Kashmir’s tryst with peace has proved short lived yet again , thanks to the vacuous & barbaric killing of another young man Hilal Ahmad of Bandipora. Hours before a shepherd was injured when the forces fired upon him indiscriminately. Still admitted in the Hospital battling for life, it will be a near miracle if he survives.
In the election 2009, Bandipora constituency was the first to go to polls and it returned around 70% polling. The theory of probability tells us that both the deceased Hilal Ahmad & injured shepherd must have cast their votes and put the current ruling regime in chair. In return one has been awarded a death sentence & the other a crippling injury by the forces acting directly or indirectly under the control of same very chair through unified command. A great tribute indeed!
Kashmiri Muslims have been mauled , cleaved and dehumanised by a system in which only the writ of security forces work. They have the unfailing habit of creating reasons for mass disruption at regular intervals just to remind the natives that they are here and you cannot live in peace unless & until you are fully & truly subjugated. A bereft political leadership at the centre and a state leadership playing a mercenary role for them has neither the desire nor the will to investigate at the macro level the reasons behind the recurring episodes of needless killings by the various wings of the police and the military, which by their regularity and timing must certainly be significantly more than the aberrations they are made out to be. The resultant massive disaffection and alienation of the people against praetorian India is being further managed by creating a police state and buying the loyalties of a miniscule section of the populace. The net achievement – Even as Kashmir is becoming more dependent socially & economically on New-Delhi, the two are getting more divided politically.
Great nations never try to correct the history, but only learn from it. India is doing exactly the opposite in Kashmir. Without learning anything from what Kalhana has said that Kashmiris may be conquered by love but cannot be suppressed by force, it is trying to re-write and change the Kashmir history through military pen & ink. Since 2002, it has procured approximately seven billion US dollars in weaponry from the Israeli state. Seven billion dollars is a colossal sum for India, where 40 percent of the world’s poor reside. Eight of the poorest states in India are more impoverished than the 26 poorest countries of the African continent. Seven billion dollars, in addition to the other monies and resources invested in the militarization of Kashmir, do not evidence an intent to attempt a political solution but manage the territory through barrel of the Gun. Compare this with the era when India’s first Prime Minster Nehru, with his characteristic pride, famously told the U.S. President, Eisenhower that Indians were no international mendicants for weapons.
Human rights violations in Kashmir will not stop without seriously thinking over demilitarization of the State. Let it start by relocating the army strictly on borders & auxillary forces confined to barracks. Let India’s political class not think that by committing these doables, its power over Kashmir will be ruptured. Let required political steps be taken in right earnest to attempt a just solution. Demonizing Syed Ali shah Geelani, attacking umer Farooq or critcising Yaseen Malik is no option. It has to accept the hard realities and take the proverbial bull by horn. Remember if Kashmir issue remain unresolved, it will soon become the focus of a new grand game as America and ISAF forces begin to withdraw from Afghanistan. With an assertive China, India is likely to become the new Pakistan for America to act as a proxy for the new cold war with China.
Had the state and the central leaderships at the very least made even a pretence at disciplining the forces deployed in Kashmir during and after the last three summers of unrest, Sopore could possibly not have happened. The chief minister’s simulated anger at the latest custodial killing, and his stern warnings of exemplary punishment, are not likely impress anyone, certainly not the police and the other forces whose leadership and tactics have not even been censured, let alone penalized, for the hundreds of lives lost in avoidable lethal action. The chief minister may rest assured that Sopore is not the last that has been heard of custodial killings and fake encounters in Kashmir (Poonch, incidentally, happened just 10 days later). Such incidents will continue until a drastic purge of the police and the military, which may not be forthcoming anytime soon,
Human rights violations in Kashmir will not stop without removing the military. The military cannot be removed without surgically rupturing India’s will to power over Kashmir.