Enforced disappearances must stop

Every time incident of terrorism or stone pelting is publicized on national media I try to press my memory hard to recall whether there was even a single day when the genuine concerns of the suffering calls of Kashmiris was highlighted.

 

 

I am talking in context to thousands of enforced disappearances in Kashmir. It is a state where there is a hype of peace, but people of Jammu and Kashmir have witnessed unabated human rights abuses, denial of civil and political rights, and most importantly absence of mechanisms of justice. When the helpless mothers of the disappeared wail to see their children and protest, they are immediately given statistical figures of disappearances which keeps on vacillating each year from time to time.

The derision is that the democratic institutions consider it to be a collateral damage of militancy. Others may think that in order to combat terrorism such things happen for a greater good but the question here arises – What about the fundamental rights that are guaranteed to every citizen in the constitution of India.

Going through these laws one may feel secured that the laws are stringent enough to respect the dignity of an individual and prevent any kind of exploitation but on the other hand the unveiled reality in Kashmir speaks volumes about implementation of such laws. Over the years since year 1989, 3429 persons are missing in Jammu and Kashmir according to the government report tabled on the floor of legislature by CM and much expected it was contradictory to the figures provided by APDP (Association of Parent’s of Disappeared Persons).

 Each year hundreds of people assemble in historic ‘Partap Park’ in order to seek information about their relatives from the government but its perpetual silence and non seriousness is much more painful for the families than the years they spent without the family members. Every uprising for a Kashmiri has costed much more than thought of. Psychologically disturbed and numb are the families who lost their loved ones and have no confirmation of their life. The mother of a family awaits her son each night and even the slightest movement awakens her to arrival of her child. When the father moves out to earn and sees children going to school he is reminded of his disappeared son, the brother misses someone to play cricket with and the sister feels unguarded and her heart bleeds for the return of her brother. This is the plight of every affected family.

Unfortunately nobody has bothered how the actual condition of the family is. Not many people from the society want to share the burden of silence they have been carrying over the years. This reflects the importance of this issue for us as a society. We often keep on criticizing government for the continued failure to meet their rehabilitation but as citizens we first hold the same responsibility towards them. We have sufficient number of lawyers, financially able persons, activists, politicians who can help in taking ahead the cause and rehabilitate the families but no one really seems to be interested.

It should be noted that the disappearances not only took place from the Srinagar city but major chunk of rural belt has contributed to it. Be it South or North Kashmir both have stories untold, no one has reached to them. They just want traces of their dear ones.

Authorities need to understand that demanding the where about of relatives in no case violate national security, it’s just a flow of emotions and the right that every citizen has. Ironically civil society of Kashmir runs away from the responsibility. Although we have versatility in political section but none of them has ever had a strong foot on this matter.

Expecting government to do miracles would be no justice as it itself is in a need to desperately  understand that something achievable on the ground has to be done, routine paper work and divulging statistics would not amount to their saving grace. Government should also differentiate between sense of responsibility it has towards us and criticism of failure to perform as it enjoys the mandate of power.
There may be policies of rehabilitation but effectiveness of these policies is indicative of their value for the sufferers. The situation doesn’t need to

be analysed politically where in the blame game takes an edge and overshadows the real concern.
The modus operandi of the state has been transferring files from table to table and ultimately to the trash. That’s where the fate of Kashmiri mother lies. These parents have no strength left to oppose or fight armed men. The Kashmir problem is bifocal and multidimensional and enforced disappearances is a part of it which needs the attention of civil society which comprise of able lawyers, activists, financially sound people. Hope that the moral values of Islam gives us the strength to help the destitute.
The author can be mailed at imaadmir@gmail.com