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Remembering rape victims of Kunan-Poshpora!

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AI terms it ‘chilling example of impunity’

Srinagar, Feb 23: Terming Kunan Poshpora incident “a chilling example of the impunity that surrounds human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir”, rights group Amnesty International India has sought impartial investigation into the alleged rape incident on its 27th anniversary.

“For 27 years, the lack of accountability for the crimes committed in Kunan and Poshpora has been a festering injustice, and a chilling example of the impunity that surrounds human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir,” Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India said in a statement issued today.

“Attempts at seeking justice and compensation for the survivors have been blocked by the Jammu and Kashmir state government, the central government and the Indian Army. Five of the victims have died waiting for justice,” the statement said.

Basu said authorities must ensure impartial investigation into the allegations and legal proceedings in a civilian court. “Authorities must ensure a thorough, impartial and effective investigation into the allegations. All suspects, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in a civilian court.”

The statement said that the previous investigations into the allegations have been ineffective. The J&K police declared that the case was “untraceable” and stopped investigations in October 1991. To date, nobody has been charged or prosecuted in connection to the case, the statement said.

Pertinently, in October 2011, Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had directed State government to compensate victims, and also re-investigate the allegations.

After two years in 2013, Kupwara district court had directed Jammu and Kashmir Police to investigate allegations into the investigation within three months.

“Five survivors of Kunan Poshpora had filed a petition in Jammu and Kashmir High Court in October 2013, whereas state agencies have been able to secure the temporary orders suspending investigations and the provision of compensation,” the Amnesty statement said.

 

Women activists move SHRC

‘Probe sexual violence in line with national, int’l laws’

Srinagar, Feb 23: A group of women activists today filed an application in the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), seeking recommendations to the State government for investigation of sexual violence cases in line with national and international laws.

The application moved by Natasha Rather, on behalf of Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora survivors, urged the commission to suggest guidelines for compensation to the survivors of sexual violence.

It said the SHRC should "recommend guidelines and operational procedures on the investigation of cases of sexual violence, in line with Indian and international laws".

The application asked for directions to the State government for providing details on action taken reports on the recommendations of the SHRC in such cases.

"The Jammu and Kashmir government provide details on all enquiries -- magisterial and under the Commission of Inquiry Act -- ordered in sexual violence cases and the results of these enquiries," Rather said in her plea.

She urged that the chairperson of the SHRC to appoint two members of the commission, including a woman member, to hear the testimonies of the victims.

The application was filed before the SHRC on the 27th anniversary of Kunan-Poshpora mass rapes allegedly by Army personnel.

A group of human rights activists tried to visit the alleged survivors in the north Kashmir Kupwara district but were prevented by the police from proceeding to the villages.

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