Saturday, December 6, 2008


Kokernag Village Shocked; Govt Orders Usual Probe
Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dt. Nov. 5th, 2008 by Khalid Gul
Dandipora (Kokernag), Dec 4: Alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl and molestation of a woman by army troopers in this south Kashmir village triggered massive protests on Thursday. Locals said that a group of troopers from 36 Rashtriya Rifles barged into the house of Muhammad Abdul Khatana, Imam of the local Masjid, last night and gang-raped her daughter. While narrating the nightmarish experience, Khatana told Greater Kashmir: “I, my wife and three minor kids were sleeping in the kitchen while my son (7), my brother in law, (also my cousin who is putting up with us) and my daughter, Fahmeeda (name changed), the victim, were sleeping in another room.” He said that around 10:15 pm last night, some people knocked at the door. “As I peeped through the window, I saw six troopers. Out of fear I didn’t open the door. They broke the bolt and barged into the house. First they told me that they have to search the house but when I tried to switch on the light, they reprimanded me. Then I sought their permission to light a candle, but they caught hold of me and nearly lynched me,” he said. Khatana said that they (troopers) locked him in one of the rooms and his wife and kids in the other room. “They also thrashed my brother-in-law, and locked him in the bathroom,” he said, adding, “After locking all of us they took my daughter Fahmeeda into the other room. Four of the troopers gang-raped her for an hour, while the two others remained outside to guard them.” Khatana with his eyes moist said that he kept on hearing the screams of her minor daughter helplessly for nearly an hour. “We raised an alarm and few of the villagers heard our screams,” he added.
Locals said that some of the villagers ran towards Khatana’s house after hearing screams. “As the troopers saw people approaching they fled away from the spot,” they said, adding, “As we entered Khatana’s house we found the inmates locked in different rooms. Fahmeeda was lying naked in the room, unconscious with bruises all over her body.” Locals said that they saw an army vehicle parked a few meters away from the victim’s house. “We approached them and told them that their men have raped a minor, but they denied. The troopers initially told us that they might have been militants, but when we told them that they were wearing the same uniform and carrying the same guns they had, they told us that then it might have been CRPF men,” the locals said. Haji Mumtaz Ali, an elderly resident said that after the incident troopers approached them and intimidated the villagers to give a statement that troopers from 36-RR were not involved in the act. “We offered resistance and refused to follow their diktats,” Ali said. After the incident, some of the villagers called the Police Station, Kokernag, and informed them about the incident. “Police reached on the spot and took the victim along,” locals said.
Ruqaya Begum, the mother of the victim was in a shock and was crying continuously. She didn’t utter a word but pain and agony were palpable on her face. Locals said that before entering into the house of Khatana, the troopers around 9:00 pm attempted to rape one Rafeeqa (name changed), wife of Muhammad Yaqoob, but the lady offered stiff resistance and they fled away.OFFICIALS SPEAK When contacted, the Station House Officer, Kokernag, Nisar Ahmad said, “The medical report does not confirm that the girl has been raped, however FIR bearing number 137/08 under section 354 and 456 RPC, 27 Arms Act has been lodged and investigations are on.” He, however, confirmed that troopers of 36 RR as well as paramilitary CRPF troopers were deployed in the area last night. “We are ascertaining who was involved in the act,” the SHO added. The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Islamabad, Nitish Kumar said that there is no mention of rape in the written complaint lodged by the family members of the victim. “In the written complaint they have mentioned that uniformed gunmen barged into their house and tried to molest her. Police is investigating,” Kumar added. The additional deputy commissioner, Islamabad, Bashir Ahmed Khan said that administration has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. “We have asked the tehsildar to investigate the matter and submit his report within three days,” he said. Khan, however, denied having received any medical report. “We are waiting for a written medical report from the doctors. Victim is admitted in the hospital and she is under observation,” he said, adding, “Till now it has not been established whether it’s a rape or an attempted rape. In both the cases it is a gruesome act. The accused won’t be spared.” Khan said that police have arrested a Sumo driver in this connection. “The Sumo in which the uniformed gunmen came has been seized and investigations are on,” he said. Army’s Srinagar based spokesman, Lt Colonel Katchari said, “We are investigating the matter. It seems CRPF was also deployed in the area.”
PROTESTS As the word about the incident spread in the area this morning, hundreds of people raising anti-troops slogans took to the streets demanding stern action against the erring troopers. Policemen and paramilitary CRPF troopers who were deployed there beat up the protesters with batons and fired numerous tear smoke canisters to disperse them. In the police and CRPF action at least six persons including a minor were injured. Former minister and senior Congress leader, Peerzada Muhammad Sayed, had to face the wrath of people when he reached there. Witnesses said as soon as the motorcade of Sayeed entered the village, angry protesters pelted stones on it and chased him away.SEHAR DEMANDS JUDICIAL PROBE The Peoples Democratic Party candidate for Kokernag, Sehar Iqbal demanded a judicial probe into the incident. In a statement here she said, “It is a inhuman act and we condemn it. This gruesome incident should be probed by a sitting Judge as people have lost faith in the state agencies.”


