25 Years On, Why We Must Not Forget The Alleged Rapes Of Nearly 100 Kashmiri Women

Posted on February 23, 2016 in Society, Video

By Manira Chaudhary, Essar Batool and Natasha Rather for Youth Ki Awaaz:

The words ‘Kunan-Poshpora’ remain etched as an uncomfortable reminder of our country’s inept handling of a disturbed situation in the already disputed history of Kashmir and India.

Exactly on this day, 26 years ago, a battalion of army personnel of the 4th Rajputana Rifles, conducted a sudden search operation in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. According to allegations by the residents of the villages, what followed the search operation is ghastly – the rape of close to a 100 Kashmiri women.

For over two decades now, investigations, allegations, counter allegations and judicial hearings have followed- but to no avail. The incident, which the central government still refuses to acknowledge and which the committee formed by the Press Council of India calls fraud and hoax, has today become a symbol of the struggle Kashmiris have been facing due to the heavy presence of the armed forces.

A ray of hope shone when in 2013 the case was re-opened after 50 Kashmiri women filed a PIL. The case, at present, lies with the Supreme Court of India, waiting amidst thousands of others for justice.

Five young women of these 50, got together two years ago to document the whole history of the incident and its judicial tussle to keep the memory of Kunan-Poshpora alive in people’s mind. This has culminated in a book called ‘Do You Remember Kunan Poshpora?‘ which was launched at the Jaipur Literature Festival, earlier this year.

On Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day, Youth Ki Awaaz managed to speak to two of the five authors of this book that talks in detail about everything that happened that night, their motivation to research and document it and the continuing struggle and resistance of the Kashmiri women.