In­dian army uses rape as pun­ish­ment weapon in Jammu and Kash­mir

Views from Srinagar

Pakistan Observer - - KASHMIR -

ALTAF HUS­SAIN WANI HE In­ter­na­tional Covenant on Civil and Po­lit­i­cal Rights (ICCPR) pro­hibits tor ture and other forms of cruel, in­hu­man and de­grad­ing treat­ment. The Govern­ment of In­dia has rat­i­fied the ICCPR. In­dia has also rat­i­fied the four Geneva Con­ven­tions of 1949. Rape is clearly pro­hib­ited by Com­mon Ar­ti­cle 3; it is cus­tom­ar­ily un­der­stood to con­sti­tute both cruel treat­ment and an ou­trage on per­sonal dignity. Pro­to­col II pro­vides au­thor­i­ta­tive guid­ance for in­ter­pret­ing Com­mon Ar­ti­cle 3’s pro­hi­bi­tion on “out­rages upon per­sonal dignity.” Pro­to­col II out­laws “out­rages upon per­sonal dignity, in par­tic­u­lar hu­mil­i­at­ing treat­ment, rape, en­forced pros­ti­tu­tion and any form of in­de­cent as­sault.” The com­men­tary of the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross ex­plains that this ar­ti­cle “reaf­firms and sup­ple­ments Com­mon Ar­ti­cle 3 ... [be­cause] it be­came clear that it was nec­es­sary to strengthen ... the pro­tec­tion of women ... who may also be vic­tims of rape, en­forced pros­ti­tu­tion or in­de­cent as­sault.”

Al­though the line be­tween cruel and in-

Thu­man treat­ment and tor­ture is not well de­fined in ei­ther hu­man­i­tar­ian or hu­man rights law, rape also vi­o­lates the ICCPR and Com­mon Ar­ti­cle 3 pro­hi­bi­tions on tor­ture. When any party to an armed con­flict, in­ter­nal or in­ter­na­tional, uses rape, with the in­ten­tion of in­flict­ing se­vere pain or suf­fer­ing and for the pur­poses of co­erc­ing, pun­ish­ing, or in­tim­i­dat­ing, or to ob­tain in­for­ma­tion or a con­fes­sion, it con­sti­tutes tor­ture. Un­til re­cently, rape has of­ten es­caped in­ter­na­tional scru­tiny and con­dem­na­tion, in­clud­ing rape com­mit­ted in the con­text of armed con­flict. In the past, rape has of­ten been ac­cepted as “spoils of war” or mis­char­ac­ter­ized as in­ci­den­tal to the con­flict or as a pri­vately-mo­ti­vated form of sex­ual abuse rather than an abuse of power that im­pli­cates pub­lic re­spon­si­bil­ity. Re­ports of the wide­spread use of rape as a tac­tic of war in the for­mer Yu­goslavia have been in­stru­men­tal in fo­cus­ing at­ten­tion on the func­tion of rape in war and have pro­voked in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion. Such con­dem­na­tion must be ex­tended to the use of rape in all con­flicts zones like Jammu Kash­mir as well.

Jammu and Kash­mir is a rec­og­nized United Na­tions dis­puted ter­ri­tory and the peo­ple of Jammu and Kash­mir are yet to de­cide their po­lit­i­cal fu­ture. United Na­tions Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions pledge peo­ple of Kash­mir a free and fare plebiscite to de­cide their po­lit­i­cal des­tiny. How­ever In­dian de­nied to this right, forced to peo­ple of In­dian oc­cu­pied Kash­mir to launch a peace­ful po­lit­i­cal re­sis­tance against In­dian oc­cu­pa­tion. In­dia in re­sponse to peo­ple in­dige­nous and peace­ful strug­gle In­dian state re­sorted to use of bru­tal force to sub­ju­gate the peo­ples will. In­dia’s govern­ment has pur­sued a pol­icy of re­pres­sion in Kash­mir which has re­sulted in mas­sive hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions by In­dian army and para­mil­i­tary forces. Through­out the con­flict, the oc­cu­pa­tional forces have de­lib­er­ately tar­geted civil­ians. One of the heinous crimes In­dian army and other forces com­mit­ted dur­ing last 26year is rape. This has been used as a tool to pun­ish and hu­mil­i­ate en­tire com­mu­nity.

Rape is an easy ret­ri­bu­tion for peo­ples “col­lec­tive crime’’ the crime of be­ing an­tag­o­nis­tic and dis­loyal to the In­dian state, which holds all In­hab­i­tants guilty at least by im­pli­ca­tions. Rape has been used strate­gi­cally and sys­tem­at­i­cally to threaten, hu­mil­i­ate and de­grade the pop­u­lace and kill their spirit in the strug­gle against mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion. Rape have thus been used a form of pun­ish­ment for peo­ple of In­dian oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, a pun­ish­ment for ris­ing against an un­jus­ti­fi­able dom­i­nance. The oc­cu­pa­tional forces in­clude In­dian reg­u­lar army Units, Ras­tryia Ri­fles, the army raised for counter mil­i­tancy op­er­a­tions in Jammu Kash­mir, Bor­der se­cu­rity Forces, (BSF) Cen­tral Re­serve Po­lice Force, (CRPF) Jammu Kash­mir Po­lice and other Para mil­i­tary forces which num­ber over 700,000 and make Kash­mir world’s den­sity pop­u­lated mil­i­ta­rized Zone.

A study con­ducted by Medicine Sans Fron­tiers 2005 found 67 per­cent of re­spon­dents in Kar­al­pora block of district Kup­wara has wit­nesses or heard of an act of rape or mo­lesta­tion, since 1989. It found that Kash­miri women are the worst suf­fer­ers of sex­ual vi­o­lence in the world. It fur­ther re­vealed that sex­ual vi­o­lence has been rou­tinely per­pet­u­ated on Kash­miri women, 11.6 per­cent of re­spon­dents say­ing they were vic­tims of sex­ual abuse.

There are many ex­am­ples and tes­ti­monies of women who were raped in groups by In­dian armed forces in In­dian oc­cu­pied Kash­mir. Asia Watch in its re­port on rapes in Kash­mir in 1993 list six doc­u­mented cases of gang rape and mass rape com­mit­ted by In­dian army. The in­ter­na­tional Tri­bunal on hu­man rights and jus­tice in In­dian oc­cu­pied Kash­mir, in its pub­li­ca­tion, “Al­leged Per­pe­tra­tors” has men­tioned nine cases of rapes com­mit­ted by In­dian army. There are count­less other ex­am­ples of rape and gang rape in Kash­mir for not all vic­tims re­port sex­ual vi­o­lence for the fear of os­tracism or ex­clu­sion in an en­vi­ron­ment where jus­tice re­mains elu­sive. —Email

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