This rage has a reason KASHMIR – THE WAY OUT

BARE STATEMENTS WON’T DO. THE PROBLEM DEMANDS SOLUTION ON THE GROUND, COMMENTS HAMEEDAH NAYEEM
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   Even as the bloodbath and the massive  protests continued unabated in the battered valley, Indian politicians, the mandarins of bureaucracy, the  spin doctors of  establishment and the embedded media  men intensified their offensive of dubbing the current crisis as Pak-sponsored. Nothing could be farther from truth. The mowing down of one growing sapling plant after another,  after people’s protests against Machhil fake encounter   in which three persons after having been lured by jobs were killed in cold blood  by the army near LoC,  created the current crisis. Tufail  Ahmad Mattoo’s (17) brain fell on the ground after being hit by a tear gas shell  thrown at the protesting youth while returning home from his tuition classes on 11th June.The gruesome picture of his disfigurement in the news papers and cable channels rended the hearts of mothers, sisters and the youth who protested massively  the next day in which another youth,  Rafiq Ahmad Bangroo (24)was beaten to death by CRPF  in downtown Srinagar.This further intensified the public rage and they clashed with CRPF personnel while carrying out the funeral procession  of  Rafiq which resulted in the killing of Javaid Ahmad Malla(22) on 20th June. These barbarian killings outraged the entire populace of Kashmir and they came out on the streets  furiously protesting against this carnage and continued to demand action against the killers in their protest demonstrations and the repealing of  draconian laws by virtue of which  the forces have been given the license to kill, arrest and destroy  homes on mere suspicion. It is in knee jerk  reaction or calibrated one ( who knows which) that CRPF in Sopore and JK police  in Islamabad allegedly killed  in cold blood  Shakeel Ahmad Ganai(17), Firdous Ahmad Kakroo (16), Bilal Ahmad  Wani (21) on 27th June and Tauqir Ahmad(9) and Tajamul Bashir (17) on 28th in Sopore and Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khandey(15),Imtiyaz Ahmad Itoo(17) and Shujat ul Islam(16)  in Islamabad in south  Kashmir on 29th.  June. When the situation was slightly improving, Muzzafer  was chased to death by drowning in Batamallo on 5th July when a minister paid a visit to the area under the instructions from Delhi and Fayaz Ahmad and Fancy Jan were killed in batamallo  with ‘ flying bullets’ when the protesters were protesting the brutal killing of  Muzaffer Ahmad. the next day. Abrar Ahmad,17, the cute boy  in Maisuma was  killed in cold blood on  6TH July. This is how the so-called security apparatus resorted to carnage and created the current turmoil in the state yet the media had the gall to say that violence was imported . How could the Liliputian intervention of considerably weakened militant organisations  create such a situation which only the deeply hurt feelings could bring about? Had it been so, they could have created this sort of situation before. Nothing is more painful, insulting  and demeaning  to our mothers  and Kashmiris in general  than to be told  that their  grief  and outrage at the killing of their blooming  young boys  and their  quest  for   political empowerment is actually their willingness to be used by “others on payment ‘’ New Delhi and its cohorts  have bruised our collective psyche beyond repair  time and again and it is these deep wounds and scars  that speak on the streets of Kashmir. Only refer back to  last year’s Shopian   atrocity  which left deepest scar on our psyche  and the lava has been smoldering  inside  for the past one year. How our soul was strangulated  by the distortion of facts about that case , how even the CBI  was  used to cover up  the soul-stirring  atrocity  and thereby complete denial of justice. People knew that they will never get justice as everything  is condoned  here in the name of  flawed notion of nationalism and would have called off the strike if their grief and suffering  would have been acknowledged  and their feelings assuaged   by appropriate steps which people were  demanding  for..  But unfortunately New Delhi continues to be in the denial mode of Kashmiris’  pain and sufferings and their rights’ movement and dubs every  cry for justice  as law and order problem- the cliché which has outlived its use.by being overused  and by implicating Pak hand which is a convenient ploy  to muzzle the public voice  of dissent. Stone pelting falls within the paradigm of resistance  and not the law and order domain. It symbolizes Kashmiri youth’s abhorrence for Indian  domination in the state symbolized by the unprecedented  presence of army and other forces and her   rule which has manifested itself in manipulation of Kashmiris as dumb driven cattle and   concentration  of all the political  and security related powers  in Delhi   while  being   forcibly held against their will. The present agitation is not therefore  against the CM of the state government  which has already been divested of all power and authority by a mere babu from Delhi who issues a laundry list of do’s and don’ts to him like a headmaster of yore. and therefore the change of “poster boy of democracy” is not going to help the situation though that is the only thing that Delhi could think of doing to keep its collaborators fighting with each other  to evade addressing the real malaise  . Stone pelting is not an invention of Kashmiris   to be condemned by the Fatwas of rented  moulvis and muftis but is universally resorted to by people  to show their anger and resistance  against the undesirable policies and programmes  of the govts and to press for their demands and rights including the right to demand justice  for atrocities committed and the repealing of laws that legitimize such  atrocities. Greece, the cradle of civilization, has witnessed  stone throwing by dissenting populace in the recent past  against the govt of the day  but no bullets were showered on them  or Tuesday’s protests in Belfast of northern Ireland should serve as an eye-opener  for the policing methods in the valley as has been emphasized by Greater Kashmir editorial of Thursday particularly because there are similarities  between the two situations. Or closer home in different parts of India there are violent commotions everyday but nobody  gets killed even’ incidentally.’ in these agitations.

