Life is precious Whoever dies

Jawahar Lal Nehru while committing himself and Nation India to the will of people of JK said in Indian parliament in early fifties, after taking Kashmir issue to the United Nations that India is not in favor of (what he said) ‘forced wedlock’ to hold Kashmir. What happened later is history.

The last Sunday sixteen militants and three soldiers were killed at three encounter sites at Shopian. Four civilians too lost their lives, hundreds others were injured and pellet blinded. Destruction of houses – listed as collateral damage—in face of heart-breaking scenes skip attention, with only the owners left to endure the pangs of decimation not of his own making. Kashmir has been converted into a veritable hell where one does not know when he or she can be sucked in. Here save a privileged lot, every other person lives on parole of death and has become an endangered species. Without being captive to our personal likes or dislikes and rising above political persuasions or ideologies, let us look at the problem from the pure humanitarian perspective. Hardly a day passes when a militant, civilian, or a trooper is not killed. Only those who receive the dead bodies of their dear ones, whether in plains of Kashmir or in hinterlands of India, know how extremely and utterly unbearable is the separation. Whether he gets killed in ‘line of duty’ or in pursuit of a ‘sacred cause’ a distraught family finds all words inconsolable. Add to it the plight of the residents on the Line of Control (LoC) / the International Border(IB).

The almost daily firing—that has incremented to mortar and artillery shelling–, have made the life of border people hellish. Their frustration has reached a desperation point as their recent outpouring of anger reflects: ‘ Settle Kashmir issue peacefully’ or ‘go far war’. Knowing fully well that in case of breaking war with Pakistan, they are the worst suffers. In Kashmir too the youth find themselves suffocated. Their rushing to the encounter sites is a manifestation of the anger and desperation, both. Despite cricket stars M S Dhoni and now Irfan Pathan– and before them some other celebrities—being hired and sent to the valley, youth are increasingly embarking on the dangerous path.

Jawahar Lal Nehru while committing himself and Nation India to the will of people of JK said in Indian parliament in early fifties, after taking Kashmir issue to the United Nations that India is not in favor of (what he said) ‘forced wedlock’ to hold Kashmir. What happened later is history. The fraud played in the constitutional relations agreed von between Srinagar and Delhi betrayed that what was pledged was just aimed to buy time and consolidate Delhi’s position. Even the constitutional guarantees were axed at. Entire Indian nation, including ‘secular liberals’, looked to other way at the rape of democracy and erosion of autonomy. Where they should have stood up to demonstrate sense of belonging to people of Kashmir, it seemed they were celebrating the ‘forced wedlock’ that the relationship ultimately turned into. The approach of the various governments in Delhi has remained constantly unchanged. The present government might have developed aggressive stripes due to its ideological strands, ‘secular’ Congress has all along played politics of deceit and double standard vis-a vis Kashmir.

One thing the parties of all hue and color trumpet with enlarged lungs that ‘ Kashmir is the crown of India’. But when it comes of mapping their words with action, it is a huge disappointment. Their double standard tells them apart as they are callously insensitive to the sufferings of Kashmiris. Hold on. We have started from bloody Sunday. While we were scanning response of Indian media on Shopian killings, it was as usual on expected lines. But one former police officer from 1988 batch, Sanjiv Bhat (who took on then Modi government over 2002 communal riots) exposed the stink of different approach. Drawing comparison between crowd control measures in Kashmir and rest of India, Sanjiv raised questions on use of bullets and pellets on protesters he wrote: ‘ Lethal bullets for crowd control in Kashmir, while tear gas and water cannons for the rest of India..and we expect Kashmiris to buy our narrative that Kashmir is an integral part of India’. Even the civil society, that is ferociously vocal in raising its voice on human rights violation and disproportionate use of force in other states of India and abroad, goes into coma when it comes Kashmir.

Deaths of whichever side of the divide are not a celebration cake that should jump your adrenalin and make you dance. It is loss of human life. It is loss of an inseparable soul of a family. It is deprivation of last succor for an aged parents. The separation entails trauma for the family. There is no substitute to life. No compensation is worth the loss of one eye, let alone entire life, even if whole earth planet vomits out all its hidden treasures. There is no ‘special day’, to hail bravery against (what you say) ‘our own misguided boys’. Rather it is against the very fundamentals of a country that bases its existence on ‘ democratic’ claim.

How long this saga of blood will go on. It is time to put on hold the violent means and avoid sticking to belligerent approach to force submission. There is no better way other than initiating a meaningful dialogue process for settling the issue permanently. This is a debt we owe to entire humanity and to our progeny. The dispute has every likelihood of spiralling into situation uncontrollable and fulsome devastation. God save us all.