It took twenty three years for Mr. S.M.Yasin, the former Deputy Commissioner of Kupwara to muster courage to dis-bosom some factual details about the Kunan-poshpura mass rape. I am least impressed by his revelations & I have reasons to be so.
Let us first look at what Mr. Yasin has disclosed. He says that they have gang raped women of twin villages of Kunan & Poshpura located side by side in frontier district of Kupwara. They acted like wild beasts by raping women irrespective of age and marital status. Even pregnant women were not spared. Women were raped in front of their mothers, brothers , fathers & in-laws. Undoubtedly there can be no more shameful & bestial crime than this. But the fact of the matter is that we already knew these details from the victims themselves.
However, an important part of Yasin’s revelation, which we did not know till his disclosure the other day, is about his refusal to accept a suggestion from B.G. Verghese, the former Press Council Chairman, to hush up the matter & save the soldiers in “National interest”. Remember, Verghese and another lackey, Vikram Rao gave the accused a clean chit in the matter. Upon his refusal, Verghese is reported to have threatened Yasin & his family with dire consequences. Even the then Governor Saxena & special secretary SS Kapur are reported to have adopted a totally shameful & unbecoming attitude in the matter. Expectedly, after his refusal, Mr. Yasin was harassed with frequent transfers.
The facts are fully corroborated by another top official of that time, Mr. Wajahat Habibullah, the then Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir. In a recent interview to Arun Mohan Sukumar published in Indian Express of 27th February 2014, he has accused the then Governor Saxena, of discouraging him to visit the site due to a lot of pressure from then IG BSF A.K.Patel. He has also indicted the Government, then headed by the same Governor, of excising his report & publishing only a favorable part of it. In his own words, his official position & standing was used by Govt. and its collaborators, as a shield to ward off international outcry against the heinous crime.
A somewhat similar belated disclosure was made by retired Justice Bilal Nazki in the matter of custodial cold blooded murder of human rights defender, Advocate Jaleel Andrabi at the hands of Major Avtar Singh. Speaking to Indian express (March 7,2011) soon after his retirement as chief Justice of Orissa High Court, Justice Nazki said “ I feel the J-K High Court has been ineffective in taking the Jaleel Andrabi murder case to its logical conclusion. In 1997, when I was hearing the case, we had set up a Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the J&K Police to probe the murder. I am personally convinced that the SIT’s investigation was the best. Major Avtar Singh should have faced trial. Soon after I passed orders in the case, I was transferred to Hyderabad. The High Court didn’t take any interest afterwards. Singh’s case symbolizes what is wrong with Delhi’s approach towards Kashmir.”
What is common in all these belated revelations made by persons who held position of eminence in the past? By keeping facts locked in their bosoms they have allowed the tyrant to continue with the tyranny. Had they ripped the mask in time probably subsequent crimes like Pathribal & Machil would not have occurred? Cause of Justice would have been definitely served better, had he spoken out at the right time instead of convenient time. Their delayed disclosures might have made headlines on the given day but had they spoken in time, they would have made history.
Let us not be afraid of calling spade a spade or feel despair as truth is a defense against all evils which principle is enshrined even in Indian laws. Life & death is in the hands of Almighty. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are necessarily diminished. Spielberg, the noted American thinker & Filmmaker with a jewish background on a recent Holocaust memorial day said. " We must refuse paralysis. Genocide is evil, but I think perhaps the greatest evil is when people who have been spared the horrors permit themselves to despair. The despair of those who should otherwise act is evil’s triumph."Our top bureaucrats & persons holding eminent positions need to note these words of wisdom. Otherwise they become partners in crime by default.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant)