Kunan Poshpora; State must accept constitutional responsibility: HC

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

In a petition filed before the High Court by the survivors of the Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture case of 23/24 February 1991, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday, in a strongly worded order, recognized the State’s constitutional and statutory responsibility for the crimes committed in Kunan Poshpora.

The petition sought court-monitored investigations by a SIT, and that the SHRC recommendations on compensation be processed by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. Following the June 18, 2013 order by Judicial Magistrate, Kupwara for further investigations, the police have sought four extensions and have carried out virtually no investigations.

The High Court observed that the SHRC recommendations were supported by evidence and ordered the Government to explore the possibilities of payment of compensation within three weeks. Further, taking notice of the repeated extensions sought and submissions that no effective investigations have taken place, a status report was sought on the investigations carried out thus far within three weeks.

 “The High Court order is an important judicial determination that the SHRC recommendations on the rapes are fully supported by evidence on record, further, compensation is beyond mere relief to the survivors,” said a joint statement of Coalition of Civil Society (CCS)  and Kunan Poshpora Village Committee.

“Compensation paid by the Government is an acceptance that the crimes actually took place and should be followed by prosecutions of the accused army personnel and all those responsible for the cover ups over 23 years,” the statement said.

The statement added that after 23 years, and countless judicial and extra-judicial attempts to cover up the Kunan Poshpora case, today’s High Court order is an important moment in the process of remembering, resisting, and ensuring that the crimes and the lies of the State are contested.

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