Killings And Kashmir: Interchangeable Lexis of Twenty First Century
By Kashoo Tawseef
29 February, 2016
Freedom is a timeless value. The United Nations Charter encourages respect for fundamental freedoms. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights mentions freedom more than twenty times. All countries have committed to protecting individual freedoms on paper - but in practice, too many break their pledge, these were the words of current Secretary General of United Nations; but Mr. Ban Ki-moon, these declarations and charters’ are being torn apart every day and night in Kashmir.
Presently, killing is Kashmir and Kashmir is killing. Killings, particularly of the youth have become a daily ordeal in Kashmir. People who take to the streets for their legitimate reasons are also being killed by the so-called security forces of the so called democratic state. Such killings are a routine phenomenon from the last three decades now. Some are getting killed at the border, some in their houses, some while going for work to make their living, and others by “unknown” gunmen. The latter is being perceived by some as neutralizing strategy by agencies using non-state actors against each other. Time will tell if that holds any truth. If the state administration has to maintain law and order, why do it at the cost of innocent and young lives? Why kill civilians this way? Can someone explain them that there are better ways out there!
Native author of the land, Mirza Waheed, in his book, The Collaborator, sums up the current situation accurately, “there were people dying everywhere getting massacred in every town and village, there were people being picked up and thrown into dark jails in unknown parts, there were dungeons in the city where hundreds of young men were kept in heavy chains and from where many never emerged alive; there were thousands who had disappeared leaving behind women with photographs and perennial waiting; multitudes of dead bodies on the roads, in hospital beds, in fresh martyrs' graveyards scattered casually on the snow of mindless borders.”
Is innocent human blood in Kashmir so cheap? Or has it turned cheap over the years due to the political conflict and rivalry of two nuclear nations? There are hundreds of ways to deal with the law and order situation other than bullets. There are softer ways of handling such situations even in worst times. It is really condemnable that bullets are becoming an easy tool for administration of the day and their bosses in New Delhi to tackle every issue including the protesters protesting for pay rise or employment.
The fact of the matter is that political space in Kashmir is shrinking day by day and the young generation is choked and they don’t find any way to vent out their frustration due to the mistreatment at the hands of the so called state administration and security agencies. By the way, they’re many agencies operating in Kashmir, and you never know. Unfortunately, people at the higher echelons’ are missing the point that unless the political issue of Kashmir isn’t resolved, no matter what you name it, there will always be a law and order situation be it any small or big event. That is why one sees that on every Friday’s, every Eid, and every Muharram there is law and order problem. Even in a small protest like teachers protest, daily wagers protest, etc there is law and order issue. In reality, life has no value in Kashmir and the daily killings bear witness to this fact. I remember a family and how there lives were shattered after losing two of their family members. Two decades ago, one of my family relatives lost their young son at the hands of Indian army while he was sleeping in his room and the bread earner at the hands of unidentified gunmen while going to office and examples of such cases are many. Statistically the number of lives lost from last two to three decades is in thousands and if you break it down annually, the number is in hundreds and if you look at district wise it’s shocking and nerve wrecking.
Killings and Kashmir are synonyms now. Everyday the newspapers are full of news items about the killings and the only difference is numbers. It seems no one is bothered about why killings are happening in Kashmir, and no one is concerned how to stop such killings. The most strange fact is there’s new culture of unidentified gunmen which have evolved recently and no one knows who is killing who and why? There’s complete anarchy and it seems something disastrous is in the offing.
But the question remains when will such killings stop and who will take the responsibility of all these killings and when will justice be served. When will perpetrators of mass killings including innocents, youths, women, and children be booked as per law? The Amnesty’s recent report on human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir bears witness to this injustice, about this report, the Senior Director of Global Operations at Amnesty International, Minar Pimple, said that till now, not a single member of the security forces deployed in the state has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court. This lack of accountability has in turn facilitated other serious abuses. To those who act as a mute spectator to this injustice in Kashmir remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, to deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. Kashmir is a living example of how humanity is being challenged in twenty first century every day and night, and the world is acting as mute spectator. Today it is Kashmir and tomorrow it will be your home town and your neighborhood. Come forward and help in stopping these killings and help in solving the Kashmir conflict to make peace and stability of South Asia achievable vision. Unless the “K” word is not resolved, killing and Kashmir will remain synonym.
Born in conflict area, Kashoo Tawseef is a student of Media Studies and political science. His articles and essays have appeared in the Greater Kashmir, Kashmir Times, Rising Kashmir, Etalaat and in other media journals. His paper about the resolution of a Conflicts and a way forward won a journalism and research award in the United Kingdom. You can record your viewpoint at k dot tawseef at the rate gmail.com