Faizan Rafiq, 14, has been released. He was put in prison few months ago on the charges of stone pelting and disturbing the law and order situation in the state. His release was possible only after human right organisations worldwide raised hue and cry. News reports have mentioned that before Faizan was released, the SP Kathua Jail asked both parents of the kid to sign a bond assuring that their kid will no more allegedly participate in the protests against the state.
What if Faizan’s parents would have refused to sign the bond, wouldn’t Faizan deserve release? Faizan is a minor both according to the state’s J&K Rabir Penal Code (which considered an individual below the age 16 as a child); and according to the Indian Penal Code (which considers an individual below the age 18 a child).
The police continue to arrests and harass the masses. People protest when police and civil authorities violate human and individual rights. Last year security agencies committed excess; people protested. Had there been no Machil fake encounter no one would have come on streets. Had the protesters not been dealt with heavy handedness no further protests would have appeared on the streets of J&K. Should we assume the government doesn’t want peace and justice to prevail in J&K and are pursuing some other policy to crush the honour, dignity and identity of people?
Faizan’s arrest has raised another socio-legal issue (to be advocated by child rights organisations, if at all they are interested in what they claim to exist for) that why the state of J&K doesn’t have juvenile homes? In context of committing social crimes, if at all a child is proven guilty (not because of his/her religious faith and political ideology).
Even then political prisoners deserve to be kept separate from social criminals as they are arrested for their political beliefs.
I wonder how many more people will be forced to suffer before the black laws like Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Areas Act are repealed for good.
Time for mere modification is over. The draconian laws have to be totally abolished. It no way is helping India which otherwise has a stable Judiciary and functional legal system.
This time, we wouldn’t be fooled if these laws are replaced by other draconian laws for international consumption as it did happen when India replaced TADA with POTA after thousands of complaints were filed against the former Act by families of innocents, Muslim and Sikh victims of India and human rights defenders. We all know that POTA proved even worse than TADA.
The State government has to accept publicly that the pain Faizan and his poor family, relatives and neighbours had to go through, has to be compensated separately, immediately and adequately.
Concerning the concept of compensation: is it only when a Kashmiri is killed that he/she has to be compensated? We need to assert that all those who were/are victimised unjustly (physically and psychologically) by the state, need to be compensated. Let not the compensation be paid by poor tax payers of India or J&K, it should be deducted from salary of all those responsible for causing the misery, corresponding to the time period of suffering.
In Faizan case all those responsible, who misled everyone by calling Faizan 27 year old adult, who acted blind while signing warrant and PSA papers of Faizan and the people who made unsuccessful attempt to make believe the internationally community that the birth certificate of Faizan is forged, before independent investigation was conducted.
It should not happen to another Faizan. Faizan’s case is not over; it has started now…!! We need to chase other aspects as mentioned above related with the case. Had it happened with a kid in Delhi (may God save all children) we would have witnessed governments toppling down in New Delhi, bureaucrats standing in line in civil courts, whole population of Delhi on roads protesting demanding the release and compensation. We need stand up together and save our youth and future generations from the monsters present everywhere in our state. For a struggle one need a moral cause, we not only have genuine moral base and political reason but have offered huge sacrifices; all we need to do is to make it worth by standing for truth and resisting on each front.
Author is a Delhi based Kashmiri filmmaker and can be mailed at email@example.com