Author: Freny Manecksha

Freny Manecksha worked as a journalist for publications like The Daily, BLITZ, The Times of India, Indian Express and Mid-day. She has been an independent journalist and has focused on Kashmir and particularly women’s narratives from there.
Her recent book "Behold, I Shine: Narratives of Kashmir's Women and Children" was published in 2017

February 23, 2018 /

On a cold day, some 27 years ago, Juma Sheikh, chowkidar of the twin hamlets of Kunan and Poshpora, Kupwara district in Kashmir, approached tehsildar Sikandar Malik with a letter written in Urdu signed and supported by thumb prints of the villagers. In elaborate and formal language the letter detailed the horrific ordeal of sexual violence and torture that they had suffered on the intervening night of February 23 and 24 at the hands of 4 Rajputana Rifles that had come in for a cordon and search. The victims reportedly ranged from a 60 year old woman to a 14 year old girl and a pregnant woman nearing full term. The men were not spared. Herded outside in the snow to makeshift interrogation centres they were subjected to various forms of torture like having chilli powder rubbed on the genitals or subjected to electric shocks in their private parts.