A petition filed by the Support Group for Kunan and Poshpora came up for hearing in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir today when the survivors of the haunted hamlets observed the 24th anniversary of the beastly act by the men in uniform. Today was also the second commemoration of Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day.
The plea seeking court-monitored investigations in a case where virtually no investigations have been carried out was heard by a division bench as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). Earlier, the army had filed separate petitions before other judges of the High Court, and, by suppressing the fact that the case was already before a division bench, managed to get an ex-parte interim stay on investigations and the State Human Rights Commission decision of 2011. The counsel for the Union of India was accused of hampering the administration of justice by resorting to tricks. The petitioners have now decided to approach the Chief Justice and seek that all petitions filed by the army be clubbed and heard together. The counsel for the state government was directed to file the compliance report on the issue of compensation which was earlier directed by the court in numerous orders in 2014. While the case has not resulted in any justice for the survivors, the campaign has exposed the State, and all its institutions. The government of India and the state government have been un-nerved by the fight of the survivors and the support group. The award of compensation to the survivors by the High Court has nullified the malicious propaganda of various agencies, including the Indian civil society. The former chairman of the Press Council of India, BG Verghese, had not only given a clean chit to the rapists but also, during a seminar in New Delhi, maligned the Kashmiri women for speaking about the crime and called them shameless. The government had initially agreed to pay compensation to the survivors, though this had not been sought in the petition. The Support Group for the survivors believes that a rape cannot be compensated by any means. The government changed its mind overnight and managed a stay on the order. The survivors are getting support of the wider civil society in Kashmir. A day will come when the entire Kashmiri nation will stand behind them.