What was already believed has finally been confirmed. The security establishment has an inbuilt bias generally against the Muslims. But when it comes to Kashmiri Muslims the subtle bias instinctively turns into a brazen prejudice even bordering a deep sentiment of vengeance. Almost everybody in Kashmir will agree with the disgusting reality that Liyaqat Shah’s horrible tale is not an isolated incident. Liyaqat is a typical case of getting thrown out of the frying pan into the fire. He after romanticising with the idea of struggle or else not fully aware of the challenges of an armed struggle got carried away unknowingly by the surge of emotion all-around him. Whatever the case, apparently he was aiming to return home with a hope of a peaceful life ahead of him. Peace in a conflict wretched valley is a misnomer. Even for a completely apolitical person, hardly concerned with the ongoing conflict, peace of mind is an impossible dream.
For a person like Liyaqat who once upon a time in the exuberance of his youth had dared to challenge the might of a state, for him to dream peace— an innocent human desire— was too much of asking. Even if he had been fortunate enough to avoid the dragnet of the Delhi Police, for him to escape the engrained mistrust moreover the derisive mindset of the security establishment would have been an impossible feat to achieve. The horrible plight of the ex-militants is sufficient enough to convince that the security apparatus is fully determined to make a horrifying example out of any Kashmiri who at a given time in his life might have dared to challenge the writ of the state. The terrifying account of the former militants is quite an harrowing experience, to be discussed some other time.
There is still many a slip between cup and the lip. Although after Omar Abdullah’s intervention, union home minster has ordered an inquiry in the Liyaqat’s fiasco, he is yet to get a clean chit. His retuning home safely is still only a distant possibility. Had Omar Abdullah been silent and had he not been returning with a proper concurrence of the state police including Intelligence Bureau (IB), what would have been his plight after been implicated in an alleged conspiracy of a suicide attack? Is it difficult to imagine, no not at all. At the worst he would have been made to rot in a jail for the rest of his life. Who knows if state needed another Afzal Guru to satisfy the collective conscience of the society, he would have been even sent to the gallows. And in case he was little bit fortunate he would have been exonerated after spending a lifetime of 16 years behind the bars. As expected the prosecution would have failed to convince the court about the alleged suicide attack. And even then we the serfs in Kashmir still would be expected to sing the paeans of Indian judicial system, even though an innocent is made to suffer for 16 long years.
No sir it’s not mere polemics or any so called loathing against the system that makes us to utter these words. An entire generation of youth has been made to perish behind the bars almost without any reason. Oh no, why we forget, being a rebelling Kashmiri Muslim, is the biggest crime of ours. Why we fail to recall Maqbool Shah, who falsely implicated in the Lajpat Nagar blast, was finally exonerated after spending 14 long years in Jail. And what about the chilling plight of Mirza brothers who after remaining on a death row for almost one and a half decade were fortunately shown the light of the justice. Discussing the case conscientious journalist Vidya Subrahmaniam working for “The Hindu” in an unbelievable tone has asked: “Why were Hussain and Bhatt sentenced to death when there was no evidence even to convict them? The curious fact here is that the trial court itself was distressed by the quality of the police investigation, which it described as “highly defective.” Hussain and Bhatt eventually bridged the impossible gulf between death and freedom because a sensible, sensitive appellate court was able to see that the evidentiary dots simply did not connect in their case.
Mirza Iftikhar Hussain after remaining in jail for almost 14 years woefully laments his plight. “I couldn’t attend my sisters’ weddings. Our business sank permanently. And Nissar (his brother) will never come out of jail. What price this freedom? Will I get back what I lost?” Of what use this justice system is that essentially presupposes every Kashmiri a criminal. Normally it’s believed that primarily the onus ought to be on prosecution to prove an accused as guilty. In our case it’s us the hapless Kashmiri who at each and every step has to prove his/her innocence. Still we may never be able to overcome the inbuilt suspicion of the unjust system. How many of us before Liyaqat’s drama believed every police version plainly? None, only difference is that what we believed has been conclusively confirmed beyond any doubt. We well know the reality of Afzal Guru’s trial. The bold authors of The Medaow have recently removed lid from the stinking episode of Al-faran kidnapping. And its only matter of time, the Chiitisingpora including many other massacres and numerous crimes carried against humanity, simply to denigrate a just struggle, will also come to fore.