Kupwara gangrape: SHRC asks J&K to reinvestigate

Srinagar: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) today asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to start a fresh probe into the case relating to the alleged mass gangrape of women by army personnel in Kunan and Poshpora villages of Kupwara district twenty years ago.

Announcing its recommendations on the case, a division bench of SHRC asked the state government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to reinvestigate the alleged mass gangrape of at least 31 women by army personnel in 1991.

Dozens of women from Kunan and Poshpora villages, around 110 km from here, had claimed that they were gangraped by army troopers during the intervening night of February 23 and 24 in 1991, leading to outrage across Kashmir.

"The SIT should be headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police," the bench comprising SHRC Chairman Justice (retd) Syed Bashiruddin Ahmad and Javaid Kawoos said.

It also asked the state government to prosecute the the then Director Prosecution who had sought closure of the case as the perpetrators were "untraceable".

"The then Director Prosecution had overstepped his brief...prosecution proceedings should be initiated against him and those officers who had approved his report," the SHRC bench recommended.

Reading out from the report of the then district magistrate, Kawoos said 31 women, who claimed to have been victims of gangrape, had been sent for medical examination, which confirmed that they were subjected to atrocities.

"In the course of hearing the case, statements of 18 women were recorded and during which they testified that they were subjected to the atrocity," he said.

The Commission asked the state government to pay compensation of Rs two lakh each to the victims of the incident.