Rape and Torture in Kashmir
Indian forces and paramilitary militias
working with them have been responsible for rape throughout the conflict.
Although the Indian government has prosecuted and punished a number of security
personnel for rape, many cases are never investigated. Reports of rape from
Kashmir and other border areas have increased since the crackdown in these areas
began in 2000.
The case of S.khan illustrates the army's
practice of assaulting villagers in punishment because they believe they have
supported the militants, or as a means of terrorizing them so that they will not
do so. S.khan about fifty, a resident of Ludna, Doda, told Human Rights
Commission that on October 5, 2006, the Eighth Rashtriya Rifles came to her
house and took her, her husband and her eight-month-old grandson to their base
in the village of Charote, some fifteen kilometers away. There they were
separated. She said:
They began beating me. They said that we
had been feeding the militants. They used electric shocks on my feet. I was
raped. They stripped off my clothes and said they would kill me. There were many
soldiers and a captain. The captain raped me, keeping everyone else outside. He
told me: "You are Muslims, and you will all be treated like this." He was a
Hindu, but he told me that he was a Muslim, and that his name was Shahnawaz. He
forced me to confess that I had been feeding the militants. This happened on the
first night. I was there for fifteen days. Then we were released.
Ten days after their arrest, while the
family was still in Charote, S.khan daughter, daughter-in-law and son were
arrested and taken to another army base in Gundna village, where they were held
for two days before being released.
When the family returned to their home they
discovered that all of their belongings had been taken, including Rs. 10,000
[U.S.$ 250] and jewelry. At the time that Human Rights Commission interviewed
S.khan, she had not yet filed a police report but had received medical treatment
from a local practitioner. She stated that she was still in pain.
Residents of Marmal, Doda, told Human
Rights Commission that in early October 2006 the army cordoned off some twenty
villages in the area for fifteen days and during that time took some of the
local women to the army camp. Although the women did not talk about what had
happened to them, from their behavior the other residents believed that a number
of them had been raped.
They are looking for the
militants. But they are unable to find any. So they harass the local population
.... Our womenfolk are taken into the army camp, all separately. They round up
the women, then take two or three in the evening. They come back after two or
three days. They are very shy then, and don't want to talk about what has
happened to them. The army has pressured them not to speak about what happened.