ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Culture of Impunity

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On 30 May 2018, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police filed a status report before the chief judicial magistrate of Srinagar regarding the sexual favours that Major Gogoi of the 53 Rashtriya Rifles had sought from a local Kashmiri woman on 23 May 2018. The police claimed that it was a case of consenting adults as the woman was 19 years old and because neither she nor the hotel staff, who had prevented their stay, had filed a complaint. Against this official inaction, the Peoples Union for Democratic Rights draws attention to the facts of the case that suggest it to be one of abuse of power by an army man in a disturbed area.    

The polices emphasis on the absence of a complaint as evidence of consent is questionable, as it fails to address the fears that civilians have of men in uniform in a conflict area where, under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the military enjoys enhanced powers and immunity. The circumstances of the present case, as reported in the press, illustrate this impunity. Using a fake identity on social media to solicit her company, Gogoi and his driver, Sameer Malla, had, on two occasions, made unsolicited visits to the womans house in Budgam in civilian dress. The driver, a renegade, had barged in and the family maintained that he acted as a pimp. The girl was not aware of the real identity of Gogoi when she interacted with him over Facebook, and her silence over her subsequent interactions is disquieting. The family has not filed a complaint as they feel vulnerable and fear the consequences.

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Published On : 8th Jun, 2018

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