‘Only we know what we have gone through. Our family has undergone a trauma. I cannot describe the horror of these seven years…. They did with us what they do with every Kashmiri. They use all means to torture Kashmiris… No one can compensate what we have lost….’
___ Mushtaq Ahmad Kaloo
These words from a 42 year old Kaloo who was forced to rot in the infamous Tihar Jail (Delhi) for no fault of his own except, as the acquittal testifies, his being a Kashmiri Muslim, an unpardonable “crime”.
Anything and everything can happen when the intent is malicious, mind is biased and manufactured labels have ‘breaking news’ and ‘exclusive stories’, all entertaining hospitality. When the state showers gallantry awards for the kill and out of turn promotion for ‘busting the terrorist module’ to its ‘heroes’ in olive green and in khaki. When in nabbing a Kashmiri businessman or a student a terribly dangerous conspiracy stands foiled and Delhi, Mumbai, China or Kolkata saved from a ‘great disaster’.
At home, Kashmiri know how the fairy goddess of Indian democracy runs its suzerainty and consolidates its solid grip. How local toadies behave like errands and do everything to appease their masters. The inhabitants of this “beautiful prison” (phrase coined by a European delegation when it visited Kashmir a couple of years back) know how a different yardstick is applied although Delhi claims Kashmir as the ‘integral part of India’. Their lives are directed and controlled through AFSPA and PSAs like enactments which are condemned by Amnesty International as the ‘blackest of black’ laws and demanded their abrogation.
Alas, the hunt is on wherever Kashmiri goes. In schools, colleges, universities, shopping malls, business centers, streets and hotels everywhere they are suspected and stalked. This oxymoronic temperament the Indians show against Kashmiris makes a mockery of the ‘idea’ Indian state claims it is based on; that is ‘secular democratic ethos’. But Kashmiris nowhere find themselves close to the phantom belief.
Back to Mushtaq Ahmad Kaloo. He and his close friend Muhammad Iqbal Jan were held by Special Cell of Delhi Police in November 2006 in Delhi where they had gone for business purpose. As is routine to all Kashmiris, they were severely tortured and produced before the media as ‘militants with deadly explosives’. The SCD booked Mushtaq and Iqbal for ‘waging war against the country’. At the time of arrest, Mushtaq was father of one year old son and a lone earner of his family. A couple of weeks before Delhi court acquitted Mushtaq off the charges. His acquittal in itself reveals how innocent Kashmiris are framed and seditious charges slapped on them. One can understand the physical, mental and emotional torture inflicted on Mushtaq, the hostile atmosphere in jails outside JK state, the trauma his family has to undergo in all these years, the losses he suffered in business and the miseries suffered by his young bride and little baby.
The question is why no action is taken against forces personnel and security agencies for falsely implicating the youth of Kashmir and thereby destroying their future and those of their family.No crime is more grave, more heinous than this.
The least the norms of justice and humanity demands is that tormentors of such people should be severely dealt with and sent to jails, suspended from services and fined. That will serve a deterrent against the criminals in uniform and their patrons. That state India enjoys the torture, humiliation, imprisonment of Kashmiris in itself exposes its ‘democratic idea’ it takes pride of and the neo-colonial mindset it is hooked on.