Kashmir Truth Be Told Blog
Yus neereth gassan, pheereth cha yevaano: morda che gassan zinde (Kashmiri saying)

2/25/09

13 days to justice - They have done it before


13


Days to Justice

Thirteen days till the criminals will be brought to justice.

While focusing on war crimes by the Indian army, and the subsequent bogus inquiries called by the state government, let me recall some savage atrocities of the Indian forces against Kashmiris where no action has been taken against them, and the victims still await justice. Although were in excess of 7613 cases of rape registered against the Indian army by 2002 (Source: New York Times), I will focus on a few that have been acsertained by international agencies.

Rapes are used as a weapon of war by the Indian army because that is something that will haunt our memories for ever. Although the cases that drew international attention were perpetrated by the Indian Army in Kunan Poshpoor, Shopian and even in Srinagar; for Kashmiris, these memories are like a thousand wounds combined together and bandaged with stinging nettle, because there are thousands of other similar incidents and yet the world community witnessed them as mute spectators.

This is what Amnesty International has recorded, "... There is strong evidence that members of the Indian security forces have used rape as a tactic in an increasingly violent suppression of the campaign for Kashmiri independence. Around midnight on 10 October 1992, an Indian army unit raided the village of Chak Saidapora, near Shopian. They carried out a house-to-house search, in the course of which at least six women were raped. Among them were a woman of 60 and an 11-year-old girl called Ziatoon.That incident was just one in a continuing pattern. Over a year later, on 22 November 1993, Indian soldiers entered the village of Warapora. Sara, a young woman, was out collecting firewood. Eye-witnesses saw five soldiers approaching her. They found her dead body later that day. Her clothes had been torn off and the post-mortem revealed '... marks of violence on neck, breasts, left knee ... and extensive vaginal tear'. The Indian Government has denied many allegations of rape by its forces, claiming that they are 'trumped up ... to malign the reputation of the security forces'." (Click here for source)

How can anyone not have heard of the Kunan Poshpora war crimes committed by the Indian Army. Canadian government officials investigating human rights violations in Kashmir reported that, "..... the authorities' response to the rape of 23 women in Kunan Poshpora in Kashmir during a search operation by security forces indicated that the authorities 'have been more interested in shielding the army from charges of abuse' than in investigating (HRW 1992, 412). Asia Watch and Physicians for Human Rights state that generally the military courts are incapable of dealing with serious human rights abuses perpetrated by security forces and are used to cover up evidence and protect the officers involved ( Asia Watch and PHR 9 May 1993, 6). They add that although there is no evidence that rape is sanctioned as a matter of government policy in Kashmir, by failing to prosecute and punish those responsible, or make known any action taken against security forces charged with rape, the Indian authorities have signalled that the practice of rape is tolerated, if not condoned ( ibid., 4)..." (Source: Canadian report)

What is more horrifying is the fact that journalists representing the Press Council of India had visited Kunan Poshpur on the invitation of the Indian Army to "investigate" the incident there and after interviewing the victims, those unconscionable reporters concluded that the village females are lying and that the rape charges are baseless. Although their prejudiced opinion doesn't surprise me one bit considering the utterly biased and anti-Kashmir sentiments of the majority of India's reporters, what is disgusting is the fact that the police themselves have never investigated this incident! (Source: New York Times)

Another news item in the New York Times reported that, "A survey by Doctors Without Borders in 2005 found that Muslim women in Kashmir, prey to the Indian troops and paramilitaries, suffered some of the most pervasive sexual violence in the world..". (Source)

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