In February 2013 eleven Labor Unions in India went on strike protesting against government of India’s labor policy. The two day strike badly hit financial institutions and transport service. It has been estimated that two day strike cost India dearly. It suffered nearly two billion of rupees. The prices sky rocketed and the common man (a’am admi, what Indian media love to describe them) had to face the brunt. During the protest in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Haryana and other cities of India people took to violence. Dozens of vehicles and public places were damaged and set on fire. Many a political parties supported the strike. These political leaders and Labor Unions justified the protest.
The, to maintain law and order, did not resort to use of pellets, pepper and chilly grenades as they do in Kashmir.
In March 2013 lawyers in Indian cities of Chandigarh and Jaipur held protests. As the adrenalin soared high the lawyers, who outnumbered cops, pelted stones on them. The police in response wielded sticks and tear gas to rein in the violent mob (the “civilized” community). No lawyer was killed, nor any of them suffered a serious/fatal injury. No one went in comma (vegetative state) as happens in Kashmir, even when the protests are comparatively more peaceful.
Here in this case also the police even when they were stone pelted did not use pellets, pepper or chilly grenades. These weapons are Kashmir specific.
In Delhi in January 2013, a medico girl was raped and murdered in the bus. The brutal attack caused shock and outrage. Protests followed. In capital Delhi the violent mob lynched a police cop. But save batons and smoke shells none of the lethal weapons (mentioned above) were used. These lethal weapons have a particular taste for fair-complexioned youth in valley.
Now look at this: On 21 May, 2013, Suhail Khan, a 20-year boy from Soura (Srinagar) was returning home on his bike after visiting his relatives at Gopalpora (Srinagar). ‘According to eyewitnesses he was targeted by forces with pellets at Rajouri Kadal after there was some incident of stone pelting in the area’ (GK: May 23, 2013). His father Abdul Majid Khan told GK: ‘ The people who brought him to hospital told us that he was lying on the road while the security personnel were ruthlessly beating him… I had never thought that such a thing would happen to my son. He was never involved in stone pelting’. Suhail is battling for life at SKIMS. He is on ventilator as injuries are very serious.
Lest somebody would accuse os of blowing the incident out of proportion. Listen what a prominent voice from pro-Indian political groups says on this. Mustafa Kamal, the NC leader, MLA and Additional General Secretary of the NC after visiting Suhail in the hospital said: ‘He is in a critical condition. The boy has received pellet on the back… I have come to know that the boy has been fired from a close range. I have come to know that Suhail was not part of any protest or any stone pelting group’ (GK 23 May, 2013).
This incident (and various others before) gives lie to the government’s claim that the weapons they use to control protestors in Kashmir are non-lethal weapons.
These incidents expose the colonial mindset of the rulers in India. They employ different parameters for kashmiris. They have eyes focused only on land not people. After all why should bullets, pellets (that strike body in hundreds) and pepper (that cause suffocation) be exclusively used for kashmiris? That approach; vengeful and imperialistic, reveals Kashmir is not ‘integral part’ of India, notwithstanding the paramilitary resolutions and the usual refrain and farce elections.