Forgive me for I couldn’t forget

A reminder for those who know and a must know for those who don’t that February 23/24 is not just an ordinary date. It stands as the worst example of human rights violation in Kashmir. It marks one of the most tragic episodes that befell Kashmiri nation.

Like the blood of martyrs is sacred, so is the sacrifice of the women of Kunan Poshpora, a small village in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, who fell prey to what world recognises as war crime and crime against humanity. The most heinous act of violence was perpetrated during the intervening night of February 23/24 when more than two dozen women in Kunan Poshpora were raped. The victims included from a young girls of 13 to the elderly women of 80.

History bears witness to the fact that wherever and whenever this crime is perpetrated the sole aim is to punish and inflict a collective shame on the whole population. Rape stands recognised as the most powerful weapon of war.

No doubt Home Minister of India calls Kashmir ‘a unique problem’ that deserves ‘unique solution’ however, the modus operandi used by the state agencies to curb the dissent rips apart the claims of justice.

This tragedy devastated the life of men and women alike, the women who were victimized and also those who somehow managed to evade the attack on their chastity, men were blamed as cowards who couldn’t save the honour of their women, however the truth is that men had already been forced out of their homes, held hostages and were being brutally tortured.

While the women left alone in homes were raped. This was all done to break the will to resist and inflict a psychological defeat. The attack on the chastity of women was not only well planned but also well managed. An inquiry commission was setup to rub salt over the wounds of Kashmiris, the sole purpose of this commission was to give a clean chit to the culprits. The aim of the commission was to project the culprit as victim. The commission stated that the incident was a concocted lie.

Kunan Poshpora is a 20 year old story now but still powerful enough to move a sane heart and stir a live conscience yet this case gathers dust at State human rights commission which has done nothing to deliver justice to victims of Kunan Poshpora rape case.

The human rights commissions or organisations have failed to come up with any verbal representation for all these years and expecting an action sounds too naive. It only speaks of their insensitivity, incompetence and failure to stand by their own resolve of working for justice.

Kunan reminds us of all those women who stood up to speak against the powerful perpetrator despite threats and yet were deceived by the institutions of justice and betrayed by the champions of human rights.

It reminds us of all those women who were victimized, it reminds us that we belong to a land were a mere allegiance that too ‘suspected’ can invite attack on chastity.  It reminds us that loosing chastity amounts to loosing something dearer than life and this ought to be considered as the highest degree of sacrifice a woman can make, rather than victimizing this group of women by social stigma. We ought to recognise their sacrifices in highest possible manner because chastity values sacred and precious than life itself and the attack on their chastity is designed push this group of society knowing their elemental importance and undeniable sacred character, subjecting them to insecurity, threat and grievous hurt. Sensing it –perfectly that
any damage to the honour of the women, any attack on the chastity of this gender will work well for a submission of this nation to shame, hopelessness and helplessness.

It is all obvious that neither money nor the punishment to the guilty can compensate the loss but it is imperative on our part that we don’t allow it to be a routine practice acceptable to us. One can only expect that the sacrifices of all those women be recognised, their contribution be acknowledged, their will be saluted and they be honoured like great martyrs because a nation struggling for a just cause can’t afford to forget its valuable sacrifices and more importantly can’t discriminate between its martyrs…or can it?

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