Twenty-four years after the event, the alleged Konan Poshpora mass rape case against the Indian army in Kashmir has taken a new turn. This highly propagandised human rights “violation” reverberated not merely in J&K and India, but in the US Congress, UK House of Commons, EU Parliament in Brussels, UN Human Rights Commission, Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, etc.
The J&K official under whose watch it purportedly happened — the deputy commissioner (DC), Kupwara, a major gateway for the cross-border militancy that erupted in 1990 — S. M. Yasin, has now added a new dimension of villainy to the story. He stated in February that he was personally offered monetary and promotional inducements by the military and civil authorities to hush up the “beastly violence” he found when he visited Konan Poshpora. Further, the leader of the Press Council of India team investigating alleged human rights violations by the army — which was me — did likewise, pleading “national interest” and “threatening him” otherwise.
This arrant nonsense is a belated concoction for reasons unknown.
The man fell short of his official responsibilities in February 1991, possibly for fear of militant reprisals that had become routine, but has now begun to roar like a lion!
The alleged rape of 23 women (the DC’s figure) by men of 4 Rajputana Rifles headquartered at Trehgam, while conducting a cordon and search operation, took place on the night of February 23-24, 1991. The DC visited Konan, some 10 kilometres from his headquarters, around March 5-6 and submitted his report to the divisional commissioner, Kashmir, Wajahat Habibullah, on March 7, on the basis of which an FIR was lodged at the Trehgam Police Station (4 km from Konan) on March 8.
Vikram Rao, the other member of the PCI team to Kashmir, and I visited Konan, Trehgam and Kupwara accompanied by the tehsildar, Trehgam, on June 8-9, by when police investigations were under way. Since the DC had completed his task three months earlier, how could I cajole or threaten him to close the case? And how does a journalist threaten no less than the DC and get away with it, aided by the latter’s stoic silence for 23 years? Prima facie, what Yasin now alleges is a contemptible lie.
Did the man file a report or a case against the “military” or me for attempting to subvert justice through coercive or corrupt means when the issue was so “beastly” and had become a cause celebre? If he did not, was that not wilful dereliction of duty? Now that the Konan Poshpora case has been reopened under popular pressure and
is being heard by a magistrate, has he filed a statement in the court about this new criminal offence? The army, which is being arraigned, must summon
him to give evidence and subject him to continued…