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Jan-01-2013 21:43printcommentsVideo

Petition Seeks Justice for Kunan Poshpora Rape Survivors

Still no justice for a terrible night of gang rape 22 years ago in an otherwise quiet Indian village.

One of the survivors of the mass rape at Kunan Poshpora..com
One of the survivors of the mass rape at Kunan Poshpora.

(SACRAMENTO, CA) - A petition drive on causes.com titled, PETITION: Justice for Kunan Poshpora RAPE SURVIVORS started by Shafqat Nazir, is gaining hundreds of signatures in the wake of a recent gang rape in India that continues to dominate world headlines[1].

The recent event brings to mind the terrible night of gang rape endured by dozens of women and girls 22 years ago in an otherwise quiet village called Kunan Poshpora. It is a dark event that survivors remember as the storm.

Indian human rights activists and survivors of the terrible military systematic gang rape campaign carried out that fateful night in a small Kashmiri village, are demanding that their voices be heard and that justice finally have its day. Survivor reports indicate that on 23 February 1991 at approximately 11:00 p.m., soldiers from the 4th Rajputana Rifles arrived at the village of Kunan Poshpora to conduct a search operation.

According to several dozen eyewitness accounts, the soldiers gang raped a large number of village women overnight till 9:00 the next morning. Locals in the village said that up to 100 girls and women ranging in age from 13 to 80, "were gang-raped without any consideration of their age, married, unmarried, pregnancy etc."

The Indian government seemingly did everything possible to avoid conducting any kind of real investigation of the ordeal suffered by so many. This is not surprising in the brutal state of Kashmir, as Voices of Future Correspondent, Nusrat Ara, wrote in 2009:

    They forget that Kashmir is a land of people living in mental trauma. It is a land that has witnessed massacres; a land where a small boy mistook his mother for a murderer when she emerged, drenched in blood, from the room where security forces had killed three family members.

    It is a land where one can get arrested, tortured, and killed by the armed forces and the perpetrators can’t even be questioned[2].

When you click the petition link below to sign the petition it will open a new window, the story continues below.

    To: The Secretary General, United Nations Organization.

    We demand action against the perpetrators of 1991 'mass- gang rape' in Kunan Poshpora, Kashmir by Indian Army. We want the Govt. of India to behave sensibly in the matter and ACT NOW....
    Twenty two years have passed since that bestiality was committed upon our women irrespective of their age etc. The Govt. of India and the civil society has never shown their concern in this regard. India is all fire against the 'gang rape' of a 23 year girl in a moving bus in Delhi and are demanding death penalty against the culprits. We also demand ACTION..

Following the district magistrate's report, increased

Publicity about the incident was boosted by a district magistrate's report. Indian officials continued to deny that the gang rapes had taken place. On 17 March, Mufti Baha-ud-Din Farooqi, Chief Justice of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, led a fact-finding mission to Kunan Poshpora[4].

In this faded photo of Kunan Poshpora rape victims, they show the clothes torn from their bodies.

Over the course of his investigation, the Chief Justice interviewed 53 of the victims, and tried to determine why a police investigation into the incident had not taken place. Farooqi later stated that in his 43 years on the bench he "had never seen a case in which normal investigative procedures were ignored as they were in this one."

Finally, responding to repeated reports corroborating the statements of the victims, and criticism of the government's handling of the investigation, the army requested the 'Press Council of India' to investigate the incident.

However this was the point from where things became much worse.

According to Wikipedia:

    The team claimed that "such a delayed medical examination proves nothing" and that the medical findings were typical among villagers. Ultimately, the team concluded that the charges against the army were, "well-concocted bundle of fabricated lies" and "a massive hoax orchestrated by militant groups and their sympathizers and mentors in Kashmir and abroad...for reinscribing Kashmir on the international agenda as a human rights issue.

    Aftermath

    Following the release of the Press Council's report, Indian authorities dismissed all of the allegations of mass rape as groundless. No further investigations were conducted. In October 2011 The State Human Rights Commission asked the government to reinvestigate the mass rape case and compensate the victims. They also called for proceedings to be taken against the then Director Of Prosecutions who had sought closure of the mass rape case and not investigation. Meanwhile, social stigma generated out of this incident has resulted in women of this area facing difficulties in getting married even today.

It is not hard to understand why so many people remain bitter and in need of justice. You can make a difference by spending about one minute signing the online petition drive launched by Shafqat Nazir, to raise awareness and force change. I do this without hesitation and suggest this as a bare minimal level of involvement.

Nusrat Ara wrote this about embattled Kashmir:

    My land has seen death and destruction as a rule. It is a land of thousands of orphans and widows. It is the land of Kunan Poshpora, where troopers raped women inside their houses all night after herding their men outside for identification.

    It is the land of Dardpora village, home to some 300 widows. It is a land where 8000 people are still disappeared, where the parents and relatives of the disappeared sit every month in a public park asking for their whereabouts.

    It is a land where unmarked graves were discovered in 2008 and where countless more lie unclaimed in unknown graveyards or forests.

As increasing world attention is devoted to this agonizing problem of indifference toward sexual violence and totalitarian control of a populace, more pressure will build against officials who have the ability to bring change, and the faster relief will come.

References:

[1] Female Medical Student Gang Raped in India Dies from Injuries - Tim King Salem-News.com

[2] Evicting Demons: Who Will Exorcise My Land? - Nusrat Ara World Pulse

[3] PETITION: Justice for Kunan Poshpora RAPE SURVIVORS - Causes

[4] Kunan Poshpora incident - Wikipedia

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Photo by Justin King

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.

Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu

In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tens of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)

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