Pay ‘compensation’ to Kunan-Poshpora mass rape victims, produce receipt: HC to govt

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has allowed request by state government seeking four weeks time to pay ‘compensation’ to the survivors of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora mass rape victims.
Hearing a petition filed on behalf of the victims, a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magray also directed the government to produce status of the latest investigation into the horrible incident that changed Kashmir forever.
At least 30 women were gang raped on the night of February 23/24, 1991 by troops of army’s 4 Rajputana Rifles in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. Police had closed the case in 1991 as untraced; the case was reopened last year on the directions of a magistrate.
“The order dated (August 12, 2014) has not been complied with. The ‘compensation’ as per the directions issued has not been paid to victims of crime…Let the amount be paid and receipt of the amount be produced on adjourned date,” the bench said.
The status report with regard to investigation shall also be also filed, the court said, and posted the matter for further consideration on November 11.
The directions by the court followed statement by counsel representing government, stating that on account of the devastating floods in the Valley, the delay has been caused and needful shall be done within four weeks.
On August 12, Additional Advocate General R A Khan had told the court that government was not averse to payment of ‘compensation’ to the survivors.
In 2007, some victims of the mass rape knocked State Human Rights Commission, and the Commission in 2012 recommended re-investigation, payment of Rs two lakh as ex-gratia to victims and action against then Director Prosecution for closing the case in 1991 as untraced.
“Proceeding for prosecution be initiated against Director Prosecution and such other officers who had approved his childish opinion which directly contributed to the shelving of investigation of the serious case and thereby directly benefitting the offenders who committed the crime,” the SHRC had said and had expressed apologies to the victims of the incident with then observation that successive governments never offered helping hand or the “healing touch, words which were adopted by one of the regimes (read PDP).”
On June 18, 2013, responding to a closure petition by the police 22 years after the investigation of the case was closed, the Judicial Magistrate in Kupwara had directed further investigation “to unravel the identity of those who happened to be the perpetrators of the alleged crime”.