Tufail Mattoo with tragic loss of his young life last summer and now Faizan Rafique with his medieval detention have thoroughly exposed the brutal character of the Omar Abdullah-led regime. Loss of Tufail’s innocent life, even yet to be probed, set off a tsunami of mass anger across the Kashmir Valley taking a heavy toll of many more innocent lives.
Savage assault on Faizan’s childhood innocence triggered a wave of global condemnation ultimately forcing his release from detention under the state’s despicable Public Safety Act. As if impelled by the compulsive brutality of his regime, Omar Abdullah allowed himself to be dragged to ridiculous limits of justifying indefensible detention of a minor. Any other chief minister, with minimum sense of moral obligation towards life and liberty of his people, would have stopped short of stretching his argument over Faizan’s age beyond a decent limit. Instead, the hapless parents and their detenu-son were forced to go through an agonising farce of medical examination, certificate verification and the anguish of it all. The high-handed manner in which the police-dominated administration handled this case gave the impression as if this minor child of an ordinary family from Anantnag posed the most serious threat to not only the security of this state but also that of mighty India. The chief minister, being the chief political executive of the government supposedly accountable to his people, could have done better than acting as tool in this game. It was a sad sight to see and hear him arguing against the obvious fact that Faizan was a minor and that his school record was truthful. Omar’s extra-ordinary defence of an indefensible act of the police showed him and his government in very poor light.
The behaviour and attitude of the present government has exposed its draconian character. Contrary to the universally expected conduct of an elected regime, the coalition government of National Conference and the Congress headed by Omar Abdullah has revealed its anti-democratic propensity at each and every step. Were it not so, the case of Tufail Mattoo’s daylight murder would not have remained un-investigated for so long. Cases pertaining to gruesome killing of over 120 persons most of them young boys would have been at least registered and processed for investigation and prosecution of the accused. Chief Minister is himself on record to have acknowledged that several cases of these killings were not justified and that innocents had been killed. Omar’s moral responsibility does not end with his acknowledgement of murderous wrong doing by policemen under his command. Constitution as well as morality binds him to pursue this course till its logical end. Otherwise it is exactly what it looks to be—a gimmick.
Faizan’s case has exposed the limits of gimmickry. In any civilised society questions would be asked as to who should be held to account for atrocious detention of a minor; who should be punished for the agony caused to Faizan and his family who were forced to knock at one door after another until mercifully the Amnesty International exposed the shameful scandal in full glare; how can the state compensate Faizan for the grievous hurt caused to his childhood innocence. Unless these questions are answered the issue would continue to remain alive even after Faizan’s release from illegal detention.