Holding our breaths? No, not exactly. Everyone knew not to trust the fox watching the henhouse. Kashmiris and Human rights organizations know better than to trust the Indian security forces to conduct impartial inquiries. After all, more often than not, they are accomplices, if not the primary culprits in many of the violent crimes in the state.
Assigning the task of conducting an impartial enquiry in to the rape-murder of Neelofer and Asiya to an infamous agency like CBI was a cruel joke with the victims and their families. Indeed, delegating this task to any Indian administrative outfit is laughable. The results were predictable, as they always have been each time a massacre, a custodial killing, a rape or a fake encounter killing takes place. Familiar scenarios are–acts of violence are allowed to take place, often with perfect timing to coincide with an event, administrative machine is immediately activated and media outlets are made to blurt out convenient propaganda to assign blame to ‘militants’, ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ or ‘Jihadists’. But, how about Indian security forces, over 600,000 of them, patrolling and lurking at every nook and corner, Could they be the culprits? Common sense would say that. They are ubiquitous, they are illiterate brutes many of them conscripted convicts with terrible criminal records. They were brought in to Kashmir for the proven criminality of their character. “Oh no, not them! They would never do anything like that; they are there to maintain law and order”. That is what the administration would have us believe. But, we all know it differently.
They are the ones that instill fear in the minds of innocent civilians. The very sight of them is sickening and engenders revulsion. Oh yes, It is the military, not the militants, who are the cause of much of the murder and mayhem. Shopian cases are no exception. The educated officer class in the counter insurgency campaign set up the so called Territorial Army and the Task Force whose job it is to harass, intimidate and eliminate those who resist the illegal occupation. Mr. Chidabaram’s endorsement of the ‘drowning’ theory to explain the deaths is outlandish, ludicrous; and one for the books. By and large, it follows the pattern and the sequence.
And when the people of Kashmir reject government version of the events, and get out on the streets in mass protests, demanding that an independent enquiry by a credible international agency be allowed, the administration unleashes the ire of its security forces to crush and kill not only the enquiry, but many protesting people with it. It is followed by a government-conducted sham enquiry with predetermined conclusions. That insenses the masses and leads to further mistrust and erosion of any semblance of public safety and confidence. This is how India has been handling things in Kashmir, particularly since 1989. This pattern of predictable and predetermined miscarriage of justice infuriates the masses not only against India, but the entire world community which stands by and allows this tyranny to continue.
Kashmiris do not put any trust in Indian justice system vis-a-vis Kashmir, they certainly do not trust security agencies like CIB as far as they can throw them. Indians used delay tactics, concocted stories and strong armed the Kashmiri legal system and finally put CIB, the very nemesis of Kashmiris in-charge of the opaque enquiry. No wonder then that the people of Kashmir do not believe the conclusions of CIB that the two young women had drowned. Come on Indians, get real; who are you trying to fool with your utter nonsense. Kashmiri lawyers don’t believe you, Kashmiri people don’t believe you and the human rights groups doesn’t believe you. Even the faction of political leadership which is engaged in secret talks with you; and would like to believe you, has outright rejected the process that was adopted and the conclusions that were arrived at. So you have blown yet another opportunity at regaining any legitimacy and credibility. It further solidifies the public opinion against foreign occupation and the ills of rule through corrupt quislings.
We remember all of the previous travesties of justice— in the Chatisingpora massacre, Hawal, Khanyar and Wandhama killings; not counting hundreds of massacres which were never investigated. After all, over a hundred thousand innocent people have been murdered, most by the rogue military forces. Who, but Indian authorities must take the responsibility? It is time that India comes clean and accepts the responsibility for the genocide, before we proceed further to resolve the dispute and establish peace. Even before demilitarization, even before release of the political prisoners and even before rehabilitation of the displaced people, India must confess to the crimes committed against humanity in Kashmir.