Kunanposhpora case listed for Feb 1

SRINAGAR: A local court today adjourned hearing in the KunanPoshpora rape case even as the counsel representing the army said that “pursuing the case was like flogging a dead horse.” 

As the hearing in the Indian army revision petition seeking closure of investigations in the alleged mass rape began, the public prosecutor did not appear as he was on leave.

Subsequently, Army Counsel Karnail Singh insisted that the matter be adjourned. He stated that pursuing the case was like “flogging a dead horse” and that the Indian Army was the “best disciplined force in the world” and that all violations are dealt with an “iron hand” through court-martial. The court adjourned the case and listed it for final arguments on 1 February 2014.

At least 33 women were allegedly raped by personnel of Army’s 4 Rajputana Rifles during the intervening night of February 23/24 in 1991 in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora. In October 2011 the State Human Rights Commission recommended to the State Government to reopen the case and constitute a Special Investigation Team headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police to reinvestigate the case.

The Army had contested the court order on the grounds that conducting test identification parade in the facts and circumstances of the case would be a “futile exercise and it would be unreasonable to conduct the parade as the identity of the persons after 23 years would have undergone substantial change in physical features.” The Army had also invoked section 125 of the Army Act saying the competence of filing the final charge sheet to decide whether the accused be tried through court martial or criminal court lies with the force only. 

Rights groups blamed the government for ensuring impunity to the perpetrators through shoddy investigation and delays. 

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