Rapes by Indian Troops Go Unpunished
- RAPES IN KASHMIR: TRAGIC PLAY OF NUMBERS
July 22, 2007
There are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Its time for statistics to take center stage, as the Chief Minister of
Kashmir is trying to sell some preposterous numbers in order to
shelter the Indian forces, for crimes as heinous as a rape.
The discussion currently is not about a dead body or a disappeared kin
but women, who have been raped and whose stories are grabbing
headlines in the media for the sheer fact that Kashmiri people refuse
to absorb the atrocities silently anymore.
As the number of victims increases day by day, so does the ire of people.
In a recent speech in the legislative assembly Chief Minister Ghulam
Nabi Azad praised the Indian troops and the State Police for what he
perceives as an "improved security situation."
I may well clear this delusion of his for you, as we do assume that a
minister cannot be totally out of touch with reality. The fact is that
in Kashmir since killings, rapes and other human rights violations are
so routine and rampant during every regime, they may well be counted
as normal and even if the reigning pro-Indian government even so much
as achieve stretching the kashmiri day which normally would end by 5
or 6 pm in evening due to security reasons, by a couple of hours, it
is claimed as a big improvement.
Normalcy restored. One rose often becomes the reigning
A sailboat with token tourist faces, on the festering lake can be made
representative of booming visitors.
Such small events for the lapdog administrations are great milestones
needed for yapping about their power in bringing about the elusive
By the same token, a mentally imbalanced person, who may be oblivious
to the world; the difference between man or a woman, a gun or a spoon,
if found dancing or singing on top of his lungs, has 9 in 10 chances
of being touted as the free Kashmiri poster-boy.
If there is one by now or after this comes out in print I wont be
So much so for the claims of returning normalcy in Kashmir.
Coming back to statistics, I have never known an instance when
statistics could have been more desperately used by a politician to
dupe masses who know better (inversely trying to please his bosses)
and looked ridiculous. This can only be topped by the previous Chief
Minister who insisted that there were only 60 cases of enforced
Azad's admonishment to the Kashmiris, saying if they were aghast at
the rapes by state troopers "you should also agitate when a general
rape incident takes place", might also be the first time in Kashmir's
long history that the administration has admitted to the trend of
institutional hoologanism and state terror permeating the ranks of
Indian forces. With absorption of renegade militants into the state
police force, the situation has become even more fatal.
The implication of Azad's statement extends into assuming that not
only has been a percentage of Indian forces brought at par with
ordinary criminals (from whom this behavior can be expected like
ordinary civilian criminals), but also becomes a valid start for
conscientious scholars or citizens to analyze the overall composition
of this nasty bulwark pressing on Kashmir. Chastising Kashmiris for
protesting against the atrocities committed by the Indian forces and
equating them with civilian crimes, will go a long way in underscoring
the actual utility of Indian forces for any administration in power in
Kashmir. Need we any more.
Azad also touted that only 4 cases had been proven against the Indian
forces so far, safely sidestepping and overlooking the exhaustive
documentation put forth by independent, international research
organizations and activists in Kashmir on rape being used as a weapon
of war and futility of the legal system. Not to mention the brazen
ground realities staring people in the face day in and day out.
Studies have proven that most violence that occurs in the course of
armed conflict, "violence against women is not accidental but a tool
used to achieve military objectives such as spreading political
terror, breaking the resistance of a community, rewarding soldiers,
intimidation, or to extract information. Many forms of violence that
women suffer during armed conflict are gender specific in both nature
and result." Recent investigations have clearly demonstrated that in
any number of conflict situations including Kashmir, the targeting of
victims and the forms of the abuse carried out during armed conflict
were based on gender as well as other identity markers.
More importantly many studies emphasize that most of the rapes in
Kashmir go unreported, which is what ironically makes Azad`s
While Azad tried to intellectualize rapes by saying they were crimes
that were actually the "state of mind" of a society of which troops or
cops were a part (dare fathom the meaning of this metaphorical
entombment?). He actually tried to ladle a fantastic analogy between
incidence of rapes in India with that of Kashmir - against the
"national average" of 18000 rapes annually across India Kashmir
registers only 250 rapes. A question that arises upfront, is that how
many of those rapes in India are committed by armed forces?
Azad, should have duly desisted from using token statistics since he
is a Kashmiri himself and knows the shame that surrounds rape in this
conservative society and the hesitancy in reporting such incidents or
even talking about them.
Are all rapes reported in Kashmir? Even when reported, what happens
after that? There is proven evidence that perpetrators are sparingly
brought to book.
Considering the recent Bandipore rape, the family reported being
pressurized by the troopers to take back charges. And this for a case
which grabbed national and international headlines. If Azad had any
misgivings, he might have turned to research reports produced by
renowned international human rights groups or even Indian activists or
scholars who have had no qualms in revealing, that, "Women in Kashmir
have been raped with impunity and most of them go unreported given the
social stigma and fear of retribution by the State. The GOI
(Government of India) has been quick to deny and cover-up most of
those cases which do get reported"
Even if we wanted to entertain his "ironically funny" statistics a
bit, there still remain reasons to scoff at the claim.
Is there are comparison between a 10.7 million population of Kashmir,
which is oppressed and repressed, with the rest of 1 billion across
What is the bizarre logic behind this statistic - what does it prove?
Does it mean Kashmir has any less rapes (administrative success
anyone?), there could have been more (the government should be thanked)?
How does it assuage people who have their lives at stake as well as
The only thing it re-emphasizes is that there exists a state patronage
for troops to commit rapes as well as other human rights abuse; there
exists inhuman acceptance within the civil administration for this to
happen and in that they are ready to defend and stand by the troops.
The only word that comes to mind is: Shame.
Not for those who have already sold their souls and sing the tunes of
Shame on us who have no choice but to stand silent; who cannot hit
back and say its not about the percentage of army or other troopers
being talked about or defending them; its about the palpably
vulnerable lives of our daughters and mothers.
Its not about damned statistics which are just an eyewash concocted in
the backwaters of state oppression and sterile bureaucracy for a
fantastic use such as this.
If Azad needs to count 4 cases of proven guilt anew, he will have to
relearn his numbers from women in the villages of Konunposhpora,
Dardpora, Kangan and myraids of other villages and towns; not to
mention countless others who suffer in silence - nameless and
faceless. And who like the troopers have no one to take their side.
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