Sunday, November 16, 2008
‘Troops use rape as war weapon in Kashmir’
Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt Nov. 17th, 2008 by Rashid Paul
Srinagar, Nov 16: Even though India is a signatory to various international covenants calling for protection of rights of women in conflict zones, rape is being used as a war weapon in Kashmir by Indian armed forces.This was stated by Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, who teaches at the department of Law, Kashmir University and is also a noted columnist, on the second day of a two-day seminar on “women and the law” held at the varsity.While enumerating international resolutions and covenants guaranteeing protection of women in areas of armed conflict, he said, “India is a signatory to these agreements but its armed forces are using rape of Kashmiri women as a war weapon.”He said when pilots of Indian fighter jets were shot down by Pakistani troops during Kargil war, India complained to Pakistan that it was not treating well the pilots whether dead or alive. “But it continues to treat inhumanly the non- combatants like women in Kashmir,” he added. “In villages, cities and towns rape is used to counter rebellion,” he said.Referring to the interview of a former top commander of paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) in a Jammu based newspaper wherein the official had “explicitly admitted” abuse of women as a tactics to fight armed independence insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir,Showkat said if militants sneak in to a house, the house is blasted and male members of the house have to flee to escape torture and women are put in to a precarious situation. He said women are also the major sufferers in disappearance cases at the hands of state forces. Citing the case of Masooda Parveen versus State, he said the Supreme Court of India declined to provide ex gratia to the woman whose husband was killed by forces in custody. “The Supreme Court said that the woman is not entitled to any ex gratia because her husband was connected with insurgency in Kashmir. Any such help would down the morale of the security forces, the Supreme Court had declared,” Showkat said.He wondered how the dependants of a militant or pro-freedom activist can be unfairly treated for the actions of that male member. “If a dog is killed by Srinagar Municipality women activists in India create a furore. But they wink at the plight of women at the hands of Indian security forces in Kashmir,” he lamented.He said the central government even declined the sanction to prosecute its troops who have been found guilty of committing grave human rights abuses in Kashmir. “Furthermore tough laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provide them immunity,” he added.
Posted by BRUISED KASHMIRI at 9:47 PM