Remembering The Rape of Kunan Poshpora

Protests against a rape by the Indian Army officials. Courtesy —

The youngest girl was aged 13 and the oldest woman was 85 years old.  On February 23, 1991 these two along with 51 other woman were ganged raped by Indian soldiers in Kunan Poshpora, Indian occupied Kashmir.  Its been over 20 years now but not a single solider has been held responsible.  The young girls who were raped have not been married because of the shame placed on them for what the soldiers did that night.

On April 7, 1991, the New York Times reported the Kunan-Poshpora rape incident under the headline, “India Moves Against Kashmir Rebels” (evidence of the continuous marginalization of both Kashmirs numerous human rights violations by taking the MAIN issue and burying it in the articles text).

According to the report, on March 5, 1991, villagers complained about the incident to the then-Kupwara District Magistrate, S.M Yasin, who visited the village two days later to investigate. “According to a report filed by Yasin,” the article reads, “the armed forces behaved like violent beasts.” He identified them as members of 4th Rajputana Rifles and said they rampaged through the village from 11:00 pm on Feb 23 until 9:00 am the next morning.

According to the old woman, around 10 to 15 soldiers entered every home in the village. “They would gag women to prevent them from raising hue and cry. We were not able to make much noise,” she says. There must have been around 1,000 soldiers in the village that night, she recalls.  When interviewed in 1991, villagers claimed about 100 women had been molested. “They left the very small girls untouched,” she adds. “Besides them, no one was spared.”

But India did nothing but respond back with the retort that the allegations were “baseless.”  Yet countless human rights organizations around the world have condemned the incident, and even the US Department of State rejected the Indian governments claims.

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