Shopian: Seething with anger


At a time when this state needed a really caring regime to help its traumatised population in healing the deep wounds of their immediate past it has been saddled with a set-up which betrays utter lack of understanding and is bereft of human compassion. The frequency with which the coalition government has been crippling normal life of citizens as a tactic to push burning issues under carpet is really astonishing. Shopian is the latest instance of this insensitivity. Instead of taking credible action to redress the genuine grievances of the people in the South Kashmir town, arising out of the wanton killing of four innocent youngmen by security forces, Shopian was placed under blanket curfew for nearly two weeks.

Indeed, this has become a familiar pattern under the present dispensation. Each and every protest by the aggrieved sections of public across the state is met with total unconcern. Protesting voices are suppressed into silence with imposition of curfew. Perhaps it would be no exaggeration to recall that this regime has achieved the dubious distinction of seeing more killings over the past five years, when compared with the knownrecord of predecessor regimes. Demand for public inquiry into alleged unprovoked firing by security forces in each of these cases has either been ignored or dealt with deceitfully. A sham administrative enquiry is routinely announced and forgotten after the imposition of curfew pushes the public protest under the carpet. That tactic might be serving the government’s petty interest in so far as suppressing its outward manifestation is concerned. But, for sure, each and every killing only goes on to feed the simmering anger which the regime has, so far, failed to address. 

All through the mass uprising in the year 2010 this questionable methodology was employed to manage the affairs on the ground in the mistaken belief that the issue of wanton killings had been buried forever. The fact that the security forces have shown no appetite for learning the desired lesson and restraining their trigger-happy personnel from going on rampage, day after day and month after month, ought to have induced some wisdom into the political establishment. On the contrary, what we see is more and more of the same sickening behaviour on the ground. Gool Gulabgarh and Shopian are two most recent instances.

The coalition government’s expedient approach and self-serving mindset might be giving it a false sense of relief but, in the long run, it is only adding to its cumulative debit balance. Kashmir has a known history of periodic mass explosion when such accumulated anger crosses a particular limit. It is counterproductive to rely forever on coercive tactics and revel in the false notion of its efficacy. The vicious circle of unprovoked killings followed by imposition of curfew and then return of deceptive surface calm has already proved to be an illusion so far as stabilising the tenuous ground situation is concerned.

Shopian is seething with anger and for good reason: On the day when Zubin Mehta was entertaining the bold and beautiful at Shalimar Bagh three innocent lives were snuffed out 50 kilometres away in Shopian, mainly as a result of the blanket restrictions clamped upon the entire population across Kashmir Valley. The so-called enquiry set up by the government fails to inspire confidence for the simple reason that it just does not count in material terms. Circumstances of precious lives lost first in Gool and now at Shopian need to be probed seriously as well as credibly to at least pinpoint the culprits even though punishing them has turned out to be far beyond the competence of the present regime at the helm. Dozens of cases occurring over the past five years have been hanging fire because the government is either unwilling or unable to proceed in booking the culprits. The impotence of our rulers has eventually become an albatross around the neck of the ruled. And they seem to be condemned to suffer this fate so long as the existing regime lasts.