Omar's double standards

Chief minister Omar Abdullah who is pro-actively taking up the case of discrimination and harassment faced by Kashmiri students in Madhya Pradesh is in total denial of similar harassment faced by Kashmiri students and youth in his home state, particularly the Valley where arbitrary and random crackdowns, detentions and arrests have become a matter of routine. Youth are being picked up on mere suspicion for the crime of pelting stones, a kind of protest that is common throughout the country and never receives a similar response. Many of them have been booked under public safety act. Since the last year when the five month long agitation in Kashmir began, the youth in Kashmiri have been facing the heat of excessive repressive police action. Though killings, fake encounters, torture, custodial deaths and other forms of human rights abuse have been part of Jammu and Kashmir in the last 20 years, the graph has sharply risen up in the last one year, particularly in terms of random arrests that started during the five month long period in which 119 people, mostly youth and teenagers, were brutally shot dead on the streets.  As per rough estimates, 10,000 youth have been arrested in last one year, though official figures do not tally for the simple reason that those detained for a few days are not even being counted and some of the detained are still untraced. Over 200 persons have been detained under public safety act, which allows the police to arrest anyone without any charges for a maximum period of 2 years. However, the PSA is often used as a tool to keep any individual incarcerated for unlimited periods by re-clamping PSA against them at the time of their release and also often by violating court orders quashing such PSA detentions. Amnesty International recently started a campaign against such arbitrary arrests which it maintains is solely an attempt to "keep certain people out of circulation" but the Omar government is yet to respond to the report or take any measures to give respite to the people from the repressive tactics of his regime.

The chief minister is only betraying his double standards when he talks passionately about the plight of the Kashmiri students in Madhya Pradesh, as he tweets about calling the Hindutva tactics disgraceful but uses any lopsided argument to justify the excessive repression within his own state. While there is need to take up the case of Kashmiris suffering various forms of harassment in other states of the country, reports of which keep pouring in from time to time, the chief minister needs to first set his own house in order and not create a state of lawlessness in the name of curbing violence and ensuring a trouble free summer for his sole concern that tourism season should not be hit. There is need to first of all respond to the woes of the people within his own state; otherwise the administration has lost all moral authority in questioning similar acts against people of this state in other parts of the country There is no justification for resorting to undemocratic, unconstitutional and suppressive acts in the name of restoring law and order. These need to be stopped without any further hesitation.