Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kunanposhpora mass rape victims remember ordeal

Courtesy: Daily Greater Kashmir dated February 23rd, 2010 by Umar Maqbool
Kupwara, Feb 22: Nineteen years after, the victims of mass rape by troopers in Kunanposhpora village of district Kupwara are struggling to come to terms with life.
It was on intervening night of Feb 23 and 24 in 1991, when drunk troopers of 4 Raj Rifles C/O 68 Brigade entered the Kunanposhpora village and raped 42 women and girls.
Residents told Greater Kashmir that on fateful night troopers cordoned off the village and ordered the men to come out of their houses for parade and searches.
“They entered into houses and asked us to come out. We heard the screams of women and tried to save their chastity but we were ruthlessly beaten by troopers. It was only the next morning that they left the village not before they forced villagers to give them NOC,” said a villager Fayaz Ahmed.
The victims wept while narrating the ordeal of the fateful night when troopers tarnished their honour.
“I was in my home that time. Seven to eight troopers broke the door and forced their way in. They tore off my clothes. They continued to rape me one by one throughout the night. I cried but nobody listened. The soldiers gagged my mouth and I fell unconscious,” says Nazima (name changed).
Another victim Sara (name changed) was nine months pregnant when troopers raped her. “I was raped by seven to eight soldiers throughout night. My mother tried to save my honour but she was thrown out of window. They also kicked my stomach which resulted in giving birth to a baby with fractured arm,” she adds.
“The armed forces had turned violent and behaved like beasts. I feel ashamed to put in black and white the kind of atrocities and their magnitude brought to my notice,” the then District Magistrate Kupwara wrote to Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
After the shocking incident, an FIR was lodged in police station Trehgam bearing number R-1/1387/88 under RPC 376-452-342, but till date no charge sheet has been presented.
But 19 years down the line, the victims are living a miserable life, facing social stigma. “Lives of our womenfolk have been ruined. Their husbands left them and many of them have psychiatric disorders,” village elders said.

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