by Iqbal A. Khawaja (Letters To The Editor, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 1, Rabi' al-Thani, 1434)
What Indian occupation troops are doing in Kashmir, especially the gang rape of women, and the fact that not one perpetrator has been punished, indicates direct complicity of the Indian state in such crimes. The west’s silence over these crimes is equally shocking—and revealing.
I normally read Crescent International from cover to cover but in the last issue (February 2013) two stories hit me particularly hard. One was Zainab Cheema’s story entitled “India’s gang-rape case illuminates the violence of neo-liberalism,” and the other by Waseem Shehzad, “Documenting Indian state crimes in Kashmir.” Both addressed a similar phenomenon from different perspectives. India claims to be the largest democracy in the world yet every year, more than 24,000 women get raped. According to experts, the actual figure is perhaps ten times higher. Most women do not report such cases for fear that the police will take no action, or that this will bring shame to their families.
Rape is the worst kind of crime perpetrated against a woman. It is an assault not only on her body but also on her honor and indeed her psyche. The trauma of rape continues for decades. Given this, one can begin to see why the Indian occupation army uses rape as a weapon of war in Kashmir. The fact that more than 10,000 Kashmiri women have been gang-raped and not one perpetrator brought to justice speaks to the fact that the Indian government is complicit in such crimes.
A Kashmiri friend told me that not only the victims of gang-rape but the entire population of Kunan Poshpora has been ostracized by other people. This is a double punishment for these helpless innocent people, especially women victims. Suffering at the hands of Indian soldiers was bad enough; their own people should not inflict more punishment on them.
Iqbal A. Khawaja
Los Angeles, CA, US