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