Beyond Justice

The on-going conflict has adversely affected the psychology of the people especially the women.  Playing the saviour is not an easy job. It goes to your head and after some time, the saviour has to plan for his own resurrection.  Some people say administration of justice can heal the wounds but case studies have shown that justice alone cannot set things right. Something else is needed to console the sufferers.

 

 

After performing her son’s last rites, she went to bed much to the comfort of her relatives. After a while, she came out of her house and walked slowly to a tin shed in her backyard. Out she took out a shovel and paused for a moment. She looked behind. Nobody had noticed her. She walked towards the graveyard. However the village chowkidaar (watch man) had seen her. He followed her silently. She was heading towards the graveyard. The watch man grew suspicious. He grabbed her hand. “Leave me. I want to see my son’s face.” She intended to dig her son’s grave to have a look at his face.

The watchman took her to her house and informed the inmates about her intentions. Frightened, they always watched her. But, she repeated the exercise three times. Fortunately every time she was prevented by her family members to reach the graveyard.

Her son, Naseer was killed by Ikhwanis in 1998 in a Ganderbal village in the vicinity of her locality. The killing affected her nerves adversely. Medicines did not help her. The sages failed to do the needful. Meanwhile, an International NGO visited the village. The NGO sent its counsellors who did a nice job. After a few counselling sessions, the counsellors recommended livelihood support for her. The NGO gave her a few sheep. She looks after them and this has helped her overcome her problems.

The old lady said: “Previously I would always think of my son. I felt a vacuum in my chest. My relatives did all to console me but my condition worsened with every passing day. Now I remain busy with the sheep. I spend the entire day with them. And when I return in the evening, I am too tired to concentrate on anything. After taking food, I go to bed and in a few moments I am fast asleep.”

The old lady is all praise for the counsellors. “But for their help, I would have taken out my son from his grave,” she said.

Winter was severe in 2000. However, the onset of spring brought relief to Valley. The almond orchards in the Zampathri (Kellar) Pulwama, the place where 37-year-old Hasina lived with her husband Nazir Husain and four children were in full bloom.   

On a pleasant evening two militants Shabir Kohli and Qasim Kohli forced their entry into the house. Nazir was taken along. Hasina watched the abduction helplessly. This was the last time she saw her husband.

The militants did not harm Husain for two months. Somehow Hasina kept herself informed of her husband’s welfare.  His (Nazir’s) association with the militants sent wrong signals to the security agencies. They thought he had joined the militant outfit. His house was raided several times. The inmates were harassed and even thrashed.

After two months Hasina despite her untiring efforts could not get the much needed information about her husband. The un-ending search started but all in vain.  The aggrieved family went to Poonch and Rajouri to ascertain Nazir’s whereabouts but returned disappointed.

One day the militants, who had abducted Nazir met Hasina’s father-in-law. “Why are you wasting your money? Hum nay Nazir ko gaib kar diya hai (we have subjected him to disappearance). Abandon your search or we kill all of you”, they threatened. The ill-fated family had to abandon the search.

A few days later Hasina was thrown out of the house. On intervention of some elderly people, she was given a room where she now lives with her four children. She has nobody to fall back upon. She begs in Pulwama and Kellar to provide succour to her family. The youngest son, Shahid was only three months old when Nazir was abducted.  

   
Both the militants, Shabir Kohli and Qasim Kohli were killed by the army in an encounter soon after. But their killing has not made any difference to Hasina. She continues to suffer. Second marriage is not on her mind for the time being.
In both the cases the condition of the victims showed improvement not when the perpetrators were killed but when people came to do the nursing. Justice (bringing the perpetrators to the book) is important but the responsibilities of the society do not end with it. The victim needs time, care and of course means of earning livelihood.  The wounds do not heal even after this but it helps.

 Feedback: din.zahir@gmail.com