  1. Mainstream parties condemn Dandipora incident, demand action

    Daily Rising Kashmir
    Islamabad, Dec 05: Mainstream parties of Kashmir Friday expressed shock and anguish over the alleged rape of a teenaged girl at the hands of the troopers in Dandipora, Kokernag, south of Kashmir.
    The largest pro Indian party National Conference (NC) demanded stern action against the culprits and a transparent inquiry into the allegations of rape of minor by troopers. NC president Omar Abdullah on Friday said
    The junior Abdullah urged UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minster Manmohan Singh to deal human rights violations in the State with iron hands.
    "We hope as Sonia Gandhi strongly condemns terrorism, she would also raise voice against human rights violations in the State", he said adding, the allegations levelled in Kokernag, case must be probed transparently and culprits should punished severely. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mahbooba Mufti also demanded stern action against the individuals involved in the disgraceful act. She said such shameful acts are intolerable and warrants immediate disciplinary action against the troopers responsible for dishonouring the chastity of the innocent girl. She said this is the second shocking act perpetrated by the forces in succession, first being of the recent custodial killing of Ghulam Hassan Malla of Maniyal, Shopian.
    CPI (M) has also condemned the incident and demanded impartial probe in this regard. State Secretary CPI (M) M Y Tarigami demanded stern action against the troops of 36 RR responsible for raping a 13-year old girl in Dandipora. He said, “Such barbaric acts cannot be tolerated in a civilized democratic set up.”

  2. Rape and Politics

    Every single offence committed by Indian forces need not be confusedly mixed with Rights Movement

    Courtesy: Daily Rising Kashmir dt Dec. 7th, 2008 by Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

    It is early morning, Saturday, 6 December 2008. I am back in London. The start of the day should not have happened in the distasteful manner to read the news that a minor of just 13 years has been allegedly raped by troopers in Dandipora, Kokernag, south Kashmir. What shocked me the most is to find that the civil society in Kashmir seems to have been ‘genetically programmed’ to leave every responsibility to ‘pro resistance parties of Valley.

