Kashmir: The pellet terror


Views from Srinagar

Hassan Zainagiree

IN medieval era rival claimants, sibling brothers included, would often fight among themselves to settle the issue of succession to throne. The vanquished would have no mercy from the victorious. To eliminate the last ‘ threat’ to his unassailable authority, he would behead or hang the defeated contender or the hubris in him would intoxicate him to ultimate savagery— gouge the eyes of the trounced out of the sockets and spare him ‘alive’ in prison.
Head-chopping or asphyxiation by rope or a bullet-kill sets a ‘cooling effect’ that lasts for eternity. Drained of energy, there is no ‘rebirth’ for the horror to revisit. But inflicting blindness— by whatever means— crude ( prevalent in times of, who we deride as, ‘ uncivilized’ nations) or ‘sophisticated’ (practiced by today’s modern ‘civilized’ state) torments victim permanently. It doesn’t obliterate the agony, multiplies it. In the grave of darkness he searches the beauty of his youthful sunny days and moonlit nights.
He gets locked in the container of isolation and exclusiveness that defines his world. Despite drawing sympathy, empathy and love from all, the universe, he feels, shrinks at him. Alas, he has to shoulder the cross—of his own being— himself, all alone. All his dreams burn on the pyre he is leapt at. There is no calendar—lunar or solar—that rings him up to the approaching dawn and dusk. The clock jams its hands for him. He gets stuck in the hell of dependence.
The burning urge of seeing the unseen, listening to invisible rebound in all despair and desperation. The tantalizing love though wafts close to the bosom, yet there are no eyes to measure the wealth of the pearls trickling down the cheeks of some one dearer. In the unfathomable darkness sinks the face of the mother, the little child owe its birth to. Can there be a tragedy more brutal, more devastating than the one pellet digs?
The script writers of pellet-blindness stick to the advocacy of their stinking manufactured narrative—it is ‘law and order’ issue. The muscle of brute power doesn’t allow them to accept the reality of sentiment that mows down the state discourse.
For sake of argument, even if the peddled arrogance is taken at its face value, does maintenance of law and order necessitates stocking and using weapons that snatch eyesight, destroy delicate vital organs through perforation with hundreds of iron splinters, many of which disappear untraceable in the body to spread the poison . Why ordnance factories that produce such lethal weapons (so far nearly a dozen civilians have got killed due to pellet firing, enough to belie the version of non-lethality pleaded by the government) have Kashmir the only destination spot when, in comparison, more violent demonstrations inflict massive damage to life and property elsewhere in India?
For ‘Nationalists’ in India it may be more digestible to hear from someone whose loyalty to nation India they cannot doubt. Chandra Shekhar Gupta is a senior journalist and former Editor of The Indian Express.
On January 24, he tweeted as to why no pellet guns were used in Chennai where mobs attacked police stations and burnt vehicles in the metropolis when similar attacks were cited as an excuse to use the weapon in Kashmir? And when R Raganathan, another journalist, responded that use of pellet guns in valley was because there was ‘no insurgency or sustained attacks on the police’, Gupta answered: ‘ Nothing warranted the use of pellet guns… Valley has 52 with both eyes damaged, nearly a thousand with one’. Greater Kashmir in its January 24, 2017 report says that in 2016 uprising 10 civilians were killed by pellet guns and in 2010 when pellet guns were used first time, six civilians lost their lives after being hit by pellet fire. (Brazenly shameful NC leadership has forgotten its murderous and treacherous past.
Umar Abdullah led the coalition dispensation of NC and Congress in 2010 mass upheaval.) According to GK, April 5, 2017, with Chadoora teenager becoming the latest victim of the pellet horror, 65 civilians, mostly teen-aged youth, have lost both eyes. Titled ‘Poll day horror’( GK, April 11), Zehru Nisa in her report states that ‘ 21 pellet victims may lose eyesight’.
That shows the liberty of indiscriminate use of the dreaded gun. How the handler extracts vicarious pleasure in emptying the gun, Nisa reports of a 21 –year old youth G Ahmad who has ‘ an entire pellet cartridge along with the shell in his chest and abdomen’. ‘He told us they( security forces) put the pellet gun on his body and fired’ quoting doctors at SMHS hospital Srinagar.
To ‘reduce the collateral damage’ and for crowd control, it is said that ‘non-penetrative’ plastic bullets are likely to be used in the JK state.
However, along with Pawa gun the pellet gun will continue to be used since they have enlisted it in ‘non-lethal category’.
That exactly fits in George Orwellian artistic expression . Words they use as weapons to cloak hypocrisy, the callousness and cold violence.
That mean exactly the opposite of what they convey traditionally. Here ‘democracy’ flings surprises. With pellet feast the language heist go hand in hand. In this splendid blend the intent stays masked.
That is why they raise the pitch of ‘ Insanyat’, ‘Jamhooryat’ in the thick of ‘Dead Eyes Epidemic’. This is the miracle of ‘largest democracy’ where the two unjustifiable contentions hug together and smile in oneness!
Instigation’ is the catchy word they take refuge under. Forgetting at the same time the suffocation of suppression that forces even a teenager to howl his anger through the medium he knows has no rose petals to greet. When girls, breaking the stereotype, take to streets, it is not only manifestation of anger and alienation unbridgeable but declaration that times have changed and they want to pullout of the prevailing status-quo of subjugation.
Those at the helm of affairs need to realize that talking through bullets and pellets and choking the expression outlets is not the right answer to the festering sore of Kashmir. Coercive approach and ‘ Muscular policy’ (Chidambaram) has not yielded anything positive before and repeating it won’t change the forgone conclusion. That is cast in stone, history warns.

—Courtesy: GK