By Nasreen Jehan (real name withheld on the request of writer)
NEW DELHI, India: At least four reports released by Human Rights activists of India indicate that the Indian army and security forces sexually abuse Kashmiri people including young boys, girls, men, women and aged women.
This is not a new trend followed by the Indian army. We still remember women in Manipur led the battle against rapes committed by the Indian forces by misusing the Indian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
Do we forget ‘Rape us, kill us! Rape us, kill us!’ chorus of mothers who protested naked against brutality and sexual abuse of Manipur women?
12 Imas (Mothers—Old women) of Imphal, Manipur jolted the entire country in year 2004 by stating:
What is the use of clothes? You strip us. You can strip me, but how can you clothe me again? Are you a man?, said one of the naked women who stood against Union State of India nakedly.
On July 15, 2004, 12 old women threw off their clothes in front of the Kangla. Leaving behind their petticoats, blouses and fear, they exposed real face of Indian army when it is posted in Special Areas.
The video footage of the incident exposed that they didn’t shudder or hide. Everybody was shocked to see them naked but no one was speaking—a complete silence was all around. But in a few moments the air was ringing with slogans, like a chant.
‘Rape us, kill us! Rape us, kill us!’
First a few weak voices, and then a chorus of sharp and strong committed slogans.
‘Indian Army, rape us! Kill us!’
The video footage of the incident also shows one of the women protestors shouting, ‘We are all Manorama’s mothers, come, rape us, you b–ds!’.
Remember that Thangjam Manorama was killed by the Indian paramilitary unit, 17th Assam Rifles on July 11, 2004. Her bullet-ridden and mutilated dead body was found abandoned three kilometers away from her home where she was arrested the earlier night. She was shot several times in her private parts. Her autopsy report confirmed that she was tortured and raped before being killed.
Stories about sexual subjugation came from all other seven sister states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Siliguri Corridor in West Bengal were not different than from the story of Thangjam Manorama of Manipur.
Sadly, some other news which are not related to Special Areas also indicate that soldiers of Indian army are fond of sexually abusing their female fellows and colleagues.
Recently, the female officer of India’s Paramilitary Force Karuna Jeet Kaur made startling revelations on the national television that women are recruited in the forces ‘only for sexual pleasure’.
There were 12 brave mothers who came forward and registered brutalities of the Indian forces to the world media.
Who will come from Kashmir to do the same? I believe nobody because being a Muslim girl of India I believe our upbringing and religious values are different than of Manipur or Nagaland women. But it does not mean that brutalities in Kashmir (Read as Indian Occupied Kashmir) are not committed.
Reports suggest that rape for subjugation is being used in Kashmir for the last 10 years but earlier, it was only with girls and women, and now the same sexual abuse is reported by young under age boys of 11 years old to 16 years old.
The recently released Fact Finding Report (FFR) prepared by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) titled “Voices of Kashmiri Women” indicates the sexual abuse are done by Indian army jawans and officers.
Another Fact Finding Reports conducted by Indian civil society members about Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) help to understand the gravity of atrocities being faced by Kashmiris in IOK, and also indicate the sexual abuse by Indian forces.
The titled “Women’s Voice: Fact Finding Report on Kashmir” was documented during September 17-21, 2019 by a five-member team comprising of Annie Raja, Kawaljit Kaur, Pankhuri Zaheer from National Federation Indian Women, Poonam Kaushik from Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan and Syeda Hameed from Muslim Women’s Forum.
A report kind letter from 250 Human Rights activists from Indian Gujarat voicing against caging Indian Occupied Kashmir was also full of agonies being faced by Kashmiri Muslims.
The Fact Finding Report “KASHMIR: Imprisoned Resistance” which was released in Press Club of India openly talked about the sexual abuses in Kashmir.
The report is a work of a team of 11 senior lawyers, trade union and human rights activists and a psychiatrist who visited Kashmir from 28 September to October 4, 2019.
These reports indicate that brutalities and atrocities faced by Kashmiri people are registered because Indian society still have the people who stand against injustice and live over and above of religious divide.
The State of India has clamped down on Kashmiris and they virtually have no access to the world and extreme use of force against them may snub them for the time being but their voice is going out of India by activists of civil society, although I fear this voice would face serve response from Modi Sarkar which is trying its best to brutalize those who voice for Kashmir.