Waiting for Justice

It is not for the first time that the ultimate justice has eluded Kashmiris. It has happened many times before and will continue to happen in future also. All were looking forward to the verdict of the Supreme Court in regard to the ultimate prosecution of the established cold blooded murderers of innocent Kashmiris.

Going purely by the rule of law, the judgement is definitely in order. However, keeping in view the entire history of the case and the strong pleas advanced by the country’s most prestigious investigating agency, it was expected that the justice will not only be done but will clearly appear to have been done. One would not like to debate the point of law.

The honourable judges are best suited to deliver their opinion which may strictly be in keeping with the laws. However, there is something beyond the laws. It is the conscience of a person. Sometime back the plea of the “collective conscience of the society” was taken in confirming death sentence of an alleged terrorist even though he had challenged the veracity of the trial.

If that judgement had to be in keeping with the “collective conscience” of the society, then this one too had to appear to satisfy the same “collective conscience” Justice cannot be divided. Not only in Kashmir but in many other places including the concerned global rights forums, the judgement has been received with dismay. The only silver lining has been the time limit given to the defence authorities to ensure prosecution of the alleged killers under Court Martial or a Criminal Court. The Defence Ministry too has been asked to give sanction for prosecution within three months. One hopes that this time restriction will be adhered to and taken into account subsequently. It is said that Justice delayed is justice denied!
Unfortunately, Kashmiris have had a bitter experience with various institutions held to be of repute in the country. They lost faith in the election commission because of 1987 rigging which is taken to be the real trigger of militancy in Kashmir. No doubt the unrest was exploited by our neighbours but initially the cause came from this side. They lost faith in security forces due to their role not only in humiliating civilians but using excessive force against them during the militancy. And to top it off, the security forces have refused to thin out and even to relinquish their draconian powers. They lost faith in the premier investigating agency due to the alleged cover up of the rape and murder of two women in Shopian.

This faith would have definitely been restored if the agency which had unearthed the killers of Pathribal had been allowed to prosecute them so that they were meted out the punishment they deserved. All hopes were on the supreme judicial body that they will uphold the meticulous investigation and ensure that the guilty are punished. In spite of all misgivings and because of the very strong pleas made by the premier investigating agency, the people expected something substantial.

However, the judgement though strictly in keeping with the provisions of the law has immensely disappointed the people. It is but natural for a people feeling let down from all sides to still harbour hope that they will finally be vindicated and it is doubly tragic and depressive if this fails to happen. Everybody is posing a question, “Where should one turn now to get justice?” Apart from this denial of justice, the people are now more scared because the perpetrators can rest assured that they can take everyone on without any fear whether they are on or off duty. No one is going to question them. No one wants to demoralise the forces regardless of what they do in “good faith!” They can kill, rape, and plunder in national interest without any remorse or accountability. This leaves people only one course that is to turn fatalistic and leave the ultimate judgement to destiny.

Kashmiris have been waiting for this justice for centuries and it still eludes them! However, in reality they never get depressed and disappointed because there is a general feeling that their cause is just and fair and they will definitely receive the final judgement from the Highest Celestial Court which is above all the terrestrial judicial bodies! This hope sustains them and gives them the strength to go on!

Comments at: ashrafmjk@ gmail.com