23, Feb 2018 | CJP Team
On the night of February 23, 1991, units of the Indian Army launched what was purportedly a massive ‘search and interrogation operation’ in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora in Kashmir’s Kupwara district. However, under the guise of flushing out terrorists and anti-social elements, the Indian Army allegedly committed several excesses against the people of these villages, including brutal torture of men and mass rapes of women.
The government conducted its inquiry and predictably, rejected the claims of mass rapes as “baseless”. The police investigation into the matter was only a token act that was designed not to yield any results. The investigation was plagued with multiple avoidable delays and transfers of police officers. In what was touted as a cover up, even an investigation by the Press Council of India (at the behest of the Indian Army) was allegedly conducted in a one sided manner and aimed more at discrediting the women who were brutalised. The story that was spun that the ‘myth’ of Kunan Poshpora was hoax orchestrated by separatist groups, who had backing from across the border, in a bid to taint the Indian Army’s reputation.
However, a resistance movement led largely by women pushed for fair investigations and finally in 2011, a state human rights report conceded that the rapes did indeed take place, as did the torture of several men in the villages. The case was reopened when 50 Kashmiri women filed a PIL in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 2013. The matter is currently in the Indian Supreme Court. Meanwhile, ever since 2014, February 23 is commemorated every year as Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day to recognize the resilience and courage of all women in Jammu and Kashmir against state violence.
Here are a few posters being used this Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day. They depict the rage and resistance of Kashmiri women as well as how they remember everything. All rights rest with the original illustrators, cartoonists, poster makers and photographers.