Views from Srinagar
ON April 12, 2016 armed forces in Handwara killed two youth – Muhammad Iqbal Pir (21) of Bonhama, Kupwara and Nayeem Qadir Bhat (23) of Handwara. The duo was part of the demonstrations to express their anger against intimidation of the honour of a daughter of the area at the hands of armed forces. As per a report published in Rising Kashmir, the DIG, North Kashmir, Uttam Chand said that protests erupted in Handwara town after a trooper allegedly attempted to molest a local girl.
It was followed by more demonstrations and more killings. The murders were covered tactfully by confusing and conflicting stories, coercion and information blackout. We were told that the whole thing will be probed and exemplary punishment would be delivered to the killers. However, all we saw were the FIRs against the killed, the wounded youth and those who participated in demonstrations and not against the killers. We also saw the disgraceful situation to which the girl and her family were subjected to when she was detained and a video of her narrating the account was released. We saw that neither the civil society nor the honourable courts could offer any help to the girl and her family. The whole story got waned in memories and everybody carried on, peacefully.
On July 10 2016, when Kashmir valley was engulfed in the flames of death and destruction, the family of Abdul Rehaman Mir was watching TV inside their home in Tengpora area of Batmaloo Srinagar. The situation was calm and there were no demonstrations or stone pelting in the area. Suddenly a police party led by an Officer barges in the house and starts vandalising it, abusing and beating the inmates, including the women. The young son of the house tries to rescue his mother from the assault of the police officer. The officer gets infuriated, catches hold of him and pumps a couple of bullets in his abdomen and triumphantly leaves the house. The next day the officer pleads innocence saying that he never visited the place of the murder. Father of the murdered son, Rehman Mir, alleges that it was the officer who had murdered the child in their house.
The government and the High Court on this issue are at opposite ends. We are given to understand that even after the intervention of the High Court, FIR may not be lodged as the state is planning to approach the Supreme Court to protect the official against any prosecution.
On Aug 3, the SPO of a bureaucrat killed a 28 year old man, Farooq Ahmad Kuchay and seriously injured another boy, Suhail Ahmad at Lethpora near Awantipora in Pulwama. The top official, ADC of Ramban, in Jammu Province was travelling in his official SUV during the fateful night. On seeing a “mob” of protestors on the road, the official stops his vehicle and his PSO opens the door of the SUV and fires at the gathering, killing Farooq on the spot. The party, after committing the crime, abandons their vehicle and runs to the nearby CRPF camp for safety. We were told that the ADC and his party were taken into custody (Not arrested).
Next day we are told that a FIR has been registered against SPO with no mention of ADC or others. We are not even told under which section the FIR has been lodged. However the very movement of the senior official in the area in his official car and staff that too during the night is too suspicious to be overlooked. Their running towards the CRPF post after committing the murder makes the episode too aberrant.
Same evening CRPF personnel manning a bunker empty a full load of a pellet cartridge in the abdomen of Riyaz Ahmed Shah, an ATM attendant, somewhere near Medical College Srinagar after beating him to pulp. The cold blooded murder was made to look like an accident, but hundreds of pellets found in his abdomen during the autopsy, insisted by the family to be performed on the body, exposed the cold blooded murder the poor man had been victim of.
During the intervening period of April 16 and Aug 3 2016, many others have fallen dead to the provoked and unprovoked firing of bullets and pellets of the government forces. A few have also died due to beating and in chases. There is no remorse, no regret, no sympathy no words of consolation from any quarter whatsoever.
The above incidents of cold blooded murders and hundreds more, clearly point towards the fact that nobody needs even an excuse for killing Kashmiris. It seems to be well established in the books of the rule that the Kashmiris are expendables and everybody in khaki or in an official SUV is eligible to kill. Being what they are is the sufficient crime for their execution, even at the hands of a police recruit drawing a stipend of Rs 3000. This is very squalid example of a jungle raj unheard of in the modern history.
There is no doubt that India is avenging the Kashmiris’ anger against it and is following the policy of “more the anger, more the killings.” The unfortunate part of the story is that they have always done so with active collaboration of the state government, which ironically has always been dominated by our own leaders and politicians.
This is a pity that the state governments, irrespective of what party or combination of parties is at helm, have always acted as puppets of New Delhi, and have always helped it in enforcing its “oppressive” policies in the state. The story has been the same whether the governments have been formed as a result of fraudulent elections or by active participation of the people. The state governments have never had any guts to challenge the intimidating policies of New Delhi and its armed forces. The political parties become vocal in public sympathy only when they are in opposition, but follow the same rule of behaving as deaf, dumb and blind when they sit on the right side of power galleries.
The way the state government and its functionaries behave looks more or less as if they have signed the acceptance copy of the appointment letter from a corporate, where the first paragraph speaks of pleasure of appointing so-and-so for a specified position against the salary and the perks attached with the post. Another 19 paragraphs talk of the situations, which qualify the services of the employee for termination. It is obviously the luxury guaranteed in the first para, and the fear of termination from services which ensures the behaviour of the governments as the symbolic deaf, dumb and blind monkeys.
Looking at the way Kashmiris are killed in the streets, I am reminded of an incident, which I am a witness of, and took place at Jammu Railway station on an evening in early nineties. A brawl ensued between a cop and a Vaishno Devi pilgrim over some issue, which ended when people present there intervened. The cop disappointed for not teaching the pilgrim a lesson yelled, “Shukr kar tu Kashmiri nahi hai. Tujhe yahin per goli mar deta.” email@example.com