Wajahat Habibullah, divisional commissioner of Kashmir investigated allegations of mass rape by the Army, speaks to Arun Mohan Sukumar about the incident.
There was a cover up.
No. Though my report left a number of questions unanswered, inquiry by me was only a preliminary one. But nothing further was done and the case was closed. It is quite improbable that a crime of that magnitude took place as alleged. I would not go so far as to agree with Yasin when he says “it is the biggest blot on the face of democratic India”. Yasin was carried away by emotion, he is a Kashmiri himself. I did not tell him I had not given the government my report yet they have “published” it. It is true that I had submitted it but the government only published part of my report — a critical portion of it was excised.
Well, obviously, the government wanted to use my name and standing as a defence against what it saw as an international outcry against the alleged incident.
Is it because militants put pressure on them?
They were terrorised. That said, I agree such a complaint would not have been made unless there had been some incidents.
They had to show the commissioner was a man who was looked up to by the public has rejected the allegation.
When I first said was going there, Governor G C Saxena tried to discourage me. He said “no need to go (to Kunan-Poshpora), let the Army report.” Saxena was under a lot of pressure from the IG of the Border Security Force, (A K) Patel and others.
The ‘ifs and buts’ in such circumstances never pay off. Kashmir and India were on trial in those days.
He said nahin, let the whole controversy settle down, then we will clarify the matter.
It always was. But that was not my concern. I was a much younger man then. Wouldn’t you have looked at the consequences? A lot of Kashmiris have criticised me for not disclosing (the fact that the government had deleted parts of my report) earlier. I couldn’t embarrass the government.
If there is still an opportunity to re-probe this case effectively, it should be taken up.