A tragic tale but such stories are rampant in Kashmir


Even for an absolutely apathetic person it will be very difficult to turn his face from the bone chilling and screaming headlines like those of, ‘Four Sons of Jana Begum’ and ‘Being Syeda Begum’. As a matter of fact, for any Kashmiri worth his name it would be immensely distressing a task to come to terms with such macabre news reports. It’s highly disturbing moreover profoundly a confusing situation, how to react? It can’t be anger. Whatever the intensity, anger after all, is a superficial reaction. In the absence of any expectation, there is no disappointment either. Is it hopelessness? Losing hope, what’s left then, than there would be no tomorrow? Forced to face the mirror, how to explain the feeling of anguish, frustration, and despair, all put together? It’s nothing else than a loss of collective character. In an active conflict situation, obviously sufferings pile up with every minute passing-by. Yet in conscious societies the accumulating sufferings steal the resolve of the people to face the adversities collectively, with added grit and determination. Regrettably, in our case the ever-mounting sufferings have truly whittled the sentiment of oneness.  Instead of coming together, we have unbelievably turned out to be indifferent towards miseries of the fellow human beings. The loss of feeling is a collective failure that adds to the guilt. Every one of us is a sufferer in one way or the other, yet each one of us has proved to be irresponsible in a big or little way. We are the sufferers, yet we only are the culprits. All to blame and none to be exonerated, a sombre occasion demanding all the sympathy, still it’s time to hang our heads in utter shame. 

The unbearable account of every widow or an orphan should make us humble; certainly we ought to feel sorry for the hell thousands of fellow human beings had to endure all these years of turmoil. It’s incumbent upon each and every Kashmiri to demand justice. The culprits whosoever (and howsoever powerful) have to be brought to justice. In pursuant of the justice we need to knock at every door. Be it judiciary, State and National Human Right Commission, international human rights bodies like UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, or host of other reputed groups or bodies. Whatever the forum available to us we should and we must try to avail the services of that to satisfy the profound urge of justice. Even if International Court of Justice comes into picture, why shy away from that? The widows, half widows, the disappeared, the hapless orphans, victims of fake encounters, all are the festering wounds on the body and soul of Kashmir. Unless the sufferings are brought to a halt, the idea of peace will be as fragile as the life itself in the conflict-ridden Kashmir. 

The nerve-wrecking saga of Jana or Syeda, in every aspect epitomises the sufferings of Kashmir. Yet there are thousands of such Janas and Syedas in every nock and corner of J&K. On one level suffering like these reflects the policy of state repression. Four sons of a widow were mercilessly slaughtered, perpetrators of worst crimes against the humanity at any cost needs to be punished. Besides seeking the justice, an international campaign in order to highlight the sufferings undoubtedly will bring added pressure on the concerned authorities to stop the policy of repression. Moreover the propensity to project the continued repression as a deliberate state design to crush the movement for ‘Right of Self Determination’ is not unique to Kashmir. In every conflict situation HR groups having sympathy with the popular sentiment strive to exploit the HR abuses to further the cause. Local groups also aiming to run a high profile HR campaign to pin-down the state are well within their rights to do so. Does the story end there only? Ideally it should not, yet pathetically it is the case.

State is to be rather it should be held responsible but what about our collective culpability.  How movements are sustained? Complaining persecution may earn few sympathises here and there. However, the movement for right of self determination is much broader and deeper a concept than any campaign to contest the policy of repression. In case repression ceases to exist, does that mean movement has lost its relevance? Four sons of a widow were martyred, state is responsible. A widow and mother of many martyrs, is forced to beg from door to door, where does the responsibility rests? A mother of four martyrs in any other freedom movement would have been decorated as mother of the nation. How we treated Jana Begum and Syeda Begum, we turned them as petty beggars. Still our leaders have the gall to ask the people to endlessly offer their sons to the cause. Movements cannot reach their logical conclusion without the blood and treasure being continuously offered.  But the manner we treat the families of martyrs, who will come forward to keep the boat afloat? Let us ask an honest question, to ourselves only. Is the killer more a criminal than we the people? The destroyer of the collective trust that demolishes the movement eventually is far greater a criminal than anyone else.

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