Srinagar, Jun 18: The Judicial Magistrate Kupwara J. A. Geelani, while dismissing the conclusions made by the police in the recently filed closure report in the case of Kunan Poshpora mass rape of 23-24 February 1991 returned the case file to the police, asking for “further investigation to unravel the identity of those who happen to be perpetrators”. This was disclosed by APDP activist Khuram Pervez in its Facebook Page.
As the demand by us and the survivors was for the re-investigation by Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by an officer of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) rank, the court while mentioning the lack of authority in ordering SIT, asked the further investigation to be conducted by an officer not below the rank of SSP and within a time bound period of 3 months.
On 10 June 2013, a protest petition was filed by Adv. Parvez Imroz on behalf of the survivors of Kunan Poshpora mass rape against the closure report of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, before the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara. On 13 June 2013, the Chief Prosecuting Officer [CPO] filed objections, and today, oral arguments were made before the Magistrate.
The protest petition argued that the police investigations were incomplete and clearly mala fide as despite having the information on file regarding the involvement of 125 personnel of 4th Rajputana Rifles, the police had not questioned them and neither was an identification parade conducted. The Judicial Magistrate Kupwara while acknowledging the submissions made by us has mentioned in the judgment that, “Until date the investigating agency has not unveiled the identity of the culprits despite having a clear cut nominal role of 125 suspects”
The response of the State, through the CPO Aashiq Hussain was unsurprisingly bad in law, and deeply disrespectful of the victims of Kunan Poshpora. First, they argued that there was no right of filing a protest petition, a position unmindful of the law. Second, the State argued that the protest petition was being filed to allow other victims to get cash compensation, and that the victims appeared to have woken up after 22 years and the protest petition was barred by laches. While rejecting the submissions of the CPO, the Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara upheld the right to file the protest petition and further observed that, “The instant final report ought to have been forwarded to the Magistrate way back on 12th October 1991.”
After 22 years of cover-ups and delay, the State conveniently blocked the High Court PIL and now was shamelessly attempting to block the victims’ remedies before the Judicial Magistrate. Instead of taking the responsibility for delay and denial of justice, the State has chosen to malign the victims and choke any remedies for the survivors of Kunan Poshpora.
Today’s order is an achievement of the struggle of the Kunan Poshpora people along with those who supported their demand for justice. This will surely inspire many more victims of the recent past to wake up and fight for justice in their cases.
We reiterate our commitment that we will continue the struggle till justice is done. Now the Government should comply with the orders of the court and give up their reluctance of punishing the guilty.