23 Year-Old Indian Army Rape Still Goes Unpunished

India has been in the spotlight for quite some time regarding the rampant sexual assault and rapes that have been plaguing the country. While recently we have seen more prosecutions of perpetrators one incident shows how far the country has fallen. In February 1991, members of the Indian Army marched upon the neighboring towns of Kunan and Poshpora and perpetrated a massive rape on the women of the two towns. Men were huddled into separate housing and suffered their own torture, while women, both young and old, suffered the trauma of sexual assault and rape by the Indian Army. Figures vary, from as low as twenty women, to as high as 100, but the story remain consistent: the Indian Army got away with rape.

It has been twenty-three years and nothing substantive has been done to help these women who have been betrayed by their country. The Indian Government is reluctant to do anything about the situation, believing that these rumors are coming from Islamic sympathizers and supporters, trying to make the Indian Government look bad. Kunan and Poshpora are in the Kashmiri region of Indian and because of the ongoing conflict between Pakistan and Indian, they have suffered greatly and effectively have been marginalized when it comes to complaints of rape and oppression. The Indian Government has ignored theses allegations, citing the inconsistencies in the women’s testimony and their failure to come forward and actually make claims against the Indian Army.  But the truth is, Indian women are reluctant to come forward with accusations of rape, in fear that if the information that they were raped is made public they will be seen as ineligible for marriage.

Sources cite to the fact that the entire incident had a lack luster investigation, hardly any follow up with witnesses and victims and just a complete and total disregard for the issues at hand. This leaves these Indian women with no recourse and no ability to receive justice. Furthermore, even if they were to receive justice, the Indian Penal Code, which sets out the laws and criminal repercussions for breaking such laws, would not provide sufficient justice for the Indian women. The amount of time incarcerated, which would be at most 7 years, is not enough to exact justice, but instead something more needs to be done. Through the Army Act of 1950, individuals in the army can be subject to dishonorable discharge and other far more severe punishments for their crimes, but that is if the courts determine they were acting in the course of their deployment. Otherwise, they will be left to the civil court system which will not do enough for these Indian Women.

The social implications are far worse because these women had to suffer through a majority of their lives with the fact that men savaged them and their own government, who had an obligation to protect them, did nothing. Imagine how many lives have changed drastically because of the Indian Army’s selfish and despicable decision to take it upon themselves to rape two towns worth of women.

How should the Indian Government handle this travesty? Do you believe that the Indian Government is being too lenient in this situation? At what point should the international community come in and help protect the women of this world from rapists?


Source: International Business Times

Indian Penal Code Section 375 and 376

The Army Act 1950 Section 69 and 70



  1. First of all, this is such a horrible event. I am sure what the military members are supposed to do is very clear in every single country around the world, but apparently the Indian government failed in constructing its army, training and disciplining them. On top of that, the government still continues to fail in providing relief to the victims after this tragic event. I strongly believe that the Indian Government is too lenient in this situation because the facts show that there was no adequate investigation done, no follow up with the witnesses and victims. It seems that the Indian government is technically siding with the criminals and completely ignoring the victims’ rights. Further, the Indian Penal Code does not seem to provide sufficient justice for those victims.

    I honestly think that it is the time for the international community to step in and make sure the Indian government does what it is supposed to do considering the fact that it has already been 23 years late in providing justice to those women. Unfortunately, India is not the only place that these incidents could happen so I think the international community should be quicker in responding and reaching out these victims and stop waiting too long for the particular government to do what is right and just.

  2. I am not sure what is more horrible, the fact that these type of stories happen in India or the frequency of their occurrence in this State. I don’t think too lenient is the right wording; indeed, I would describe the state of fairs in the Indian government as thoroughly embarrassing and an abomination to the rights and integrity of Indian woman. It is also a demonstration of cowardice on behalf of the government. The penalties need be strict and severe. Forget long-jail sentences and capital punishment; how about castration? Maybe some of the rapists would think twice before they committed these atrocious acts if such a penalty were enacted.

  3. I think that the government should really look into the matter and investigate. It does not matter if there were twenty women or one hundred women that were raped, the fact of the matter is that women were raped and justice has not been served. When justice is not delivered, it has a severe impact on the rest of society. Women who are raped will be hesitant to come forward and accuse their attackers. They will feel that the government will not believe them. The Indian government is being too lenient on the matter. The government should seek out witnesses and find the perpetrators. I find it very sad that these women have not received peace of mind. The people responsible for the rape have gotten away with this horror and nothing has been done. The seven year sentence set forth by the Indian Penal Code is too lax. The punishment for rape should be harsher.

  4. Clearly it appears that the Indian government has not conducted a full and thorough investigation of the matter, and should do so immediately. Equally important to the investigation itself, is that it be done openly and transparently so as to ensure some accountability in the process. And, perhaps unfortunately, while it is easy to say that the world should step in and protect these women, there is no great network for doing that. States are granted a great deal of sovereignty by the UN and there is very little room for forced intervention. The UN would never approve the use of force to avenge a crime that occurred 20 years ago, nor should it. The International Court of Justice, the UN body which hears human rights disputes, is only available to State parties; individuals do not have the capacity to appeal to it. If the crime took place in Europe, the victims would have the very real and credible threat of appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, however, that is obviously not the case here. India is a member of the Asian Human Rights Commission, but this appears to be more of an advisory committee than a body with the force of law behind it. Countries could consider economic repercussions, but they may run afoul of WTO obligations). It seems as though the best option at this junction would be for politicians around the world, as well as international news media, to call attention to the issue and put pressure of the Indian government to address it.

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