Curbs on seminar to recall 2010 killings of innocent youth in most reprehensible

Stifling people’s voice
While the State government has failed so far to order independent and credible probe into the killing of over 215 youth in 2010 in Kashmir by the police and other security forces and punish the guilty, its action in placing curbs on the seminar to remember and pay homage to the victims, planned by the Hurriet Conference in Srinagar on Wednesday, most reprehensible as it is, must be condemned by those who cherish human values and democratic rights of the citizens. The venue of the proposed seminar, Hyderpora residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was under siege by the strong contingents of police, from the wee hours on Wednesday. All roads leading to Geelani’s residence were also sealed, with the police preventing the people to reach there for participating in the seminar. However, defying such curbs a large number of people including the parents of the killed youth and some of the separate leaders like Shabir Ahmed Shah and Nayeem Khan managed to reach the place. Geelani, who has been placed under house arrest defied the curb orders and came out at the adjoining Airport road where he was joined by several others for a sit in dharna to protest against the ban on seminar. On the one hand the chief minister Omar Abdullah admits that those killed were innocents, though he fails hold independent probes into such cases, not to talk of punishment to the killers in khaki, his government acts in most inhuman manner even to allow them to pay homage to those gunned down by the police. 

It is not the only occasion that the State authorities have acted in this high-handed manner by placing curbs on the rallies and seminars planned to pay homage to the victims of state terrorism and protest against the human rights abuses. Last month the political leaders were prevented to proceed to Shopian to pay homage to Asia and Nilofer, raped ad murdered by the security forces. Even the function planed in this regard by the local civil society was not allowed by imposing curbs o the people’s movements. Same was the case regarding the rallies planned to pay homage to Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone, on May 21 and May 22. 

The Chief Minister and his party do not appear to have learnt any lesson from their humiliating rout in the recent election to Lok Sabha, when it failed to win any seat in the Valley. Apart from the poor performance of the government it was the widespread anger against the government on account of grave human rights abuses including the curbs on their freedom and right to protest which resulted in the ruling establishment’s discomfiture. They have refused to learn appropriate lessons from their mistakes committed in the recent past. The coercive methods to silence the voice of the people or to suppress their genuine urges ad aspirations, as the past experience has shown, will only prove counter-productive.