Views from Srinagar
Syed Maajid Rashid Andrabi
EVER since the symbol of “resistance” Burhan Wani was laid to rest, the Kashmir valley witnessed many heart wrenching and breath taking incidents. The turmoil that followed the killing of Burhan, brought the entire Kashmir to a halt for six months while reigniting the demand of the people for the right to self determination.
Though, as usual, the same was crushed by using excessive force, but what refused to die down, was the firm conviction of the people to impress upon the government to settle their long lasting issue.
Thereafter, a plethora of events took place which became a cause of concern for all. The support of the people for the militants reached new heights. The sense of hatred against the law enforcing agencies became stronger than before. Stone pelting and protests became the order of the day.
Offering gun salute at the funerals of militants became the talk of the town. Mass gathering of the people to divert the attention of the forces so as to help the militants escape became a new trend.
Likewise, following the path of militancy, many new educated youth joined the militant ranks to fight against the state, thus, raising an alarm in the state administration.
In addition to it, the manner with which the law enforcing agencies handled the turmoil, generated more repulsion and repugnance, which went against them and weakened their approach to portray themselves as being people friendly.
If we take a look at the past two decades, one can conclude that they have been full of tragedies for the Kashmiris. They had to go through pain, agony and distress. Cases related to human rights violation, torture, forced disappearances, unkindly and indecent treatment as well as high handedness have eroded the real meaning of justice from their lives. As a result, their entire outlook towards this word has changed, which as a consequence, has rendered this world good for nothing for them. The crusade for equal rights and equal treatment hasn’t met with the desired outcome. The people are shattered and all that they have with them are broken dreams, muzzled voices and unfulfilled promises.
The injustices done to them have given rise to a sense of alienation, against the authorities, that has created a wedge in their hearts, which drives them to fight for their rights, they have been robbed of.
Thus, what prevails is the sign of distress, anguish, trouble, and dissatisfaction among them which has reached to alarming proportions. Although, several efforts were made to resolve the affliction but so far no endeavor has been able to bring them out of the trauma they are in from last twenty years to put an end to their sufferings.
Ironically, the people of Kashmir are caught in the ideological differences between the different ruling governments, which only add to their plight instead of relieving their sufferings. They only get to see different governments but the end result remains the same. They continue to be the victims of violence with no sense of concern ever showed towards them, at all.
From times in memo, one can remember the pledge that all political parties take to resolve the Kashmir dispute, but till now nothing of that sort could be seen and the chances of which are most unlikely, keeping in view the turbulence and unrest the valley of Kashmir is reeling under.
Kashmir that is known to the world as “The Paradise on Earth” is yearning to justify its title, but does it really deserve this prominence keeping in view its present situation is an important point to ponder.
The word that can aptly describe Kashmir is the “battlefield” where the people and forces are at war with each other for their opposite but acknowledged ideologies.
The “battlefield” where politicians contest each other for the power they could rule with by deceiving the innocent people on account of the promises which are made never to fulfill, as per their unique political ideologies. The “battlefield” that has no rule and where the innocents and the guilty both come under the same scanner and are dealt without any distinction, for there is a generalized mindset that all Kashmiris are anti nationals.
The “battlefield” where the security personnel can take advantage of the draconian laws like AFSPA and deal with any kind of situation according to their own wish without fearing for whether the action that is to be taken is valid and required under law or not, for there is a vast difference between the law makers and the law enforcers and the latter of the two has all the control to take law in hand with complete impunity.
Whosoever is in capacity to influence the lives of people through one way or the other hold varied ideologies, which is why this place has become an ideological battlefield, where the Kashmiris are at the receiving end and have to bear the brunt of every inopportune incident.
Here the aspirations of the people are trampled to show the dissent for registering their protest against the injustices done to them. The situation in the Kashmir valley is so grim that it is very difficult to ascertain who rules whom. Is it the men in uniform who rule the people and resort to their own ways of dealing with them or is it the inability of the state authorities to keep its security personnel in check, which would have not resulted in such a situation.
Injustices in no way could bring about a peaceful and prosperous future but will only add fuel to the fire. The people of Kashmir in no way want to be a part of that place which breeds injustice, where human lives are of no value and where their freedom is chained.
Kashmir that used to have been at the time when it was awarded the title of being the paradise on earth has lost all its sheen and now it is in no way worthy of it. Had it been the same as it used to be, the Valley and its people would have been the most fortunate of all. But the injustices have spoiled everything with the stories of discontentment and hatred.
Getting the people out of the vicious cycle of violence is of prime importance and needs to be followed religiously. For this purpose, it is necessary to establish a congenial atmosphere between the people and the authorities where both could share their opinions openly without any hesitation.
Talks hold the key to the resolution of the problem which as of now seems to be missing. The dream of Kashmir where everyone could live a life of dignity without fearing for their existence still needs to be fulfilled and for this the first step is to address the aspirations of the people and work towards achieving them.
The dream of a Kashmir where there is no high handedness and everyone is accountable for his/her actions before the people and where everyone cares for one another regardless of the benefits that often tear them apart, needs to be molded into reality.
[Writer is Kashmir columnist: syedmajidr59 @gmail.com]