Twenty-three years on, Kunan Poshpora survivors continue to strive for justice. Even as redress seems to be a distant dream, the survivors are determined to take their struggle to its logical end. Authorities have been concealing the truth right from the beginning, sometimes by intimidating the victims and sometimes by offering compensation. Truth is bitter, and the authorities who are here to uphold what they call `national interest’ cannot afford to unveil it for obvious reasons. On the contrary, every attempt has been made to conceal it. And when it could not be concealed for whatever reasons, it was distorted. But neither distortion, nor intimidation and offers of compensation have worked.
The survivors’ resolve bore fruit last year when a court ordered a re-investigation of the case which had been closed by the police. To counter the court order, the Army filed a revision petition in the Sessions Court in Kupwara, and the plea is pending adjudication. Meanwhile, the police officer entrusted with the re-investigating, a task supposed to be completed within three months, had sought an extension, which was granted. But nothing tangible has been achieved in the past six months, which has led the survivors suspect a conspiracy in the police inaction.
The state government was duty-bound to ensure the prosecution of the personnel who stormed the hamlet on the night of February 23, 1991, and raped more than forty women. But, till date, it has done nothing to show its seriousness. A support group of fifty women is following the case keenly to see that the survivors get justice. The government’s failure to bring the perpetrators to book has only served to sharpen and heighten the pain of the victims, several of whom show disturbing signs of psychological distress. An elderly woman who was raped at Kunan-Poshpora has confined herself to a room. Her social life has ended. Another woman is scared of looking into the mirror since the outrage. It reminds her of the beastly figures that attacked her that night.
The survivors’ suffering continues even after twenty-three years. They need the support of the civil society in their fight for justice. Society in general must come forward to help, and also strengthen the support group that has taken up cudgels on behalf of Kunan Poshpora.