That people in Kashmir chafing under the military jackboots are destined to face all the ignominies, apart from physical attacks, came to fore some two weeks ago when a young woman was forced to give birth to a baby on roadside. As if ignominy was asking for saturation point the hideous act took place at Kakroosa of Handwara Tehsil, some 60 miles away from state capital Srinagar. Amid the chilly season of Chila-e-Kalan when sub-zero temperature makes people shiver, the hamlet was put on siege by the troops and all inhabitants huddled in an open space. Labor made Ayesha Begum, (28) gasp in pain. Unbearable, unstoppable. Pleadings, requests from her husband Shahzad Ahmad, as reports suggest, fell on deaf ears of the army officers. Amid the screams of the pregnant woman enduring the bouts of labor it seems (no, in fact turned out) the ‘disciplined’ jawans and their commander ‘in line of duty’ were deriving sadistic pleasure. They could have easily allowed the hapless woman to reach to nearby health centre. They did not and the Ayesha delivered the baby on roadside in teeth-chattering cold. In open space. In public.
Can privacy, so much revered by Indians and their vocal feminists, be brutalized ugliest way as it was in Kakroosa? Moreover, have not soldiers taken birth form the mothers? Can a cop reconcile his mother or sister enduring the labor that shameful way? Certainly not. But in Kashmir everything dirtiest and wicked can be played and Nation India will look to other side as such things soothe their nerves.
Imagine Kakroosa ghastly incident happening elsewhere in India. How could have Indian media and news channels reacted. A hell would have broken loose. The uniforms would have torn apart. Sentences would have been pronounced. Screaming headlines would have loosened the bolts and nuts of the government. And the nervous govt. would have pressed the retaliatory button. But the shameful incident like many such earlier incidents, far more shameful and brutal, did not catch the eye of the media house in India. As Ayesha’s plight turned a pleasure giving exercise for the forces, its black out from the channels too gave comfort to corporate media. The ‘cultured’ and ‘civilized’ India did not register a feeble outcry at this shame flung on India. Sita adoring devotees looked to other side of the molestation of human dignity. The cranky feminists who otherwise fight on streets for human dignity froze in silence. That culture of silence symbolizes apartheid, reminiscent of imperialist white racial days in South Africa. This double standard implies Kashmir is not integral part of India, a testimony that ringingly comes true from Delhi itself.
The deputy commissioner of Kupwara has ordered ‘probe’ and sought ‘fact-finding’ report from medical officer. But as Kashmiris have a bitter experience all these probes are mere eye wash. They are temper-cooling devices, diverting tactics and meant to dupe world community. Kunan Poshpora, Badra Payan, Shopian like tragedies were far more ghastlier in the endless chain of probes ordered earlier. They did nothing and none expects anything from a latest one. When a state has invented the mechanism where criminals are shielded and media sings their ‘bravery’ how can human dignity be guaranteed. It is a case of fence eating the grass.