Kunan-Poshpora mass rape ‘a horror night for victims’, says SHRC in its annual report

By Yasir Ashraf

JAMMU: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has termed the infamous Kunan-Poshpora mass rape as a “horror night for victims” and slammed the successive governments in its annual report for ignoring the victims.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mir Saifullah tabled the annual report of SHRC (2011-12) in the Legislative Council here Thursday.

“Right from February 1991, all the successive governments and district administration have being guilty of callous, negligent, insensitive and indifferent approach and attitude towards all these victims as if nothing had happened in Kunan-Poshpora during the intervening night of February 23/24, 1991,” the report says.

“Taking into the consideration all the material available on record and the reasoning discussed, the commission feels sorry for the victims that till date no successive government/district administration has ever taken the trouble to approach them and offer them a helping hand.”

The report says that it appears that just after the investigation of the case was closed as untraced and the file was shelved, all the successive governments and district administration “closed their eyes towards the pain and agony of the victims and nobody for all these more than 23 years has tried to extend any relief or compensation to them which could have even for a prima-facie purposes aroused sense of belonging to these victims and they would have developed a feeling that there is somebody who owns and cares for them.”

The commission has recommended monetary relief for the mass rape victims and said that “leaving maximum discretion to the wisdom of the government, minimum Rs two lakh each be paid to all the victims viz complainants in all the six petitions including composite petition No. 118 of 2007 and regarding whom suo-motto cognizance has been taken vide order dated: 05-04-2011. Besides them, (relief should be given) also in favour of those who after the medical examination and opinion have been found to have suffered the same atrocities during the horror night.”

“In addition, the daughter of complainant in the lead case be given Rs 25000 for the injuries she sustained during the incident,” it says.

The reports also states that while considering the complaints from every angle and law, the commission arrives at an “irresistible conclusion that the then Director Prosecution by his deliberate and intentional omissions and commissions and with the implied or express approval of competent authority has been able to scuttle the investigation of the case and thereby the offenders have not even been shown the doors of the court or court martial, while as in the facts and circumstances of the case the trial.

“Thereby it is clear that the then Director Prosecution has deliberately played a pivotal role in this whole incident whereby due to his intentional omission/commissions and negligent approach he has deterred the investigating agency from taking due action as warranted under law and thereby has been responsible for violation of Human Rights Act,” the report points out.

The SHRC also recommends the prosecution of the officer(s) involved in hushing up the mass rape incident. “That under section 19(1) of the J&K Prevention of Human Rights Act 1997 proceedings for prosecution be initiated against him and such other officers/officials who had approved his childish opinion which directly contributed to this serious case and thereby directly benefitted the offenders who had committed such grave human rights violation.”

The SHRC also demanded that investigation of FIR No. 10 of 1991 of Police Station Trehgam shall be re-opened and same shall be re-investigated through a special investigating team headed by an officer not below the rank of SSP and “the investigation must be taken to its logical end without any further delay and hiccups within a specific time bound period.”

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