Human Rights

Key eyewitness in Kunan-Poshpora mass-rape case dies at 85

Photo: Special Arrangement

Kupwara: Abdul Aziz Shah, one of the key eyewitnesses of the Kunan Poshpora mass rape incident by the Indian Army on February 23, 1991, died on Thursday afternoon at the age of 85.

The twin villages, Kunan and Poshpora are located in north Kashmir’s remote Kupwara district.

Photo: Special Arrangement


Family sources told Free Press Kashmir that Shah breathed his last around 4:00 pm today after a brief illness as he was not keeping well for a long time. His Nimaz-e-Jinaza was offered at 8:00 pm and he was buried at his ancestral graveyard in Kunan, they said.

Shah, the then village head (Lamberder), is survived by a son Ghulam Rasool Shah, who retired as a police officer last month, and grandsons.

His other son Abdul Rashid was a militant who crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in the 90s and was killed later.

The Kunan Poshspora incident was a mass-rape that occurred on 23 February 1991 when the Indian forces launched a search operation in the twin villages of Kunan and Poshpora, located in Kashmir’s Kupwara District.

Villagers claimed that many women were raped by soldiers that night.

The First information report filed in the police station after a visit by the local magistrate reported the number of women alleging rape as 23.

However, Human Rights Watch asserts that this number could be between 23 and 100.

While the Government’s investigations into the incident rejected the allegations as ‘baseless’, International human rights organizations have expressed serious doubts about the integrity of these investigations and the manner in which they were conducted.

Human Rights Watch stated that the government had launched a “campaign to acquit the army of charges of human rights violations and discredit those who brought the charges.”


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