Shame in the face of denial - Khurshid speaks out on Kashmir mass rape 22 years ago Srinagar, June 28: Foreign minister Salman Khurshid today referred to an alleged mass gang rape by the army in Kashmir 22 years ago to say that he felt ashamed at the incident and regretted his inability to do anything about it. To a question, the minister said that if he supported a resolution of the Kashmir dispute outside the ambit of the Indian Constitution, he might lose his job. Khurshid is the first Union minister to have expressed regrets about the alleged Kunanposhpora rapes, which the army and the Centre claim never took place. Some 125 jawans had allegedly gang-raped at least 31 women in the north Kashmir village in 1991. The Press Council of India, invited by the army to investigate, had backed its version. But the alleged incident is etched deep in the Valleyâ€™s collective memory and is said to have driven many young men to militancy. A Kupwara court this month ordered a reinvestigation after a citizensâ€™ petition claimed the police probe had been â€œincomplete and mala fideâ€. â€œI am honestly appalled that this has happened to my family. I may even say that I am shocked that I am not able to do anything about it.â€ He said the situation in Kashmir resembled a â€œwarâ€. â€œSo many people who donâ€™t deserve to suffer, suffer in a war. But at the end of the war you still shake hands, sign a peace document and begin to talk to the very people who have been killing and marauding you. It is a moral dilemma. It is an emotional dilemma,â€ he said. He was asked why New Delhi did not agree to a solution outside the Constitution. â€œIf I was to say whether we think we can think out of the Constitution, I lose my job at home,â€ the minister said. â€œBecause the rest of the people of India believe that they havenâ€™t elected me to participate in an exercise where I willingly sacrifice a part of India. That is the reality we have to live with.â€ Khurshid said the best way to resolve issues was to keep talking about them and cited the US-Taliban dialogue. â€œPeople talk when it becomes clear to them that practically nothing else will work, and (when) to the government it becomes clear that a military solution is not the way to move forward,â€ he said. â€œWhy is there at least a beginning of an effort to talk between the Taliban and Americans or the Taliban and the Afghans (government)? Because I think they all have after 10 years of fighting come to the conclusion that this is not going to go anywhere, this will carry on for 20 years, 30 and 40 yearsâ€¦. The fact is, they have come to a conclusion that they are people who can talk and people who must talk.â€ Khurshid defended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act though he clarified that he had â€œno fixed positionâ€ on it and that the unbridled powers enjoyed by the forces could be questioned. â€œWe have lost some very brave cadres in the forces. They have not come here to enjoy (themselves) but they were ordered to do so. If we count human lives, human lives are the same no matter who it is,â€ he said. â€œWe have to protect them (the forces) as well because they protect us at the border... (but) we can say, â€˜You enjoy an imbalanced protectionâ€™.â€ Lost bunny Khurshid, who lived in Srinagar as a boy, recounted his sense of loss when his pet bunny ran away and drew parallels with the pain felt now by Kashmiris, PTI reported. â€œOn one side was our house and on the other was the (army) cantonment. There was a wooden fencing which was broken at one place. Small children could pass through it,â€ he told state Congress workers. â€œI had raised a white bunny. One day, the bunny ran through this opening into the cantonment and did not come backâ€¦. I (still) have a longing to get that bunny back.â€ He added: â€œThat bunny became a symbol (to me) of the beautiful life here and of the unity and progress of this place. It seems that you are also yearning to get that bunny back in your lives.â€ Khurshid said the incident happened when his father worked with a transport company in Srinagar. â€œMy first introduction to Srinagar made me believe that the entire world is beautiful like Srinagar.â€ Shame in the face of denial ******************************************************* Couple of issues come to mind; 1. If indeed there was a mass rape, then the total command and control of the army unit had been compromised. Which means: (A) the officers, JCOs had lost all control and should have been court martialled since it was totally against the ethos of the military and was counter productive to the concept of 'winning the hearts and minds'. In short, totally derailing the process of defeating terrorism. (B) that all concerned, be it the Army, the International and Indian Human Rights Organisation, the foreign and domestic media, the Judiociary, the State Govt and the Central Govt were complicit or totally impotent. 2. How did an otherwise aggressive media overseeing body like the Press Council of India give a clean chit? 3. How was it that the pro Pakistan lobby in Kashmir was silent and did not do the song and a dance that they do for even minor issues, and not for such a grave crime? 4. How is it that the Ministers at the Centre not take cognisance? 5. How is it that Salman Khurshed not take it up with the Cabinet, when he was a Minister in a variety of posts, like Minority Affairs, Law and now Foreign. 6. What makes him now speak out and why does he not give details? It just appears that the Congress Party is leaving no stones unturned to fool the public so that they can approach the election with a little more confidence and calm their shattered nerves. And Salman Khurshed is one who can lie through his teeth as we have seen on so many occasions. Giving him the benefit of doubt, if this is true, it should be investigated and the culprits brought to book. And if it is not, then Salman Khurshed should be tried for sedition as a traitor! Like his bunny, he should get lost!