SRINAGAR: The largest student organisation in the United Kingdom (UK) has announced to hold a protest against the 1993 Kunan Poshpora mass rape and the other “gross violations of human rights” in Kashmir.
The London-based National Union of Students (NUS)—the 1922-born confederation of around 600 students’ unions in the UK—decided on the protest in a “comprehensive motion on Kashmir” passed Monday.
According to the details available online, the union has resolved to “hold a protest outside the Indian embassy to mark Kunan Poshpora, and other particular gross violations of human rights in Kashmir”.
At least 30 women, including teenagers and elderly, were allegedly raped by soldiers belonging to Army’s 4 Rajputana Rifles during the night intervening February 23/24, 1991 in Kunan-Poshpora villages.
Police had filed a case, but closed it later as ‘untraced’. In 2012, acting on the petition of Kunan-Poshpora Village Committee, the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Kupwara directed the police to further investigate the case “to unravel the identity of those who happen to be perpetrators”.
The investigation was to be conducted by police officer not below the rank of SSP within three months. Even as the deadline was extended last year, the investigation report is yet to be submitted before the court.
On the contrary, the Army and Government of India had filed a revision petition before the Principal Sessions Judge Kupwara, challenging the CJM’s order.
Observing that “no Indian soldier has, as of yet, been held to account or convicted, despite medical evidence”, NUS has urged upon its woman officers to “create awareness about and campaign about the anniversary of Kunan Poshpora”.
The discovery of over 1000 unmarked graves, it said, “has proven the allegations of Kashmiris against the Indian state to the international community”.
Holding the British Empire “responsible for the situation in Kashmir”, it said “the majority of British ‘Pakistanis’ are actually Kashmiri and should be given the choice to define as such. Therefore NUS has a responsibility to represent them, it is not an external matter, this island was complicit in creating the occupation of Kashmir, and its time NUS spoke up about it”.
In its nine-point resolution, the union has condemned “the systematic violence and state suppression of basic rights in Kashmiri’s by the Indian Government”.
It said the Government of India “are unaccountable due to the sadistic Armed Forces Special Powers Act in effect in Kashmir since 1990, which has resulted in military led mass rapes, disappeared people and half widows”.
It has condemned “economic exploitation and lack of development” by the Pakistan ruling classes, considering the “significant role that remittances sent by Kashmiri’s have played historically in the economy of the country”.
“Campaign (will be held) to create awareness of this issue, as there are over a million Kashmiri’s in the UK, who are predominantly lower working class and do not have a voice, as they are more concerned with making ends meet,” it announced.
The union has called upon the UK government “to have action” and “not just words, to give Kashmiris a primary voice in negotiations.
It resolved to support the organisations that support, campaign and create awareness about Kashmir; to lobby institutions and organisations complicit in the state oppression; and to support the Kashmiri students campaign throughout the academic year to raise awareness about Kashmir, across London campuses.