With the gruesome murder of two innocent boys in village Markundal, District Bandipora, the mayhem & blood shed continues in Kashmir. The Army, having tasted blood not once but on umpteen times, have an unsatiated appetite and like predators they make frequent forays into unsuspecting flocks of weak & meek and hunt without any accountability. They know that each incident will be followed by a strike for a day or two, a little violence here & there and things back to normal in few days. And when the ostensible peace returns, they go back to their place to perform vishkarma (A special puja to Worship weapons) to prepare for a fresh onslaught.
Elie Wiesel once said that Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe. All boundaries for that piece of land must go and it must become the centre of concern for people of the globe to raise voices for them. But in our case the international community is silent as grave. Even if the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is considered to be a non-international (internal) armed conflict, India has to abide by Article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions and customary international humanitarian law. This law prohibits attacks against civilians and civilian objects, and requires that civilians (and even captured combatants) be treated humanely at all times. Serious violations of the laws of war are war crimes, which states have a duty to prosecute. Indian security forces are also bound by international human rights law, such as is found in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India ratified in 1979. Human rights law prohibits extrajudicial executions, torture and other mistreatment, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrest and detention. States have a duty under international law to investigate and prosecute serious violations of human rights. But none in international community reminds India of its obligations.
There is another dimension to these barbarous killings which has by & large remained unnoticed & uncommented so far. Why it so that among the protestors, which comprise of old & young, men & women, abled & disabled only young boys in most reproductive age (Upto 35 years) get killed? A cursory look at the data from 2008 till now reveals that this age group is the most vulnerable one and forms around 85% of total killed. Prima facie it is a well planned targeted killing to which international community must pay its immediate attention.
And in India, the unending persecution of people of Kashmir is been buried under the rubric of the world’s largest democracy. There is no democracy in Kashmir; only military rule and the law of the gun. In fact the presence of more than 700,000 Indian military and paramilitary forces have made Kashmir the largest army concentration anywhere in the world. No amount of barbarity on Kashmiris causes any twinges of conscience to most Indians but any adverse comment on their human rights record touches a raw nerve. Its civil society once active to lecture us on Gandhian methods of resistance instead of Subhash Chander Bose’s and successful to a great extent, is now in hiding. Their silence is their acquiescence in what their great Country is doing in Kashmir. The bankrupt ruling leadership at the centre and a state leadership playing a mercenary role for it cannot muster any courage will or authority to investigate recurring episodes of needless killings by the various wings of the police and the military. It has no guts to ask the marauders to stop its nefarious design of demolishing the humans in Kashmir.
Throughout the conflict in Jammu and Kashmir, impunity from prosecution for serious crimes has been a common thread. Impunity occurs when the state consistently fails in its responsibility—because of a lack of capability or political will or laws shielding state abusers—to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable. This creates an atmosphere in which violators believe that they can get away with the most serious crimes. As stated by the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly in its March 2006 resolution on the right of victims of human rights abuses to a remedy, states must investigate violations effectively, promptly, thoroughly and impartially and, where appropriate, take action against those allegedly responsible in accordance with domestic and international law.
The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people which history is duly recording. And Remember the golden words of Elie wiesel – “ I sware never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at email@example.com)