The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the reported appeal by the Jammu and Kashmir State Government against the compensation ordered by the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission in 2012 to the victims of the infamous Kunan-Poshpora gang rape case.
Almost a 100 women were gang-raped through the night allegedly by Army personnel belonging to the 4th Rajputana Rifles Kunan-Poshpora. The amount of compensation ordered a quarter century after the incident, Rs 2 lakh per victim, was itself a pittance but it was, at least, a recognition of State accountability.
The grounds on which the Government is opposing payment of this meagre compensation are shocking: That none of the Army personnel were found guilty and that, at the time of the incident, the payment of compensation was not mandatory.
AIDWA in a statement said, "This ignores the simple fact that the enquiry itself was held a decade after the incident without any forensic evidence to link specific personnel to the crime and that, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) allows all such cases to be examined by the Army itself."
AIDWA accused that the State Government has shown itself to be utterly insensitive to the suffering and trauma that the rape victims have undergone over the years. Many of them had to undergo hysterectomies because of the brutalities meted out to them. Its taking recourse to the technicality that compensation was not payable at the time cannot be condemned strongly enough.
"It cannot be a co-incidence that the Chief Minister of the State, whose Party has been the most vociferous in protesting against atrocities committed by the Armed Forces, has now changed his tune completely to harmonise with his new-found ally in Government, the BJP.," said AIDWA.
AIDWA said that this ghastly case and the attitude of the State and Central Governments to the issue of atrocities going unpunished because of the draconian provisions of AFSPA has made its repeal more necessary than ever.
"We demand payment of the compensation amount indexed to inflation from 1991. We support wholeheartedly the struggle for justice by the victims and demand that the Governments concerned do the same," said AIDWA.