RELEASE OUR PRISIONERS -WITHIN THE AMBIT OF INSANIYAT

The recent announcement by Indian Home Minster, Rajnath Singh, in his own temple of democracy, the Indian Parliament that Kashmir problem will be solved within the ambit of Insaniyat is welcome. Metaphorically Insaniyat embraces truth, justice & fair-play. That earlier, Atal Behari Vajpayee, former Prime Minster of India had also made a similar promise, but not kept, is besides the point.
While dwelling on the subject , Singh used two expressions-“within the ambit of Indian Constitution” & “within the ambit of Insaniyat” meaning thereby that these are two different expressions, mutually exclusive and the latter much more broader in meaning & scope than the former. It, therefore, stands to reason that if a particular step or action is not warranted or allowed under the laws flowing from the Constitution, the same may initiated or taken under the broader canvass of “Insaniyat”.

The first & most important step which can immediately be taken under the ambit of Insaniyat is the release of Kashmiri prisoners. Languishing in Jails spread over the length & breadth of India, these prisoners are facing alien conditions & hostile behavior. How these prisoners are maltreated is clear from the report of a team of Kashmir Bar Association which recently visited various Jails in Jammu? It has listed the pathetic conditions prevailing in these jails and the inhuman treatment meted out to inmates. 

There should be no doubt in mind that the condition of parents, spouses & children of these prisoners is no less than those of half parents, half widows & half orphans particularly in this era of neglect at societal level. I can vouch this from my personal experience having witnessed the frequent incarceration of my father during the plebiscite front movement in Sixties and seventies. As a teenager I vividly remember how a family was subject to emotional torture by regimes of the day by keeping their political adversaries continuously in jails? Sometimes selective leaks were made through a Kar-i-Khas( a CID personnel in civies) about the imminent release of prisoners on Eid or other festivals. We would prepare for the event in a big way only to learn that the decision has been postponed on one ground or another. But once released, which would often turn out to be for a short period, my father would never reveal the tales of torture & misbehavior inside the jails. He would instead brag about the comforts inside the jail-of handsome daily allowances, lovely group discussions with fellow prisoners & available sports activities etc. etc. Long after, I discovered that this was his own way of maintaining the morals of fellow workers outside at higher pedestals & keeping them ready for going to Jails. This is a food for thought for our present day Pro-freedom leadership.

If India hopes to achieve an acceptable political solution to the long festering problem then it is imperative that all prisoners are set free and a congenial & conducive atmosphere prepared for holding talks with all the stake-holders. That was also stated by a Radha Kumar, one of the three interlocutors on behalf of her group appointed by Govt. Of India in 2010 to explore a political solution to the issue. It will be quite absurd on the part of authorities to think that by putting people in long detentions or restricting their movements will compel them to forsake their claim for a just solution. In-fact, longer the detention-stronger the resolve to achieve the objective on the simple premise that time spent in jails is an investment for those craving for just & equitable solution & larger this investment- greater the expectations for a full return on investment.

Those in power at the Centre also need to realize that mere expression of sympathy will not win over the bruised hearts of Kashmiris. In the past we have heard Narshima Rao saying “Sky is the limit”, Congress President Sonia Gandhi reassuring us that “Kashmir had a special place in our polity” and the people of the State were “our own and their suffering is ours.” We also had former Indian Home Minster, Mr. Chidambram saying that Kashmir is a case of broken promises and a unique problem requiring a unique solution. But, such statements will not carry any meaning with the people of Kashmir unless these are translated into action. Non-fulfillment of the promise will also be a serious sacrilege of the temple in which the announcement has been made by the present Home Minster.

Author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com)