Kunan, Poshpora women question world’s silence

Baramulla: On International Women’s Day on Tuesday, the women of Kunan and Poshpora villages questioned the world’s silence over the mass rape that happened in the twin north Kashmir hamlets in February 1991.
On February 23, 1991, an unspecified number of soldiers gang-raped the women, some of them old, during a search operation in Kunan and Poshpora villages.
In what has been termed as travesty of justice, a delegation led by a senior journalist BG Verghese, which was sent to investigate into the incident, cleared the soldiers of the charges.
The State Human Rights Commission had recommended a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to 34 victims and action against the officials who had closed the case in 1991.
“The world community is observing the Women’s Day today and is promising security to the women, especially against domestic violence, but it has forgotten how women are living in Kashmir,” a group of women from the villages told Kashmir Reader.
“The world has ignored the plight of women who lost their husbands and children in the Kashmir conflict. The international community as well as the human rights bodies has shown no concern about the women who were raped in our villages.”
They said the world should put pressure on India for action against the soldiers involved in the incident.
The women said they didn’t organise a protest on the day because their recent protest in Srinagar didn’t yield any results.
“But we continue to demand strict action against the culprits,” they said.
Twenty-six years after the incident, the men from the neighbouring villages refuse to marry girls from Kunan and Poshpora villages, they said.
“A non-Muslim lady was also raped by soldiers in Baramulla district in early ‘90s, but she never cries due to the fear of humiliation,” she said.
Abdul Qadeer Dar, a villager, said the women from elsewhere in Kashmir were also suffering while “the government are silent over it”.
“Besides Kunan-Poshpora incident, the case of Asia and Nelofar is another example of human rights violations in Kashmir,” he said.