By News Desk | Srinagar, Kashmir
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court today heard a public interest litigation (PIL), filed by fifty Kashmiri women, seeking action on the alleged gang rape in Kunan Poshpora on the intervening night of 23-24 February 1991 by the Indian armed forces.
The litigants of the PIL, in a statement issued here, said that through the PIL they sought the immediate reopening and reinvestigation of a case where “more than forty Kashmiri women were brutally raped.”
The Division Bench of Justice A. M. Magray and Justice Mansoor, in today’s hearing, questioned that how can a PIL be a remedy for a twenty-two-year old case? and can a PIL be a remedy for the implementation of a SHRC decision? The litigants said that their counsel, Advocate Parvez Imroz, has been asked to provide legal references to these questions in further submissions scheduled for next week.
“We sought accountability for a case which the Government has sought to ignore and bury. There have been consistent efforts to ensure impunity for the 4 Rajputana Rifles personnel responsible for the crime. The victims of this crime have for all these years felt hopelessness, particularly as they have been on the receiving end of a callous and repressive Stat,” the statement said.
The litigants said that despite the widely reported information on this case, the numerous arguments on record before the Court, the consistent and criminal role of the State in this case, and that suo moto cognizance of this case should have been taken years ago (as recently done in the LPG matter), it appears these questions have to still be answered.
“We are hopeful that in the hearing next week the Judges of the High Court would take a conscientious and legally sound decision of admitting the PIL and issuing notices against all the respondents,” they said.
The statement also mentions that in October 2011, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), confirmed the crime, passed necessary recommendations including the re-opening and re-investigation of the case, and institution of criminal proceedings against the then Director of Prosecutions for closing the case.
As usual, the litigants said, the State refused to act. “One and a half years have passed and the State has displayed a cruel disregard for a crime whose consequences continue to date. We believe we have a responsibility to ensure that the impunity for this crime ends. Therefore, we approached the High Court,” they added.
Photograph courtesy: wn.com