Kashmir: Tall claims, hollow intentions

Views from Srinagar

Aaliya Ahmed

WHEN it comes to our Kashmir – diaspora, Facebook warriors, NGOs and those hundreds of human rights activists and groups – they only scream for the nation of Kashmir and give long sermons of how they help their own compatriots during the need of hour. In the recent past there have been two shocking stories in the newspapers, which have brought a question mark on all of our claims; collectively that are we serious when we start supporting any phase of change or movement in Kashmir. A hapless family of Kulgam is still in need of help to contest the case of their son who has been awarded death penalty in West Bengal. Kashmir Bar Association which is more interested in issuing statements and deciding the quantum of protest calendars has not been able to provide legal support to all those incarcerated Kashmiris who are languishing in different jails within and outside Kashmir.
It is not only Kashmir Bar Association which is trying to score brownie points in Kashmir conflict but our resistance leadership has also failed to devise a parallel mechanism of ground level Auqaf committees with assistance from central Waqf board. Recent newspaper reports have revealed the grim picture that even medical seats which are reserved in Pakistani medical colleges for those boys and girls who have lost their parents in the conflict are being given to non-deserving people with recommendation letters from these leaders.
Separatist leadership has the responsibility to at least muster support in the society for the collective help of all those families who have suffered in Kashmir conflict so far. Kashmir Bar Association instead of doing symbolic visits to different jails should really provide legal help to those Kashmiris who need it most. They have been very prompt to get bails for the prominent separatist leaders and pursue their cases very seriously. Had they provided timely legal help to Afzal Guru perhaps he would not have been hanged. Now the Kulgam boy is suffering the same fate as Kashmir Bar Association, human rights groups and separatist leadership have issued long statements that they will not allow this boy to go to gallows. None of them so far has approached the family of the boy to provide him legal help and God knows whether Langate MLA Engineer Rasheed has done anything after screaming on the floor of house that he will provide legal help to the Kulgam boy.
Lawyers in Kashmir do not leave any occasion to be in news on the subject of Kashmir conflict. I was surprised to see on social media a lawyer asking the family of Kulgam boy to approach him so that he can provide them legal help. What a bizarre way of getting cheap publicity. The same lawyer could have visited the family and could have provided timely legal help. Human rights groups are always caught in the web of allegations that they receive huge funds to help those Kashmiri families who have suffered immensely in the turmoil. Without going in this debate for money, these groups should at least ensure that those common people are helped so that they can bear the expenses in hospitals.
Coming back to news, a report about a 23-year-old young girl who was hit by a CRPF bullet and has been battling for life in a Srinagar hospital for the past seven months deserves our attention. Her father who is a labourer with no other source of income, has no knowledge of how his family has survived during these months as he has been with his daughter who is undergoing treatment in Srinagar. Shamima Rasheed of Arwani village of Bijbhera has been paralyzed by the bullet and the doctors are hopeful that being young she may regenerate the damaged nerves and recover.
But her father Abdul Rashid Lohar who is a blacksmith has no hopes as he is finding it very difficult even to get medicines for his daughter. He has told a newspaper that in the past seven months he has not been helped by anyone neither, government not separatists. All those talking high on social media and swearing to carry on the cause at all costs do not even know how many such families will be forced to beg for their survival. Where are these hundreds of NGOs and human rights groups who have virtually opened shops and trade miseries of such people? One of the main reasons for the people to raise questions about the separatist leadership is this disconnect between the hapless families and them.
Shamima Rasheed is hoping against the hope that she will recover and live a normal life with no eye on the fact that her father would have been begging on the streets of Srinagar if his own villagers would not have helped him for the medication of his daughter. She could have perhaps recovered had she got special treatment outside the state with the help of government.
CM Mehbooba Mufti claimed that she was going to help all such victims to get specialized treatment, perhaps she has no time to know that a girl from her own area of Bijbhera does not have money to buy medicines. We must look back and do an honest introspection of what we owe to our own sufferers, and should try to shun the cheap publicity stunts to exploit such tragedies.

—Courtesy: Rising Kashmir.

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