Harassment of Kashmiris

Harassment of Kashmiris
Inexpicable failure of State, Central Govts to act against Hindutiva brigade goons

Amidst the clamping down on the entire Kashmir Valley lost are the dwarfed stories of the victimisation of Kashmiris outside the state. The recent cases of victimisation of Kashmiris by the goons of the saffron brigade, first at Jantar Mantar, on the day that Afzal Guru was hanged and close on its heels in Dehradun where some students staged a protest against the secret execution, have been virtually blacked out by national media and the local media itself found caught in the midst of a gag, imposed and executed by the government without a specific executive order.

The issue of the plight of people from Kashmir, facing harassment outside the state, has earlier surfaced on several occasions and has been taken up by the successive regimes in the state with the Centre and other state governments from time to time. But never has the extent of harassment been so serious as it is in the aftermath of the Afzal Guru hanging, after which Kashmiris have been finding themselves at the receiving end, the noose tightening on them both in and outside the state with specified and unspecified restrictions imposed. The collective injury and humiliation felt by Kashmiris after the execution has been further exacerbated by brazen manner of harassment by the Hindutva goons with the tacit support or silence of the police and administration, as if it were a legitimate act. Though the use of such lumpen fringe fascist elements against Kashmiris and people from other states has been going on, this time it is in a more organized form with complete patronage of the police and goes beyond the matter of simple ignorance about Kashmiris in Indian mainland. Several Kashmiri youth and other youngsters from this state studying or working outside have been harassed at their work places, shadowed by police, denied lodging facilities and even beaten up. But the recent incidents reflect the harassment as a policy endorsed and stamped by the authorities, a fact betrayed by not just the silence of the government but also the tacit support of the uniformed force. 

Both in the Jantar Mantar and the Dehradun incidents, the Kashmiris alongwith local activists were first hounded by the Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena goons while police watched as a mute spectator first and then rounded up the victims and lodged them in jails without even touching the perpetrators. The students from Dehradun have even abandoned their studies and fled the city out of fear but neither the Uttranchal government nor the Centre has taken cognizance of the matter. The supreme court which last year took cognizance of the poor arrangements for pilgrims during Amarnath yatrra have never even expressed lip concern over the harassment of the people of this state in or outside the state Worse still is the silence of the state government which on earlier occasions has been taking up the issue of harassment even as it has been unable to explain for the harassment of Kashmiris by the security forces and the local police. The civil liberties of the people within the state already stand totally crushed with complete restrictions on their movement, gags on their source of information, ban on cyber avenues of their expressions and curbs imposed through unspecified crackdowns and random arrests for which the government offers no explanation. Added to this, is now the feeling of insecurity for those living outside the state

. The governments, both in the state and at the centre, need to step in and put an end to this continuum of repressive tactics against the Kashmiris, based on discrimination and vindictiveness which go against the principles and spirit of democracy. Any silence on their part to these issues would be construed as a deliberate design to muzzle their voices and victimize them. Already, the people of Kashmir have for years felt that they have been unjustly discriminated and harassed, causing their deeper alienation. The Afzal Guru hanging and the secretive affair of the execution have further added to that sense of victimization. Such agony cannot be allowed to continue as it would completely isolate and distance the people of the state, particularly the Valley. The government must act fast and with committed seriousness before it is faced with the impossibility of healing the wounds of a deeply hurt collective psyche.