BLEEDING KASHMIR: The Lawfully Lawless Land

By Syed Maajid Rashid Andrabi

 

Since the onset of armed conflict, the people of the valley have experienced every nightmarish incident. Enforced disappearances, tortures, extra judicial killings, violation of the basic human rights etc all have given rise to a vicious atmosphere in the valley that is quite evident from all spheres. Since it is the most militarized zone in the world, so is its sensitivity, which can take an ugly twist at any point of time and turn this heavenly piece into a hell. In this highly militarized zone the life and liberty of people is governed by draconian legislations awarding arbitrary and excessive powers of preventive detention, arrest, search, seizure and power to shoot to kill on suspicion, use lethal force, such as the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, Jammu and Kashmir Disturbed Areas Act, and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1990. Human rights violation by security forces has touched the limits and inspite of great hue and cry against it, its accountability is still questionable. What is the most disastrous and objectionable, is the possession of unbridled powers with the security forces which gives them the impunity to act as per their wishes and wreck havoc on the already distressed people. Unfortunately a place where every person is looked at with suspicion and has to prove his identity inspite of being one’s own homeland can never be a place of rejoice and contentment for that soul.

What is being seen at present is just the outrage of the extremities that the people of this vale have been inflicted with. There is hardly anyone who hasn’t been the sufferer, for this place is witness to long spates of violence and killings. Horrific tales of brutality with emotional scenes of bidding adieu to the loved ones have done irreparable damages to the people of the valley. The sensitivity has reached to the alarming levels and is thus, very fragile to maintain. A little mistake and the whole valley gets to the brink.  The summer of 2016 is a stark reminder of the massive uprising that even puzzled the security forces about how to re-establish peace and bring the valley out from the dreadful scenes of violence. Winter came as a breather for the state and the protests gradually wore off bringing a sigh of relief to the authorities which were still perplexed. The damages were very huge and the harsh tactics had further sowed the seeds of disaffection. The long spate of alienation has given rise to hatred and revulsion in the form of protests which have become a part of life of the people of valley. Hardly any day passes by when we don’t get to hear about protests. While the memories of the previous year’s turmoil were still afresh, the killings on the day of election in Srinagar, added to the dance of bloodbath which the Kashmir is known for. If this was not enough, the unjustified show of might by security forces on the students, in Pulwama, in which many of them got grievously injured while some were arrested, furthermore gave room for a new season of turmoil in Kashmir. This time the students had taken the security forces head on and were vociferous in their resentment against the law and order enforcing agencies. Like that of other cases, this too was highly intimidating and strongly condemned. The consequence was wide spread protests by students and closing down of schools for precautionary measure. How can a nation progress when its education imparting institutions are being under unnecessary vigil and the students are frisked? It is such an unfortunate scenario where the education has to suffer for want of containing any untoward incident. Such a scene is very dreadful and shameful in the context that even the education has to become the victim of violence. Any form of government which is well versatile could have contained the situation at earnest, but how the students had to suffer at the hands of security forces prompted them to get more aggressive, thereby, aggravating the already horrible situation. Regrettably the valley of Kashmir has become synonymous to pain and sacrifice.

It won’t be an exaggeration to state that the people of the valley are left at the mercy of the God for there is nothing which can alleviate their pain and sufferings keeping in view what they are promised of and later what they have to settle with. Multiple governments but the end results same. All successive governments have failed to reinstate the lost trust among the people which is the only reason that the people have become indifferent in their approach towards the different parties contesting elections. It is as though the shackles of repression have lost their power to keep the distressed people aback from registering their protest and showing their disgust against the tyranny in the form of protests which are very tough for the authorities to deal with. Their abhorrence against the authorities at the helm of affairs has never been upto that extent as is being displayed today. Timely and prompt action in redressing the grievances of the people would have inculcated confidence building measures among the people but for want of that, several decades have passed and that too to no avail. The present trend has taken the authorities aback on every foot as the expenditure to contain law and order situations has been on the rise like never before as is justified by the annual report of the ministry of Home affairs which states that during the financial year 2016-2017 (till February 2017), Rs 988.55 crore has been “reimbursed to J&K government under Security Related Expenditure (Police), which is the highest ever”. In fact, last year’s expenditure nearly equals the total spending of 1082.37 crore from 1989 till 2016. Time has come when the government needs to decide that whether it wants to facilitate the development of the valley by engaging in fruitful discussions with all stake holders by devising a suitable policy for the common good of all, or, continue to act like a mute spectator to the heeds of the people and be a witness to the destruction and despondency. Ideally the government should start honoring the basic human rights of the people which is the first and foremost condition that could re-establish its stand towards the welfare of the people. Furthermore it should send a stern message to the law and order enforcing agencies to exhibit maximum restraint while dealing with unruly mob and this should be followed practically not just for namesake.

The author is B.Tech- MBA and can be reached at Syedmajidr59@gmail.com.     

 

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