By News Desk
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Youth Forum For Kashmir (YFK), Pakistan’s first pro-Kashmir youth-led lobbying group, calls on India to punish the soldiers from the elite Indian Army unit involved in the mass gang rape of 53 Kashmiri women in the village of Kunan Poshpora, in the remote Kupwara District, on the night of 23 and 24 February, 1991.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, some accounts suggest that up to a hundred women were raped that night. An independent and transparent probe can confirm the exact figure.
But 24 years later, the victims continue to wait for Indian justice in the face the refusal of Indian military leadership to punish the culprits. Over the years, the government of India tried unsuccessfully to raise doubts about the incident in order to make it controversial.
“We strongly condemn the delayed Indian justice on Kunan Poshpora incident,” says Ahmed Quraishi, the Executive Director of YFK, in a statement released in Islamabad. “The rape epidemic that has gripped India recently finds its genesis in Kashmir, where possibly hundreds of Indian soldiers and their units have been involved in using rape as a tool of war and occupation. This culture of impunity on rape, and the idea that you can get away with rape, found its way into India with the return of thousands of soldiers back to their homes. Kashmir is India’s single largest concentration of military troops. Up to half a million Indian soldiers, police and paramilitary personnel are posted in Kashmir at different times.”
“This mass rape is the most cowardly, heinous and inhuman attempt that shows the merciless mentality of Indian army. It is in no way a reflection of humanity and international laws, which advise anyone in the world to make any helpless women’s life hell,” Quraishi said.
“Undoubtedly, resorting to such inhuman and cowardly actions by India’s occupation army will in no way hinder the proud and honorable Kashmiri nation in their indigenous freedom movement,” Quraishi said.
The anniversary of the Kunan Poshpora mass gang rape by Indian soldiers is an opportunity to highlight the bravery and the struggle of Kashmiri women who continue to be a pillar of strength for the Kashmir freedom movement from Indian occupation.
Shaista Safi, In-charge YFK Publications Unit, released a dossier on this occasion that is available online for researchers, diplomats and human rights activists worldwide. The dossier includes a chronological list of the developments in the legal case against the rapist Indian soldiers. The dossier can be viewed on YFK’s Facebook page /YFKOfficial.
- Insists that India’s military occupation end immediately.
- Calls on New Delhi to meet international standards of justice and fair play by withdrawing the occupation army from Srinagar and all other Kashmiri cities.
- Demands that India allow Kashmiris to take charge of their government as a first step towards resolving the international dispute in accordance with UNSC Resolutions.
- Appeals to the European Parliament, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, OSCE, ASEAN, SAARC, the Arab League, and the OIC to recognize the right of Kashmiri people to Self-Determination, and view it as the unfinished agenda of the freedom movement that led to the independence of both Pakistan and Indian in 1947 through a democratic and legal struggle where people voted to join either Pakistan or India after the departure of British forces from the region.
- Urges the United Nations Security Council to seize itself of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Kashmir, where India’s military occupation authorities have been found involved in arbitrary and extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, denial of basic civil liberties, and the use of rape as a weapon of war. We urge that the world body should play its key role in resolving the Kashmir dispute for perpetual peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia.
The YFK is a grassroots lobbying group led by young Kashmiris and Pakistanis working to ensure justice to Kashmiris living under Indian military occupation.