Four people are killed. Not allegedly. Kashmir is paralyzed under declared and undeclared curfew. Internet services are snapped. Kashmir is again in focus, courtesy the murder of unarmed civilians protesting the desecration of Quran. This massacre is a grim reminder of the fact that Indian establishment and its extended arms like “Security Forces” are successfully executing the GoI policies in Kashmir.
The carnage will once again be reckoned as a successful ‘operation’ carried out by the Border Security Forces, as if they had won a war. It will result in the elevation of murderers as high ranking officers.
The other tool of suppression; India’s jingoistic, mainstream media has focused only to cover and uncover the halting of Amarnath Yatra as if reporting the killings will take a toll on their TRP. The popular discourse that occupies the public space in Kashmir about Indian Media’s blind eye toward the killings is immature and unnecessary. It will be naïve to expect any Indian Media organization, especially broadcast, to cover the killings of Ramban impartially. These organizations are part and parcel of the hegemonic establishment that India is for Kashmir.
All Political and Media analysts see Kashmir through the prism of mythical nationalism. Sadly, they ignore the decades old Kashmir’s struggle for right to self-determination which is the sole reason such incidents recur every now and then. It is pertinent to mention that such nationalists pledge to ignore history and dare to construct whole new narratives based on pure imagination. They misread the writings on the wall.
Protesting in Kashmir is an open invitation to death. Having said that; protest is the only way to fight against injustice. Why do we protest? Either we expect justice or we protest only to let go of our anger. If a random protester in Ganderbal or Sopore expects justice under the Indian system then we are sorry to point out that he is grossly mistaken. He is a poor student of history. The immediate past, take the Sumbal killings give us enough idea to conclude that justice is impossible. Now do we protest to let go off our anger? Perhaps yes. Perhaps this reasoning of protest is flawed. It is the reason that only incidents like the Ramban killing invite mass attention. What do we do in the times Indian troopers are busy orchestrating such killings? We are busy doing politics. People unite in mourning. We unite to politicize the mourning. We are busy widening the gulf between people and groups.
Even during the crises like these we don’t spare a moment to score brownie points by attempting to question the credibility of our own people. Even journalists, seasoned and respected, pitch against each other, indulge in personal slander and claim to be only truth tellers and representatives of distraught Kashmiri people. Journalists and intellectuals start to boycott each other and more often than not protest against each other. Four or nine or just one, it is not about statistics. It is about human lives. We fight to stamp the final figure of dead. Unfortunate as this is for Kashmir; it also lays bare the disintegrated structuring of our leadership. We are at war within. Exploiting the war within we continue to be maimed, tortured and killed.
Now what do we do? Continue to protest on the streets and lose lives or intellectualize the protest by hijacking anti-India discourse. There is a group of intellectuals on social media who only know to trivialize other opinions. The brethren (apa-biraadar types) want all youth back in Kashmir to cover their faces and come out on the streets. Yes, people out on the streets keep our resistance movement alive and going. They fight to reclaim our history while we live hundreds and thousands of miles away. The fight will not be fought by evolving new arguments and strategies only but by attempting to execute few. In this hour of yet another collective grief and mourning we need to unite, rise above ideological differences, wage real battles and inflict some substantial damage to the system that is institutionally consuming us. Let’s not challenge personal opinions or try to indoctrinate our own. The general will of the people is respected in words only. It does not figure in our overrated and ill-fated intellectual bakhchodi.
The authors are students at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi