Delhi-based Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA) has rendered invaluable service to the cause of justice and democracy with the recent compilation of a comprehensive report exposing how the Delhi Police had systematically perfected the ‘art’ of victimising innocent Kashmiri Muslims. A report released recently by this group of the Jamia Millia Islamia teachers, published in Kashmir Times on Wednesday, contains specific details of how 16 innocent Kashmiris were ‘framed, damned and acquitted’; as very aptly captioned by the JTSA. So-called special branch of the Delhi Police headed by a particular officer is shown having developed ‘expertise’ in hunting for innocent victims, involving them in false cases, torturing them and their families and pushing them behind bars for up to 12 and 15 years until the sluggish process of justice completed its course and came to their rescue.
The number of persons who have suffered and continue to suffer on this account must obviously be much larger than 16 whose cases were taken up for laborious investigation carried out by the dedicated Jamia teachers. However, the report puts the spotlight on the crux of the issue linking them all—virus of communal and racial prejudice afflicting the Indian democracy. If even at this late stage there is some sense of justice and fairplay left within the system the publication of the JTSA report should impel immediate remedial measures. Delhi Police owes it to its soiled reputation to make necessary amends and demonstrate a genuine change in its attitude and conduct towards Kashmiris. There must be many more cases, like those of the 16 persons covered in the Jamia report, that need to be looked into purely on objective grounds. More importantly, the change of behaviour should be seen to be believed.
Documented facts and distressing details cited in the JTSA report make a dreadful reading. The report has effectively brought into the open the ugly fact that the Kashmiris visiting Delhi in large numbers for business, studies or vacation were being deliberately targeted. False evidence was planted against them and they were being subjected to inhuman treatment without any hope of immediate redressal. That all this should be happening right under the nose of the Government of India that swears by its good intentions towards the people of Kashmir makes it all the more shameful.
The JTSA report makes it clear that victimisation was neither rare nor accidental but that it had become a cultivated culture.The same motivation impels racial profiling of Kashmiris outside their home state. It is not that this fact was not known so far but that the JTSA report had put it across so conclusively and convincingly. The cases of 16 victims, arbitrarily detained and falsely implicated in terror-linked cases including bomb blasts in the union capital until acquitted by the courts, depict a disturbing pattern that continues to enjoy official sanction.
In a way it seems like an extension of the victimisation of the youth on their home ground. The youth in Kashmir continue to be targeted for the worst kind of atrocities. Almost a full generation has been consumed by the conflict. Trapped between a deadly conflict raging on their home ground and vicious prejudice outside the state young Kashmiri boys and girls looking for a better future remain vulnerable to all sorts of victimisation. If still, some of them manage to survive and make their mark in various walks of life it is only because of their endurance and grit. The state apparatus has been mercilessly hostile towards them. If the JTSA-type probe were to be held here in Jammu and Kashmir the so-called ‘human face’ of ruling establishment would stand exposed in its full ugliness. Minor children are being detained without trial. Largescale killings in police firing are not investigated, much less put up for judicial scrutiny. Indiscriminate and arbitrary arrests have become a pattern. JTSA report needs to be publicised widely for its authenticity in exposing the ugly facade of the Indian democracy. The least that the system and the establishment should feel obliged to do in this case is to express open regret to the affected families and to adequately compensate the victims