The sessions court of Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Friday dismissed the first legal challenge of the Indian army in the Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture on 23/24 February 1991.
The court dismissed the revision petition of the Indian army that sought an end to further investigations ordered in the case on 18 June 2013 by Sub-judge, Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara. This was the first legal challenge submitted by the Indian army since the crimes were committed in 1991.
While dismissing the Indian army petition as having no merit, the court held that “crime never dies” and that a delay in investigations does not debar the investigating agency from unraveling the truth. The Court held that the army petition had been filed only on the basis of assumptions and apprehensions and that prospective accused had no right to be heard and should only cooperate with investigations.
The Court censured the Jammu and Kashmir Police for their “non-seriousness” and their “casual and irresponsible manner” which the survivors’ legal team says has been apparent from their years of delay in investigating the case and filing a final report before a court.
The Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), a human rights body helping the survivors in the legal battle, in a statement said that the court held as “significant” that the police had sought to close the case as “untraced” thereby confirming that a crime had taken place and that it was only a question of identifying the perpetrators.
The survivors continue their struggle before the High Court where the petition seeks court-monitored investigations by a Special Investigation Team, compensation and has also arrayed as parties B.G. Verghese and Wajahat Habibullah, who had produced the respective reports for the Press Council of India and as Divisional Commissioner. The survivors says their reports assisted the army in the cover up.