

It went on, saying the actions of the army on this occasion mirror those of the Jammu and Kashmir Government and Police. When the initial public interest petition was considered and then filed before the High Court early this year, the Jammu and Kashmir Police filed a closure report after 22 years. The purpose was to take the matter out of the purview of the High Court, and seek to stall the proceedings in the Kupwara. Having seen the victims/survivors, approach the High Court, it appears the Government has now colluded with the army to once again seek to stall proceedings.

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