As India is going through a series of protests against the rapes- several women who were raped by the different Indian armed forces in different conflict places of India are still waiting for justice. In a recent report, “alleged Perpetrators- Stories of Impunity in Jammu and Kashmir” released by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-Administered Kashmir (IPTK), nine such cases of rapes (by men in uniform) were reported. We are publishing one of the cases, below, from the report (page 170).
Case No. 146
Victim Details[Name withheld] [Rape]
Spouse: [Name withheld]
Resident of: Nopora, Killer Dhaji, Rafiabad / Sopore, Baramulla District
1. Major Aman Yadav, 28 Rashtriya Rifles [RR], Army,
Camp Shalkote village, Rafiabad
From 24 November 1999 to 15 December 1999 the husband of the victim was outside the State to procure goods towards his work, leaving behind the victim, two children and a domestic help. On his return, he found that Major Yadav and personnel of the 28 RR Camped at Shalkote village, Rafiabad had forcibly entered into his residence during the day time on 5 December 1999. They had searched the house and stolen gold amounting to Rs. 35,000, electric goods worth Rs. 25, 000, a power drilling machine worth Rs. 13,500, materials along with tool box worth Rs. 8,000 and other domestic items to the extent of Rs. 5,000 and cash of Rs. 15,000. The victim and others in the house had raised an alarm. The victim was then physically assaulted, stripped naked and raped. The RR personnel and Major Yadav sternly warned the victim and house-help of dire consequences in case the theft was reported. Major Yadav and the 28 RR personnel were accompanied by a masked Government backed militant [Ikhwan].
Following this incident and due to fear, the victim, her husband and the rest of the family were forced to abandon the house and seek shelter elsewhere. First Information Report [FIR] no.1/2000 u/s 380, 354 [Assault/Criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage modesty], 376 [Rape] Ranbir Penal Code, 1989 [RPC] was filed at the Panzala Police Station on 4 January 2000. The communication dated 22 May 2012 further stated that the case was closed by declaring the perpetrators as untraced. A noting on the FIR reveals that the case was closed as untraced on 19 August 2011.
The Ministry of Defence, in its affidavit before the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in 2009 on sanctions for prosecution under Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 [AFSPA], stated in relation to this case that it was received in January 2009 and under consideration. But, the Ministry of Defence, in response to an RTI on sanctions for prosecution under AFSPA, stated on 10 January 2012 in relation to this case that sanction had been declined on 23 September 2010.
Further, that: ―the allegation is baseless and framed with malafide intention to put the army on defensive. The Ministry of Defence does not clarify which parts of the allegations are baseless. It is unclear whether the factum of the rape of the victim is also challenged by the Ministry of Defence. The assertion by the Ministry of Defence that the allegations were framed with mala fide intention is a sweeping comment on the investigations with no proof and suggests that the army is at loggerheads with the Jammu and Kashmir Police which results in delay or denial of justice.
The Ministry of Defence official documents on sanctions also show the lack of seriousness as the 10 January 2012 document places the incident on 5 March 2000 and refers to this as a case of torture leading to death.
Further, it is noteworthy that it took the Jammu and Kashmir Police and Government of Jammu and Kashmir nine years to investigate and process the case for acquiring sanction for prosecution under AFSPA, which apparently helped the perpetrators in evading justice. Surprisingly, the decline of sanction led to the police disregarding its own investigations and hence closing the case by declaring the perpetrators as untraced.