Anarchy in Kashmir

Jun 05, 2018

Anarchy is the only word that can describe the present state of affairs in Kashmir. And there can be no greater evil than anarchy. This anarchy is both ways. While the government is using all its tools and machinery in crushing common people to forced subjugation, some elements on streets augment it with stones in their hands.

It needs one to be bestial to run his vehicle over a person and crush him to death. The pictures of two downtown youth being run over by a CRPF vehicle on Friday (one of them succumbed on Saturday) outside Jamia Masjid is all about the animal ways we live in. The CRPF vehicle had come under intense stone-pelting of a protesting mob, and some frenzied protestors attempted to catch hold of the vehicle. Some people argue that CRPF people had no choice but to zip past the way they did but the real issue is why they chose to pass through a hostile area at a sensitive point of time against an agreement reached upon between the government and local people.

On May 25 (Friday) more than 50 worshippers were injured when the security forces fired pellets on protestors inside the central mosque. The mosque had to be closed for prayers to clean the blood-stained floor. The incident triggered massive outrage following which the J&K police agreed to a “peace plan” with the management of the mosque to not deploy forces in its vicinity during Friday prayers. It needs thorough investigation as how and why CRPF vehicle defied newly agreed SOP. Government also needs to look within. It cannot shy away under ruses and excuses of stone pelting. It is government’s repressive policy that adds to the anger on streets. Treating people in contempt is a standard procedure of operations by government forces in Kashmir. Besides humiliating and torturing them, the people are caged inside their homes making them to crave for food, water and other daily-use commodities. This is a tactics commonly used weapon by Israeli occupational forces in Palestinian-controlled Gaza strip.

The goal is simple and straight: to leave indelible imprints in the minds of the people, both the current and future generations — an image of unprecedented destruction — in the hope of erasing the memory of resistance and struggle amongst the people. In doing so government feels free to impose its goals, and instill a culture of obedience, and compliance with the occupying power. The tactics used by government in Jammu and Kashmir to control streets and establish façade of peace are not different.

Since 2008 peoples’ popular uprising, curfewing people inside their homes and subjecting them to humanitarian crises for the lack of food, medicine and water has been an oft-repeated tool with the government in Kashmir to bring people on knees. The same prescription was tried in 2009 and 2010 as well, when, besides targeting them with bullets and tear smokes shells, the state forces jailed people inside their houses by imposing strict curfew restrictions. This method of subjugation, more particularly in 2010, dominated Kashmir streets till the government was convinced that people’s will for resistance was completely exhausted. The same tactics were employed in 2016 after street rebellion following the killing of Burhan Wani. Kashmir is virtually under permanent siege. The killing of militant is understandable but how would government explain the killing of civilians.

This is savagery above limits that unarmed people would be so brutally killed for merely pelting stones and raising slogans. This has to stop somewhere. Where? That is something government has to seriously think about. Making police, CRPF and other security apparatus accountable for their actions is the foremost thing that could be done in this regard. Leaving them unbridled is causing more problems than solving one.