A schoolgirl on Thursday rehearses for the Republic Day parade (Fotocorp picture) in Srinagar, Kashmir, where hopes have been raised following the Justice Verma Committee’s recommendation to withdraw the protection offered by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to security personnel in sexual crimes.
The family of a deceased rape victim in Kupwara is now hoping for justice after two decades. Civil rights groups have called for the reopening of around “900 documented cases of rapes and molestations” allegedly committed by the forces.
The Kupwara victim, who had impaired hearing and speech, was 30 when, one day in 1993, her husband and all other men in their village of Nagri Malpora were ordered out by the forces for an identification parade.
“When we returned home, we found her in a pathetic condition,” her brother said. She died in November 2011.
“She never came out of home and turned into a mental wreck. She was unable to share her pain with anybody because she could not hear or speak. I want the men who committed the crime to be brought to book,” he said.
The brother said massive protests had prompted the police to lodge a case. “But no action followed. In 2002, I approached the state human rights commission, which passed a judgment five years later blaming soldiers for raping my sister,” he said.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah said he had asked his law minister to examine the Verma report.
“We wish to call an all-party meeting before the Assembly session starts. We want to accept the report and implement as many recommendations (as we can) in the state,” Omar said.
“As far as the AFSPA is concerned, we are already talking with the Centre. We hope the Centre will accept this recommendation.”