In a first acknowledgement of the mass rape at Konan Poshpora, the J&K government on Tuesday informed the High Court that it is not averse to compensating the victims. The government, however, sought time to make a decision.
J&K Additional Advocate General Riyaz Khan informed the court that “in principle, the government is not averse to compensate” the victims of the alleged mass rape. The decision to compensate the victims was taken during a high-level meeting that was attended by Director General of Police K Rajendra, Principal Secretary Home Suresh Kumar and Inspector General (IG) CID Balaji Srinivasan.
“We have in principle agreed to compensate the victims as per the SHRC recommendations,” Khan told The Indian Express. “The decision was taken at a high-level meeting”. The Additional Advocate General, however, informed the court that the government will only compensate 23 victims whose names figured in the FIR.
After the court junked the Army’s revision plea in the Konan Poshpora case, the government’s decision to compensate the victims is the second significant development in the 23-year-old case.
Human rights activists in the Valley see the government’s decision as an “acknowledgement of the crime”. “In a mild and subtle way, it is an acknowledgement of the existence of crime,” said Khurram Parvez, coordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil society, a human rights group that is pursuing the case on behalf of the victims. “But by making this announcement, the government wants to entrap the victims into the compensation business,” he added.
Last week, a local court in Kupwara dismissed the revision petition filed by the Army seeking an end to further investigation ordered by the court in the case. The court observed that “crime never dies” and said the Army’s revision petition has no merits.