Twenty-three years on, the mass rape victims of Kunan Poshpora villages have achieved first major success when Jammu and Kashmir high court directed the state government to explore the possibilities of paying compensation to the affected women.
Over 30 women of Kunan-Poshpora villages were allegedly raped by the army troops during the intervening night of February 23 and 24, 1991. The incident had occurred when army troops cordoned off the villages and launched search operations. It had triggered a massive public outrage in Kashmir.
Hearing the petition by the survivors of the Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture, the high courted asked "the government to explore the possibilities of payment of compensation within three weeks".
"Compensation paid by the government is an acceptance that the crimes actually took place and should be followed by prosecutions of the accused army personnel and all those responsible for the cover ups over the last 23 years," said a joint spokesman of Kunan Poshpora Village Committee, Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora and Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.
The petitioners had sought court-monitored investigations by a Special Investigation Team, and that the SHRC recommendations on compensation be processed by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
On October 19, 2011, the SHRC had asked the J&K government to constitute a Special Investigation Team headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police to re-investigate the alleged mass rape of at least 31 women allegedly by army in Kunan Poshpora villages.
A division bench of the then Chairman Justice (retd) Syed Bashir-ud-din Ahmad and Javaid Kawoosa, the SHRC had stated that the medical examination 31 alleged rape victims conducted on the orders of the state administration had confirmed that they were subjected to atrocities.
The high court observed that the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission recommendations were supported by the evidence.
"After 23 years, and countless judicial and extra-judicial attempts to cover up the Kunan Poshpora case, the High Court order is an important moment in the process of remembering, resisting, and ensuring that the crimes and the lies of the state are contested," said the spokesman.