According to data furnished by the Home Department, there are more cases of rape and molestation registered against “security” men and the police than against insurgents. This applies to statistics offered for both provinces of the state.
The data reveals that 5125 cases of rapes were registered across the state, 2601 in Kashmir and 2524 in Jammu, between 1989 and 2013. During the same period, 14953 cases of molestation were registered – 12215 in Kashmir and 2738 in the Jammu province.
The security forces have 70 rape cases (41 in Kashmir and 29 in Jammu) and 55 cases of molestation (44 in Kashmir and 11 in Jammu) against them. The police has 59 rape cases against its personnel (15 in Kashmir and 44 in Jammu) and 34 molestation cases (12 in Kashmir and 22 in Jammu). No case of molestation has been reported against surrendered militants, but they have three rape cases, including two in Kashmir, registered against them.
In comparison, there are seven cases of rape registered against militants – four in Kashmir and three in Jammu – besides three cases of molestation, including two in Jammu.
The data reveals that most of the victims have been civilians, though a heinous act like rape or molestation does not become less serious if the victims happen to be militants or individuals somehow involved with the on-going movement.
The Home Ministry report says that punishment had been awarded in some cases. But, justice must not only be done, it must also seem to have been done. As mentioned above a good number of cases have been registered against the Jammu and Kashmir Police personnel. The state administration can very easily bring the guilty to justice as Section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is not available to molest the administration of justice in such cases.
Of course, the administration has to obtain sanction for prosecution, but in such cases the sanction can be accorded by the state government. Interestingly, the Chief Minister happens to be the Home Minister as well, and in that capacity has the power and the authority to grant the required sanction. But till date he has not done so for reasons best known to him.
The Chief Minister’s reluctance to accord sanction against police personnel involved in heinous acts like rape has shown up his campaign on the AFSPA as hollow. If he cannot rein in his own police force, he should stop fooling people with rhetoric on the forces’ special powers.