2010 killings 4 years on

Truth must come out in one of the worst periods of repression in Kashmir’s history
Four years after 2010 killings, that dark chapter in Kashmir’s history continues to serve as both the memory of collective pain and anger as well as the symbol of the wide rift and gap between the rulers and the ruled, particularly in the Valley. Four years on, justice remains undone despite the chief minister admitting in 2011, on the floor of the state legislative assembly that majority of those gunned down were innocents. Not a single case of 2010, despite the enormous figure of over 120 and the countless injured some of them physically handicapped for life, have till date been investigated adequately enough. FIRs are still not registered in many of the cases and the rest, despite cosmetic customary probes, remain in limbo. The same is the fate of the cases of violations of human rights before and after the turbulence of 2010. There has been no forward movement in any of the cases that have been long pending. The series of deaths began with the killing of Tufail Matoo on June 11, 2010 reportedly in a place in downtown at quite a distance from where protests against the Macchil encounter were being held. The noise of the mild protests grew louder only after Tufail Matoo’s killing and reached their crescendo as one after the other youth were killed not just in Srinagar but across the Valley. The government failed to realise that protests and outrage of the people, which is a natural fallout of this pattern of human rights violations with a clear cover of impunity, cannot be crushed through brutal and repressive means, nor de-legitimised by a pack of lies or by putting the entire onus of the provocation of protests on barricaded separatists, handful of militants or the opposition. The manner in which young boys including Sameer Rah, as young as 9 years old, were treated as sitting ducks was a shameful reflection of how government used its forces to unleash a wave of repression. 

At a time when the National Conference has busied itself in self introspecting its recent electoral debacle, it may be useful to locate much of their failure in dealing with the 2010 unrest, how brutal arms of law and order machinery were pressed into service to torture, kill and arrest anyone and how official jargon justified these killings by coining phrases like ‘Lashkar agents’ and ‘paid stone pelters’. The wave of repression is unparalleled in any part of democratised world. The denial of justice thereafter is equally unprecedented. Justice not only remains stonewalled, young boys are still picked up whimsically and branded as stone pelters, four years after the bloody summer of 2010, even if they may or may not have picked up a stone in their fit of anger against police and security forces; the burden of proving their innocence falls on those who are detained. This four year period is interspersed by complete skepticism, betrayal of faith in system of justice fostered mainly by the abject denial to provide legal justice, revealing that Kashmir cannot move on without addressing the issue of human rights and the question of fair legal justice system. Chief minister Omar Abdullah before he assumed the reins of power in 2008 had extensively talked about Truth and Reconciliation as a model for addressing the large scale human rights violations in Kashmir in the last two decades. Truth is the most vital component of such a model. After his coronation, he not only abandoned the slogan but contributed to the graph of human rights abuse in a big way, 2010 killings being the worst evidence. If he really wants to make amends to improve his own political fortunes and that of his party, he could well begin with some truth telling about 2010, even if reconciliation may not be acceptable to all the victims.