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PIL on Kunan Poshpora not entertained
Take decision on SHRC recommendations within 4 weeks: HC to Govt
SRINAGAR, The High Court today said it is not inclined to entertain the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking reinvestigation of in an infamous Kunan-Poshpora ‘mass rape’ incident in which at least 32 women were allegedly raped by troops of Army’s Rajputana Rifles in 1991.

“On account of the pendency of statutory process for implementation of recommendations made by State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in its report and also pendency of proceedings before magistrate we are not inclined to entertain the petition at this stage,” reads the order passed by a division bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice A M Magrey.

The Court has, however, observed that it hopes and trust that the recommendations of SHRC are seriously debated and decision is taken expeditiously within four weeks by the high level committee that is seized of the matter. “We close this PIL laving it open to the petitioners to approach this court as and when the decision is taken, if so advised. We wish to clarify that in the present order we have not decided about the locus of the petitioners nor the objections concerning the maintainability of this PIL,” reads the order passed by the High Court.

Before reserving its order on May 8, the High Court had asked the state government to produce action taken report following the recommendations put forth by the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in the matter.

Pertinently the PIL filed by a group of students, teachers and professionals had sought legal proceedings against Press Council of India and its members besides chairperson National Commission on Minorities, Wajahat Habibullah, president Indian Federation of Working Journalism, K Vikram Rao, and Visiting Professor Centre for Police

Research New Delhi, BB Verghese, allegedly for “covering up the gruesome gang rape”.

According to this PIL troops of 4 Rajputana Rifles “committed mass rape 32 women of all ages and conditions, pregnant, deaf-dumb, mentally-ill, elderly (up to 70 years) between 11 pm and 4 am on the night of February 23/24 in 1991 in the (twin villages) of Kupwara during a cordon-and-search operation.”

The PIL added, “Committed the gruesome rape in presence of children and families as younger men had been herded outside. Women of the village raped by Army men were discovered cowering, bleeding and unconscious by their men in the late morning when they were allowed to return to their homes.”

District Magistrate Kupwara was said to have revealed the ‘grotesque’ happening to his superiors. “He was advised to visit Kunan-Poshpora which he did a day or later and gave a detailed account of what had transpired in the village and handed over three whisky bottles as evidence of consumption of liquor by (soldiers) of 4 Rajputana Rifles

and examined 23 victims who said they were raped while other victims had fled the village.”

“He visited the affected houses and saw blood-stained garments of the victims,” the PIL read.

“Later the Magistrate filed a confidential report to then Divisional Commissioner with copies to seven others and FIR No 10/1991 was registered a month later in Trehgam Police Station on 18 March 1991,” read the PIL.

The PIL added that the Divisional Commissioner conducted an enquiry without coming to any conclusion but suggested that the criminal enquiry be conducted by senior gazetted officer into the incident.

“In fact no investigation was conducted and the matter was hushed up by the government even as medical examination of 32 alleged victims by police had confirmed that the women had abrasions on their chest and abdomens and observed that as per history were allegedly raped by Army personnel,” the PIL read.

Last year on October 16, the State Human Rights Commission had recommended the state government to reinvestigate the matter and also recommended the state to prosecute the then Director Prosecution who had sought closure of the case as the perpetrators were ‘untraceable’.

“Therefore this PIL is being filed for reinvestigation into the FIR N0. 10/1991 as recommended by the SHRC,” it added.
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News Updated at : Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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