‘Govt not averse to compensation to rape victims of Kunan-Poshpora’
The state government on Tuesday told Jammu and Kashmir High Court that in principle it is not averse to compensation to the rape victims of Kunan-Poshpora in keeping with the recommendations of State Human Rights Commission.
“In principle the state government is not averse to implementing the judgment by SHRC with regard to compensation to the rape victims of Kunan-Poshpora and the decision in this regard was taken at a high level meeting,” Additional Advocate General, R A Khan told a bench of High Court.
At least 40 women were allegedly raped by personnel of Army’s 4 Rajputana Rifles during the intervening night of February 23/24 in 1991 in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora in Kupwara district of north Kashmir. The SHRC in 2012 recommended re-investigation, payment of Rs two lakh as ex-gratia to victims and action against then Director Prosecution for closing the case in 1991 as untraced.
The bench also issued notice to the Government of India (GOI) for objections to the petition seeking constitution of a SIT for re-investigation into the case under the supervision of the Court.
Counsel for the victims, Parvez Imroz pleaded before that the investigating officer probing the case following the directions of Judicial Magistrate Kupwara has been taking only extensions resulting in delay of the probe. He submitted that there is hardly any instance in history of an incident like Kunan-Poshpora with victims struggling even after 23 years for justice.
“The High Court should constitute a SIT and monitor the investigation so that the probe is concluded and the victims will get justice,” Imroz pleaded.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Tuesday spokesman of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said that the state counsel before the High Court has stated that in principle the government is not averse to the payment of compensation but sought further time for the same.
“This comes following an initial refusal to pay any compensation. But, the Government counsel stated that this compensation would only be paid to the 23 persons referred to in the FIR,” the spokesman said. He said Counsel for the survivors pointed out that the main thrust of the writ petition was the investigation that was not being conducted in any serious manner.
“The army was not cooperating with the investigations under the pretext of the revision petition filed by them. But, despite the dismissal of the revision petition on 8 August 2014, there is still no headway in the investigations. Further, it was submitted that the Government could not limit the amount of compensation of Rs 2 lakh- as suggested by the Government or the number of persons who would be benefited by it,” he added.
He said the Supreme Court has ordered compensation as high as Rs. 10 lakh in other cases, saying in the instant case, the number of victims of rape as confirmed by the investigations and the SHRC were much higher than 23.
“In addition to carrying out no meaningful investigations, the Government continues its attempts to protect the perpetrators – the Indian army – including by seeking to limit the compensation through the most perverse and legally untenable ways,” he said.