Salman Khursheed


Salman Khursheed

Foreign-Minister-Salman-KhurshidHe still remembers how he lost his pet rabbit to Army cantonment in Srinagar. Then the former Convent student said something, which India never admitted for the last 22 years. “I am ashamed of Kunan Poshpora,” Salman Khursheed, India’s External Affairs Minister said during an interaction with media in Srinagar.

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His assertions were quickly read that India finally feels “ashamed” of what has happened in Kunan Poshpora in 1991, when the entire womenfolk in these twin villages were gang-raped by men in uniform during an overnight cordon and search operation.

“I am ashamed it happened in my country,” he said. “Making people accountable for what happened is necessary.”

Khursheed was responding to a reporter who was seeking his response to Kunan Poshpora gang-rape by soldiers in 1991?

“I am honestly appalled that this has happened to my family. I may even say that I am shocked that I am not able to do anything about it,” the minister said to a spell bound audience in a function that PCC Chief Prof Saif ud Din Soz conducted.

An Indian National Congress leader, a trained lawyer, and a writer, Khursheed started his political career in 1981 as an officer on special duty in the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) under the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi. He became the union deputy minister of Commerce in June 1991, and later became the union minister of state for external affairs.

While terming the alleged gang-rape as a moral and emotional dilemma, he said many people who don’t deserve to suffer, suffered in a war. “And at the end of the war you still shake hands, you sign a peace document and you begin to talk to very people who have been killed or marauded you.”

The minister said that it is plain human nature to learn to move forward for which conditions need to be laid. “It is not simply that you hit me in the face and say forget it, it does not matter and tell me to move forward,” he argued.

“At the end of the day, is there a choice between choosing that we forget, if we can, correct as we must and make people accountable as is necessary and then learn to move on?

During the press interaction, a reporter told him, “You lost your rabbit to the Army cantonment, but Kashmir lost 8,000 youth.”

-Bilal Handoo


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