Feb 23, 2013

Kunan Poshpora: A Doomed Village

Today morning I cracked my day with a surprise. I woke up astonishingly only to find a white snowy blanket welcoming my drowsy eyes. “Bolt from the sky,” I reasoned for the unexpected snowfall. Although I am a keen watcher of snowfall but rejoicing the heavenly fall was not an option this time. It was the black day of remorse and mourning. Every single snowflake touching the ground was like a rebuke bombarding the conscience of people lost in their slumber only to awake them of an ugly past, a gruesome happening. It reminded me of the same fateful snowy day some 22 years back that doomed a village called “KunanPoshpora”.

Feb 23 1991 Kunan Poshpora: At least 23 women gang reportedly gang-raped by Indian soldiers in this Godforsaken land that remains aloof from the rest of the valley with army barricades and lofty snow. Women, young and old, widowed and half-widowed, married and otherwise, were molested by the armed aliens.  Their chastity was assaulted by the boozy beasts and their souls trampled under the jackboots. Their life was devastated forever. What followed is only a history now, stained and ugly, “untraced”.

Sadly the world is silent to this gruesome tragedy as the investigations have always been sponsored by the saviors of the defaulters.  And any further stories put up by the media were not able to sell the truth. Rest of the lot just exploited the newsy ingredient to cook and sell the news that is digestible by their bosses.  The unfortunate mass rape that shattered the whole village only underscored the name “Kunan Poshpora” as newsy. Enumerate news bodies and filmmakers captivated the newsy part again and again for years now till they archived it as old. No more newsy.  

Today I was really dumbfounded and even more disappointed to find no space for “KunanPoshpora” in the news giants of Kashmir, needless to talk of India. I scanned the length and breadth of the press only to add more disappointment. When I inquired a well-versed pressman for the same, he responded: “Why to rape them again and again? Why to reveal the same ill-fated past?  News is only newsy when it is new.  That’s probably why they call it ‘news’.”  I was spellbound in response.  

But I fear for the reason that if we go on burying our past like this then will be burying all those possibilities of getting justice and living hopes, if any. In this way, we are digging graves to bury down our bitter memories and bridging gaps for the defaulters to make them runaway at ease.

No doubt Kunan Poshpora is a tragedy that is far unforgettable and unforgiving.  It's an ugly stain on the face of Indian democracy and its "Jawans". The pain and the loss can never be documented, no matter what you do because “rape” is no little crime. It’s more of a psychological assault than physical. It shatters the victim once and for all. It’s the assault on the whole family and not just the victim. What follows cannot be narrated.  

Back in Kunan & Poshpora, later after devastating all the noble souls, the soldiers left the village on its own to mourn and cry. Their bloody footprints on the snowy paths evaded soon but the ghastly period never did.  The fateful night ended and the sun signed up for the coming day but it left behind shattered souls, wailing mothers and angry helpless people. Worse of all, it left the young sons and brothers, who witnessed their mothers and sisters being raped, only to cross the border and return with a revenge gear to kill the perpetrators.     

And today when the whole world, including Kashmir, is catching the sleep in warm cozies, the haunted village of Kunan Poshpora is still there, all awake and doomed with a past that’s indelible and ugly.
 Now as I windup, I can only dream for the justice.