BOOK REVIEW: WADI-E-KHOONAAB (Bloodied Vale)
By Abdul Majid Zargar
We live in a time of barbarism and the barbarians employ an array of ways & means to justify their conquests. The great crimes against most of humanity are committed & then justified in the name of security & National interest. Extraordinary Laws are employed to crush their rebellious subjects.
In the face of this barbarism, a cultural renaissance gets born. Revelations of crimes are made through journalistic investigations, Books, plays and songs. Affirmations of integrity, social solidarity and individual rejections of the monetary enticements strengthen moral commitment in the face of ever-present threats, assassinations and official censure. It is in this template of barbarism & resistance that “ Wadi-e-khoonaab” has been written in Urdu. Literally translated it means the “Bloodied vale”.
Wadi-e-khoonaab, is a result of painstaking efforts made by the Author S. Ahmad Peerzada. It is essentially a compendium of young saplings who were plucked & mangled by the deep State in 2010 even before acquiring a recognizable adult shape. It seeks to delve into the context of the lives of those young men & women killed and to provide the facts of the deaths, the profile of those killed and how their families are coping after these blossoms acquired the redolence of martyrdom.
The year 2010 remains the ultimate annus horribilis for the people of Kashmir. In this year the killing started in the first month of Jannuary itself (Inayat-ullah Khan- Killed on 8th Jannuary 2010) but the fillip got when on April 30, 2010, the Indian Army claimed to have foiled an infiltration bid from across the Line of Control, at Machil Sector in Kupwara district of Kashmir by killing three armed militants from Pakistan. However, it was subsequently established that the encounter had been staged and that the three alleged militants were in fact civilians of Rafiabad area, who had been lured to the army camp by promising them jobs as “porters” for the Army, and then shot in cold blood, in order to claim a cash award.
On June 11, there were protests against these killings in the downtown area of Srinagar. Police used massive force to disperse the protesting youth during which a teargas bullet killed a seventeen-year-old Tufail Ahmad Mattoo who was returning home after attending his education classes. Several protest marches were organized across the Valley in response to the killings which were fired upon by security forces/J&K Police resulting in more killings. Thereafter a vicious circle was set and killing of a boy was followed by protest demonstrations and clashes with police and CRPF in which another boy was killed which led to another protest by the boys till several youth lost their lives. In total 127 persons lost their lives while as the book under review details the account of only 125 people, the variation in the figures needs to be reconciled. In this edition, the author has furnished full details of only 80 martyrs while the remaining 45 are proposed to be detailed in another volume.
Giving the age profile of those killed, The author states that the youngest of those killed was 9 years old, Sameer Ahmad Rah of Batmaloo. According to eyewitnesses he was killed in the most inhuman, brutal & insensate way by CRPF personnel on 2nd August. Out of the total killed, 83% were in the age group of upto 30 years, 7% in the age group of 30-40 years & the remaining 10% above Forty years. This means that people in the most reproductive age group (Upto 40 years) formed bulk of the victims (90%) which further raises an important question. Were people falling in this reproductive age group deliberately targeted? Only a probe by an impartial international authority can establish this motive ?
Wadi-e-Khoonaab fills, to some extent, the void generally felt in the recording & documentation of the most valuable investment in precious lives, honor of women & destruction of properties offered by the people of Jammu & Kashmir since 1947 generally & 1989 particularly. Reasonably priced at Rs. 200/-, the book is a must read for all those who are interested in knowing the full profile of those martyred in the peaceful agitation of 2010.
The reviewer is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at firstname.lastname@example.org