We the underlings
‘The fault (dear Brutus) is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings.’—– William Shakespeare.
On a vote cast they fawn on us, hug us, praise us beyond measure. They club us amongst the integrated members of the ‘ democratic ’ family. They disseminate our ‘faith expression’ throughout the world, as far as they can. They climb cloud nine to write epitaphs for (what they denounce as) ‘separatist forces’ . The media houses in triumphant mood are burping up in sonorous belches whenever they see something `good’ happening in Kashmir. They conclude that finally democracy has captured ‘hearts and minds’ of the estranged Kashmiris .
We are humans that single day. Our citizenship rights have that 8-hour warranty. Dogs cannot growl on us that precious day as we are far more empowered. Animal rights activists cannot censure us that day. Even pepper and pellet handlers, who usually don’t miss to soak us, grin at us. The entire India owns us. Equated to them in all measure. Photo-journalists and reporters are feeding us in silver spoons. Bridegrooms of Indian democracy we are welcomed as. From pseudo-secularists to staunch communalists 24 carats we are parroted for the day.
But as we wake up “hopefuls” of tomorrow we see Cleopatra of democracy growling at us furiously. The human they acclaimed out of us yesterday loses place and face value. Everything is bitter now. In nationalist robes they vie each other to see us scripted of the last shreds of human dignity. From Kanyakumari to Lakhanpore, from Imphal to Porebandar everyone looks immune to our sufferings. They derive sadistic pleasure every time we are sucked in inferno of injustice.
An Indian loyalist, in the capacity of an elected chief minister and under the powers vested to him by the constitution, releases a political leader, Masrat Aalam, who has been detained for the last five years in violation of norms of justice. It can be said that the decision was politically motivated and PDP aimed to pacify the anger generated against its courting the communalist forces. That too though would have benefitted India in the long run. The release, however, triggered a political storm in India. All tridents were drawn against Mufti and his party. Now from a pakka Hindustani has evolved a ‘soft separatist’ who is releasing a ‘dreaded terrorists’ from jails to please ‘separatists’. Ultra-nationalists, secularists, liberals, democrats and , not to forget mother of all sins, corporate media, all went ballistic on the release as if survival of India was hostage to Masrat’s release. And once set free would make seven lakh troops run for their lives. Prime minister Modi taking umbrage at the release told the charged parliament, ‘ It is nation’s outrage and there would be no compromise on integrity of the country’. He warned, ‘ His government would not tolerate anything undemocratic.’ Opposition parties screamed that question of national security demands extra-ordinary measures. Goswami’s adrenalin was not stopping pumping through the glands of Indian politicians. So much the outrage across the political spectrum of India that Mufti was forced to put on hold release of other political prisoners.
Masarat’s release was purely an administrative decision. Law and order is state’s domain and state is not under obligation to consult or inform centre on this issue. To handle such day to day affairs the chief minister cannot be coerced to toe Delhi’s line or seek approval from its coalition partner and then enforce them. In exactly demanding that Delhi has undermined the authority of an elected chief minister in JK and stamped puppet on his hips. It is again a crude attempt on part of Delhi to manipulate Kashmir colonial way. It did prop up many a ‘elected’ government, but reality is it emasculated them of real power and reduced them to capons of the state. Delhi has conveyed once again it is not yet ready to shed off that hang over. Even if the elections are comparatively more transparent and fair.
And then why this outrage, stinging criticism, vociferous protest on Masarat getting free through normal process of law? In fact his detention under the draconian AFSPA was without legally mandated trial in a court of law. He does not face any criminal charge despite his repeated detention under the black law-17 times since 1990. Out of 27 FIRs filed against him since 1993 for his ‘separatist activities’ he got bail in 26 and acquitted in the remaining one. So what Mufti did was not any favor. If anything Mufti did was he took a corrective measure that was long over due. And in doing so he didn’t breached any law. There were no fresh grounds for Masarat’s continued detention. JK High Court has categorically laid down that a person cannot be detained twice under the same grounds and for fresh detention there need fresh grounds. Then there is Supreme Court ruling which says that government cannot keep someone under preventive detention for more than two years. What Mufti did ‘democratic’ India should have applauded. But as and whenever Kashmir comes, it is double standard bordering on neo-colonialism that Delhi identifies itself for. Tell us if a man like Mufti you cannot trust and allow him run the state in accordance with rule of law, then why waste so much on elections. Why not rule from Delhi directly?
It is unfortunate on part of former chief minister Omar Abdullah taking credit for an administrative action that is an insult and affront to entire justice system. His soul is too corrupted to feel the pangs of guilty conscience