Beyond News-room bliss


            For the past three weeks Radio Kashmir Srinagar in its prime evening time news bulletin, both Kashmiri and Urdu, has gone gung-ho about projecting its new "brand". Just as oligopolists do in markets for goods to keep people in thraldom, the news-room authoritries, at the behest of their masters in New Delhi or to prove themselves more loyal than the king, are selling what they say, the voice of ‘former divisional commander of Hizbul Mujahideen’. As a "preface" or "fore-word" to the news  the news masters in Radio Kashmir Srinagar have assigned to themselves the duty of introducing ‘a youth who was led astray and now has realised his wrong-doings and embarked on a right path’. With that "preening" follows the mea-culpa of a Kashmiri youth who in Islamabad accent says: ‘Code-named Basharat of Hizbul Mujahideen’. Who ‘is remorseful of choosing the path that brought nothing but death and destruction’ and now ‘has cooperated with the police who treated me well and assured of every help and assustance for living a  normal life….’
 
            How does a commander of a militant outfit is projected on air-ways and how his "Eureka moment" [in Archimede’s way] is taken by the audience and how he is pated by his "whistle-blowers",  these things though important are  not, however germane to my argument. Argument that democracy does not recognise forked tongues, biased approach, colored spectacles and tailored interpretation. Well, Basharat they have focussed on and projected. For what they regard as ‘service’ to ‘humanity’ and ‘showing a right path’ to the ‘young generation’ in Kashmir. A "professional duty" they think are doing. But the question is why this curiosity stops when issues of more grave concern beg for equal treatment and pre-eminance? Irrespective of digging into the circumastances and compulsions of this purpoted "change of heart" and the veracity of the truth behind the Basharat’s story,  the point is does not ‘proffessional duty’ demand disseminating of truth on unnamed mass graves in Kashmir that different human rights groups, including those from India, unearthed in the very recet path and which the state owned Human Rights Commission has also put its seal of authentication.
 
            Thirty-six mass graves have been found in the border district of Kupwara in North Kashmir. Nearly three thousand people, overwhelming majority of innocent Kashmiri people, it is believed have been dumped into them after they were forcibly taken out of their homes by Indian Armed Forces. This revolution has stunned people. With the disclosure of mass graves in Kupwara, the story of other districts they believe would not be different. The   Association of Disappeared Persons, states that more than ten thousand people in Kashmir have got disappeared and their whereabouts are not known. There are apprehensions that disappeared persons are burried in these mass graves.
 
            The news-room producers offer hospitality of the public institution to persons like Basharat to mouth his spleen out, and they do it for the last three weeks at a stretch, but the wails of, say, the mother of a Kupwara village woman whose two sons have been subjected to forced disappearance are forbidden to enjoy such a catholicity. You stretch your news-room table-cloth to far off rebels in places like balochistan and malign Pakistan government and its security agencies for alleged attrocities on Balochistan people. But in your own backyard you skip over gut-wrenching incidents like Machil fake-encounter, the recent Nazim Rashid’s custody killing, not to speak of mass-uprisings that saw surge of millions unarmed protesting people on streets of Kashmir during 2008, 2009 and 2010. Karachi is a news for the news-hounds.
 
The news-annalysis and comments on  Pakistan’s  ‘failure state’ you are religiously seized with, but never for once the slightest concern for the shatttered families of Kashmirees whose 117 blooming youths were gunned down mercilessly and five thousands disabled for life in last years summer mass uprising. Your news-room is too narrow to accomodate the heart-breaking shrieks of the parents of a 10 year old child who was brutally killed by forces last year. Imagine the unbearable pain his parents would have endured when during the performance of his last rites the toffee in his mouth has not yet melted. Which Kalashinkoeff the budding terrorist was carrying? Perhaps the toffe in his mouth was the ‘live ammunation’ soldiers were terrified at and in ‘retaliation’ killed him in ‘defending their lives’.
 

            Basharat’s sermon in a place governed under the draconian laws of AFSPA, DAA and PSA is bound to boomerang. It might give you news-room bliss, but beyond that it has no access. Rather it is bound to evoke sniggers.