Saidapora – unfolding Gazan memoriesHassan Zainagairi
‘They killed my husband Mohd. Nawab, in 1995 and now they made us homeless and destroyed our fruit trees which was only source of income of our two families’.
__________widow Khatija of Saidapora Sopore
‘This reminded us of bitter memories of 1995 when during crackdown various persons in our village were tortured by the forces and my brother Mohd Nawab Dar succumbed during torture’
___________ Ghulam Mohd Dar
‘… Thirteen Kanals of orchard was completely destroyed and around hundred fruit trees were uprooted by the soldiers using earth excavation machines’
__________ affected families
‘lest new Delhi, its political henchmen in Srinagar and its sword arm in Kashmir, including Goeblian avatars in terribly biased print and electronic media, accuse us of ‘fabricating lies’ aimed to ‘malign the image of the security forces’, who at the very onset hold that the authenticity of the said extracts is beyond any doubt. Not only these appeared in Kashmir Reader (21 December, 2012) and other local dailies, but eye witness account too substantiated their veracity.
Only those who visited the destruction site would in real sense have a grasp of the apocalyptic scene when innocent people were witnessing a near Gazan-type tragedy being inflicted on them. The residence alleged that police and army were ‘deliberately destroying’ their belongings and orchards during 72-hour encounter in which six militants were killed.
Six militants – according to police version – were holed up in a house and to eliminate them, resorting to such wanton destruction, reveal Israelian tactics state India is using as a war weapon. The aim to scare the people and break their nerves, and force them to reconcile Indian hegemony. We are not arguing that in combating militancy, Indian security apparatus should lower their guard. What we are pressing hard is that in launching an operation to, what they say, ‘flush out’ militants damage to life, property and other belongings and assets should be minimized. But it is here the reverse is applied. Such operations leave a trail of destruction that could have been avoided. Not only physical but emotional pain is inflicted. A feeling that Kahmiris are at receiving end of an imperialist power that is insensitive to human values and is vengeful too gets encrypted.
Why should not mightly Indian army use less property damage-causing tactics that would swoon militants into fatigue while spreading cordon around them. It will, at the most, procrastinate the operation for a few days more. But safety of the people and the property would have got ensured That, however, does not hold a priority for the Indians. In Saidapora encounter not only residential structures and cowsheds were raised to the ground, a peculiar Israelian streak that shocked people was using bulldozers by army in uprooting the 20 year old apple trees spread to dozen of Kanals ‘we have not less regrets about damages to the houses but destruction to the orchards is big loss’, the shell-shocked victims told GK reporter. ‘It took up decades to groom the orchards’, the families wailed.
The police rejected the allegation terming them as ‘baseless’. But, the no less than the SDM Sopore Dr. Syed Hanif Balkhi admitted uprooting of fruit trees by the forces. He said ‘two residential houses, and two cowsheds have been damaged while uprooting of fruit trees in an orchard measuring 13 Kanals have also been witnessed. I along with agriculture and revenue officers visited the area. We found chopped trees in the joint orchard of Khurshid and Gh Mohammad Dar’ (Kashmir Reader, 21 December, 2012). Lo and behold, SP Imtiyaz Hussain Sopore described it as ‘minor damage’ as ‘some Casper vehicles had to run through these orchards’.
In against such no-holds-bassend devastation and atrocities heaped on people of Kashmir, India forfeits its claim on Kashmir. It is sheer military force that tethers Kashmir to Indian union. But it how long? The forced allegiances always have a short duration. It nurses alienation and cold rage that is the unalloyed truth, no one can deny.