First withdraw case in SC and stop creating legal hurdles for the victims
SRINAGAR: The Support Group For Justice For Kunan Poshpora has asked the chairperson of the State Commission for Women (SCW) Nayeema Mahjoor to hold the state accountable for the Kunan Poshpora rapes before talking about the victim rehabilitation.
A statement issued by the support group pointed towards Mahjoor’s remark at a book launch where she expressed about being ‘hopeful’ about rehabilitating the victims of Kunan Poshpora and Dardpora widows by the ruling PDP government.
“What is the point in legally denying the rapes and then acknowledging them by talking about rehabilitation of the victims? Also the first step in the case should be the withdrawal of the case from the SC as a gesture of acknowledging the crime that the people of Kunan Poshpora have been fighting against for the last 26 years. Rehabilitation will come later,” the group said in the statement.
The group added that the case has been used by the governments to further their own political agendas while the High Court order of monitoring reinvestigation of the case and payment of compensation to the victims was challenged in the Supreme Court of India by the State and Union of India.
Stating that the SCW was an autonomous body that should work for providing assistance to the victims, “whether the perpetrator is a civilian, or the State itself,” the group said the SCW has ‘failed’ to do so in case of Kunan Poshpora, and “the present Chairperson cannot speak on behalf of the government which in this case is the perpetrator”.
The support group also pointed out that the present CM Mehbooba Mufti met with the villagers of Kunan Poshpora in late September and it was directly conveyed to her that the first thing the government could do if at all it was earnest in its offer for help would be to stop creating legal hurdles for the victims and withdraw the case from the SC.
“It hasn’t happened even when the CM assured all help to the victims, how then will the rehabilitation happen,” the group said.
“The villagers have maintained that for them to see their perpetrators punished is of prime importance, they have resisted and fought a long drawn legal battle to ensure that those who committed the crime do not rest easy,” the spokesperson added.
The state on the other hand has been involved in cover ups and shaming of the victims, the support group alleged, often offering them money and intimidating them to withdraw from the case.
“We know that the state uses rehabilitation just as another gimmick to feign sympathy with the victims even as it continues to challenge the victims and their truth in the court of law,” it said.