After 22 years,a J&K court has ordered the police to reopen the case in which 36 women were allegedly raped by personnel of 4 Rajputana Rifles in Kunan-Poshpora,Kupwara. The court of judicial magistrate,Kupawara,Wednesday dismissed the closure report of the police and asked it to reinvestigate it by an officer not below the rank of SSP within three months.
The order was given on a protest petition filed by human rights lawyer Parvez Imroz who represents the victims. In 2011,the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) had slammed successive governments and district administrations for being callous towards the victims of Kunan-Poshpora and recommended re-opening the case.
Following this,a group of women from Kashmir had filed a PIL in J&K High Court seeking reopening and reinvestigation of the case. However,the court rejected the PIL. The J&K Police filed a closure report,which was challenged by Imroz.
Imroz argued that the probe was incomplete and mala fide as the police have information on file about the role of 125 personnel of the 4 Rajputana Rifles. He told the court that the police had neither questioned nor conducted an identification parade and called for a special investigation team.
Magistrate Geelani observed that till date the investigating agency has not unveiled the identity of culprits despite having a clear cut nominal role of 125 suspects.
On the night of February 23,1991,soldiers of 4 Raj Rifles,Armys 68 brigade,cordoned-off Kunan-Poshpora and forced the men out of their homes. They confined them in two houses and allegedly gangraped 36 women in the age-group of 8 to 70.
Following massive outrage,the then Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara registered a case in Trehgam police station. But in eight months,the police closed the probe as untraced.
The then Director Prosecution had said,The statements of the witnesses were not only found to stereotypes but also suffer from serious discrepancies and contradictions.