Having completed its 30 years, 23rd February is commemorated as the Kashmiri women’s resistance day. On the bitter cold night of 23rd February 1991, armed personnel of the 4th Rajputana Rifles barged into hutments, threatening to kill everyone who resisted. Men were taken away from all the houses as the women pleaded and begged for mercy. That was just the beginning of the horror. The night had more of the unthinkable to unfold. The personnel returned to the houses to wage a war on the bodies of the women. Yes you read it right. It wasn’t a rape. It was a WAR!
Minor girls, patients, deaf and dumb, senior citizens, and even the pregnant women were not spared. Mothers were raped in front of their daughters. Grandmothers and their granddaughters were raped in the same room. They had bite marks everywhere on their bodies. Many women had to undergo hysterectomies due to those injuries and infections. Men faced atrocities of all sorts through the long night as well. They were assaulted in unimaginable ways. They were allowed to return to their villages the next morning, around mid-day, to find the women of their families lying naked, unconscious and bleeding.
“They let us go home after the crackdown, in
the morning at about 9:00 a.m., that’s when we
realised what had happened. What they had done in every house. Then all hell broke lose.” – A survivor stated, according to TRT WORLD.
After all the havoc and damage, to add to the misery and traumas were the reports published to clean the image of the troops. Incomplete information, botched investigations were let loose in the public domain. Quoting Press Council of India, “A massive hoax orchestrated by militant groups and their sympathisers and mentors in Kashmir and abroad for re-inscribing Kashmir on the international agenda as a human rights issue.” Sounds familiar? Later on the charges of rape were deemed as ‘baseless’ due to ‘lack of physical evidence’.
Their physical wounds may have healed but the scars are still visible for those who care to see. 3 decades on, the fight for justice
still continues. If the statement, “justice delayed is justice denied” credible in any whichever way then the idea of justice is nothing but a far-off, forgotten idea for the people of Kunan Poshpora. But then, is that not the case for all of Kashmir?