By Abdul Majid Zargar
Speaking in a seminar at the UN in Geneva, titled, “Defending the Democratic Processes” the British parliamentarian, George Galloway once said that India is using rape as a weapon of occupation in occupied Kashmir. It has made rape as an instrument of State Policy to subjugate & coerce People of Kashmir into submission. If any proof was needed to Gallowaly’s charge it was provided by New-Delhi in ample measure when it refused to implement Justice Vema Panel’s recommendation to take out crime of rape out of the protective shield provided by the ambit of AFPSA law.
Thousands of rapes have been committed by security forces in Kashmir since 1990 and one such rape of a young bride, Mubina Ghani of Muhripora, District Islamabad, Kashmir is & will be remembered for long because it changed the whole tradition of celebrating the marriages & transporting “Barats”during night time.
It was Just before the fateful midnight on 18 May 1990 that a bus carrying 27 members of a family wedding party approached a roadblock manned by soldiers of the Border Security Forces (BSF) near Badasgam village in Kashmir, India. As the bus rolled to a halt, the soldiers opened fire, killing the bridegroom’s brother and wounding at least nine others, including the bride – 18-year-old Mubina Gani – and her husband. “We lay down under the seats and pretended to be dead,” she said. “After the shooting they came inside and started to beat everyone.” Some of the soldiers dragged me and my pregnant aunt into a nearby field. We were crying bitterly. I told them that I had not yet seen my husband. But they didn’t listen. They took off our clothes…and then we were raped. Four to six men raped me, I think.” Suffering from shock and gunshot wounds, Mubina Gani was taken away and held in military custody for 48 hours. Indian officials initially claimed that the bus had accidentally been caught in a cross-fire. However, the Superintendent of the Anantnag police later confirmed that the BSF had fired on the bus indiscriminately and that the two women had been gang-raped.
Recalling the horrific event, Mubeena’s sister, Shaheen, who was nine then said, “I cannot forget that fateful night and those images continue to haunt me. From that day onwards, my heart beats fast as soon I see any one in the khakis and even I don’t pass by the place where the incident occurred.”
There are two unusual thing about this rape. First is the fact that it has been publicly reported and the second is that the bridegroom, Mr. Abdul Rashid did not desert his bride but showed exemplary courage & valor in owning her as his better-half
Our salutes to the brave Couple!
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: [email protected])