23, Feb 2018 | CJP Team
February 23, 2018 marks the 27th anniversary of Kunan Poshpora mass gang rape case. Two contiguous villages from North Kashmir, Kunan and Poshpora, on that cold and dark night of February 23, 1991 allegedly experienced a massive sexual assault by a group of soldiers and officers of the 4th Rajputana Rifles regiment of Indian army. As many as 32 women had openly alleged rape in the immediate aftermath of the incident. Though, the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission had validated the claims of sexual assault against these women, the perpetrators remain yet to be prosecuted.
After many instances of distortions, cover-ups and humiliation of survivors, in 2016, five women namely Essar Batool, Ifrah Butt, Samreena Mushtaq, Munaza Rashid and Natasha Rather came up with the book, “Do you remember Kunan Poshpora”. The book is a tale of the many legal battles the women waged in order to get justice, as also an evidence of the resilience of Kashmiri women. It documents the experience of filing the PIL that as many as 50 women filed in 2013 in before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking to reopen the case. Though the High Court rejected the petition after three hearings, the legal battle was restarted with a fresh series of petitions.
In this conversation with CJP, Ifrah Butt, a young activist, a petitioner of the PIL in Kunan Poshpora case and also the co-author of the book, takes us through the deep dungeons of memory and urges us to remember and support the survivors in their struggle for justice and dignity.