In fact nowhere  in the world are stones responded to  with bullets  or  detentions of stone throwers except in Kashmir under the most arbitrarily misused Public Safety Act because Kashmiris  are  treated   as an extension of  the enemy –Pakistan, not  “our own people ” as is time and again being  parroted to  control  the territory. Even for the sake of that argument  govt could have shown  sympathy to the suffering masses and taken steps to assuage the hurt feelings but instead  it used and continues to use all terrorizing methods to suppress the people as is evident by 800 detentions in the past two weeks But history is a witness to the fact  that these coercive  methods have only intensified people’s resolve to fight back. Even after the detentions of  “rabble-rousers” like  Syed Ali Shah Geelani and  Nayeem Ahmad Khan,  protests have continued unabated. One can take  the present situation  as  post Geelani. In his absence youth is more determined  to carry the struggle to its desired goal, and therefore the detentions have not served any purpose but only aggravated the anger.  What adds pepper to the raw injuries is the vicious campaign carried out by sections of media especially electronic  like Times Now TV channel through its anchor Arnob Goswami who shamelessly  and repeatedly  spewed  poisonous and provocative  statements with finality  that  it is the paid and rented mourners who are protesting on the streets of Srinagar. He tried to put together clumsily intercepts of conversations  to prove the Lashkar hand in fomenting trouble in the state. What gave one some relief was Mani Shanker Ayer’s snubbing him time and again  for playing the role of a  prosecutor rather than an anchor. Other channels  for fear of lagging behind in displaying their ‘nationalism’ tried to  overtake his channel in the race for  confusing the people of India with cooked up  tales. It is utter crassness of Indian government,  its denial of  the existence of genuine demands and   the  fabrications of different agencies    in the face of  killing of young boys that acted like fuel to the fire. This is basically how New Delhi has always  responded to  Kashmiris’    cry  for justice  and their  demand for political  empowerment. As a result every barbarity  and unfathomable  acts of inhumanity against Kashmiris are justified in the name of pseudo and jingoistic nationalism  and national security. Even today when mothers’ hearts have been torn asunder   and they  are  most worried about the safety and security of their children, government continues  to terrorize them with the might of army and other paramilitary forces with imprisonments of their young ones and by other terror tactics. While women in large numbers came out to protest against the savage and merciless killing of teen age boys, government agencies and embedded journalists  are busy in  vicious disinformation campaign. But what is encouraging  are some  sane voices from Delhi like oases  in the desert who  did not only empathize with the people of Kashmir but pleaded  for the speedy resolution of the political  issue which is deeply embedded in the collective psyche of Kashmiris  and erupts every now and then  when the system creates such situations  which  reminds  people time and again  how colonized and besieged they are  by a country which has the distinction of being the largest democracy  on earth and despite  multiple ruptures and discontinuities the yearning for release from the vicious circle  does not change its character though it may change its form from time to time.                 

The greatest sufferer in all this as in the past are  women whose families have been devastated, personalities  disintegrated, souls bruised, bodies benumbed, minds immobilized and  nerves paralysed. After marriage  women generally live for their children. They become the axis around which  their   existence revolves. Once they lose  their children, they lose their life force. They experience a vacuum inside as well as outside. They  become  living dead bodies and their devastated lives   spread  their wings around and affect not only a family but  the whole community. And when the killings are  the handiwork of those who are supposed to protect, the pain is felt in every vein and artery of the community .That is why any sensitive soul  who visits from outside  can at once feel the devastation  writ large on the people  and the landscape of Kashmir. Only a humane and  just intervention from powers that be  can  bring life back to a devastated  populace. The government of India must, if it has an iota of concern for people and wants   to find a way out of the present   situation, repeal AFSPA, PSA, DDA, release all those young boys and political leaders and activists who have been arrested, institute a fast track enquiry into the brutal killings to give exemplary  punishment to the   guilty  within 15days. Then only  can  you douse the flames of public outrage to some extent and not by listening to the advice of hawks in the establishment and those vested- interest  groups and persons who have been telling the government  of India that people will cool down  after sometime and resume normal life on their own. and  that there is no need to do anything  because that is how their own coffers would  keep on   thriving . Today even the collaborates of Delhi in the state  have felt compelled to speak  the truth  about Kashmir and stressed the need for a speedy solution of the K issue. It is the vested interest of many players in Kashmir  that  has devastated Kashmir  and deadened the Indian conscience which I am sure will rise to the occasion if shown the clear picture of Kashmir and address the mass uprising in a humane manner  as Atal Behari Vajpai had proposed and not to look at Kashmir through Pakistani  and security  prism. It is the recognition  and endorsement of Kashmiris’ rights movement  by both India and Pakistan which will open the way out from the perpetual  impasse in which we have been  trapped  for the past sixty years. This is not the time to dilly dally and make customary statements that the problem cannot be solved tomorrow or after six months. This is the time to act in dead earnest to resolve the issue in time bound framework through a structured dialogue. That alone can release the Kashmiris’ collective soul in agony   and India and Pakistan could get released from the sinister burden of history.! Hope this anguished cry is heard in the corridors of power lest we plunge into an abyss from which there could be no return!

(The author teaches at the Department of English, University of Kashmir. Feedback at hameedah.nayeem@gmail.com)