    “Various pro resistance parties of Valley have condemned the alleged rape and have demanded high level probe. High Court Bar Association (HCBA), JKLF UK Zone, Peoples League and Mahaz-e-Azadi have “condemned the rape incident and have appealed the United Nations to investigate the HR violations in Kashmir.” One finds that our civil society has taken leave of its common conscience to take cognizance of such a criminal offence as a collective and guide the various political and other opinions to address rape as a serious condemnable offence and restrain from playing ‘rape politics’.
    The fact that rape of this innocent child has been mixed up with the ‘vexed problem’ of Kashmir is equally condemnable. Demanding an investigation by the United Nations is playing ‘rape politics’ and it is not in the interest of the victim and common sense. International community takes its time to respond. There are instant and effective remedies available for the victim and these remedies equally embed a space for the political parties to conjoin the demand for the investigation into the criminal offence with a need to satisfy their ‘political reflex’.
    Rape is an offence and the delay in granting self-determination to the people of Kashmir is not. Time and tide would not endanger the right of self determination. A delay in handling the rape of the minor child would of course prejudice the evidence in the crime. Therefore, we have to argue the interests of the victim in a way that befit the crime and have a merit to enhance the constituency of repugnance for the perpetrator.
    To our human knowledge, no zoologist has ever observed that animals rape in their natural habitat, the wild. Jane Goodall, studying her wild chimpanzees at the Combe Stream reserve, noted that the chimps, male and female, were “very promiscuous”. In one of her recorded observations of one female in oestrous cycle, displayed an aversion to one particular male who pushed her. “Though he once shook her out of the tree in which she had sought refuge, she never saw him actually rape her”. In monkey society there is no such thing as rape, prostitution or even passive consent.
    In humans on a national and conscious level rape is spurned and derided. Rape is outlawed as a criminal act under the international rules of war. Rape is punishable by death or imprisonment under Article 20 of the American Uniform Code of Military Justice. George Washington’s papers for July 22, 1780 record that one Thomas Brown of the Seventh Pennsylvania Regiment was sentenced to death for rape at Paramus.
    There is a structural capacity of a soldier to rape and woman’s corresponding structural vulnerability. We have to create circumstances so that until there is a just resolution of the right of self-determination, the male soldier does not enter the houses of the common and poor and at the same time stands in caution to guard the ‘life’, ‘honour’ and ‘property’ of ‘pro freedom’ leaders.
    Indian soldier is governed by constitutional obligations, a military discipline, by the terms of bilateral agreement with the Government of Kashmir and above all by the overriding obligations under UN resolutions. Under the terms of the disputed bilateral agreement of 27 October 1947 he has a supplemental and subordinate role in Kashmir. He is contractually obligated to protect ‘life’, ‘honour’ and ‘property’ of all the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.
    If he fails to discharge any one of these three obligations, one could very conveniently argue that the terms of the agreement have not been honoured. And to cause a further injury to the ‘honour’ of a minor child aggravates the sense of dispute that might be seen by any judicial forum as an infirmity in the contract to survive. The sexual coup de grace, to cause an irreparable defilement of women, kills the soul of the family unit. Therefore the Government of Jammu and Kashmir may well have sufficient cause to seek a unilateral withdrawal from the contract with the Government of India.
    India is a member nation of the UN. She has accepted a specified role for its soldiers in Kashmir. India has to “Make known the withdrawal of her forces to the minimum, that the presence of troops should not afford any intimidation or appearance of intimidation to the inhabitants of the State, that as small a number as possible should be retained in forward area.”
    Under the terms of UN resolutions on Kashmir, the Indian forces of this minimum strength are to exercise the “powers of direction and supervision” over the State forces and police and these powers are later to be delegated by the State to the UN Plebiscite Administrator for Kashmir for holding a fair and impartial Plebiscite. It is important to point out that the resolution provides for such direction and supervision – a use of joint forces of either Dominions (India and Pakistan).
    The argument that Pakistan failed to comply with her part specified in the resolutions and the Indian Government does not need to honour its specified role in the resolutions is invalid. These resolutions are in reference to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. India may well put off any part of its obligations in reference to her future relations with Pakistan but she can’t use this excuse to prejudice the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which are embedded in the jurisprudence of UN resolutions. Even if there were no UN resolutions, the Government of India has accepted a specified role for its soldiers before agreeing to send them to Kashmir.
    The contractual obligations of the Government of India with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir could be successfully and legitimately argued in the superior courts of J & K and India. ‘Pro freedom’ parties or opinions (if at all they understand the term freedom) shall have to separate the issues of criminal cognizance from the jurisprudence of rights movement. They shall have to understand the constitutional, contractual and international obligations of India towards the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
    Pakistan embeds its interest in Kashmir on an entirely different jurisprudence. Government of Kashmir has entered into a Stand Still Agreement with the Government of Pakistan. Pakistan however, has sought a foothold in Azad Kashmir under UNCIP resolutions and in Gilgit and Baltistan under the Karachi Agreement of 28 April 1949. The jurisprudence of the two sovereign interests is not alike and the forums to seek a redress for any grievance also remain different.
    Governments in Pakistan over the years have played hot and cold with the question of self-determination. These Governments have roller skated their national and tenure interests by hiding behind the rights movement of the people of Kashmir. No Government has displayed the courage or vision as Britain and France did under the Laws of Humanity in Morocco in 1909 or in the manner America relied upon the principle of “sic utere tuo ut alteram non laedas” when it expressed concern at the repression of Jews in Russia. America drew the attention of Czar to the injury it was suffering as a result of the arrival on its territory of the large number of Jewish refugees who were attempting to escape persecution.
    As long as the pro freedom opinions in Kashmir and the department of politics created by India and Pakistan, continue to drink from a cocktail, we shall see minor girls being raped by a soldier who ironically remains well disciplined outside the house of a ‘pro freedom’ leader and protects his ‘life’, ‘honour’ and ‘property’.
    Author is Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He can be contacted at dr-nazirgilani@jkchr.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it