By K.N. Pandita
Kidnapping and killing two teenaged sisters in the town of Sopor indicates return of barbarism and bestiality through which Kashmir has been passing for last two decades. This is not the much hyped fake and fabricated encounter killing that whips up public anger: it is broad day cannibalism in a society that would call itself humanistic. Myopic commentators will call it an isolated and chance happening or event. But the fact is that barbarism has not as of yet left Kashmir. Those who do not think normalcy has returned to Kashmir are not wronged. This is a message to the government also that it cannot make false claims of return of normalcy and then begin to believe in its own lies. There are many who have been lionizing the kidnappers and murderers during past two decades in the name of jihadis fighting for freedom.
How are they going to legitimise this dastardly killing n Sopor? The conscience of honest and religion abiding people should speak on this tragic event and not chose complacency. Staunch believers in human rights who usually and rightly raise voices against human rights violation, especially the destruction of human life, have moral responsibility to speak for protection of human rights without discrimination of space and time.
Kashmir watchers will be reminded that this is not a lone case of brutality and vengeance let lose against innocent civilians by the gun wielders in Kashmir. Such crimes have been committed against thousands of innocent civilians in the valley and the rights activists have closed their eyes to them. From this event the people of Sopor and of the valley in general will unmistakably understand that culture of violence has made deep inroads into Kashmirian civil society, and that is something of much serious consequences. Kashmir was known for its safety and humanism and a case of murder would shake the entire valley. But now, the people are afraid to speak openly on murders, kidnappings, hostage taking, rapes and other atrocities.
A hind-sight will show that militants never desisted from taking recourse to criminality and brutality from the very onset of the so-called freedom movement. In the initial days, minority community members in Kashmir became the targets of the bullets of externally sponsored and internally abetted militants. But later on, the so-called freedom fighters expanded their agenda and started targeting first the nationalist and humanist elements among the majority community, and then unleashed personal vendetta under the allegation of “informers of state agencies”. A few weeks ago, no less a person than the former President of APHC (U), Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat publicly said that Maulavi Muhammad Farooq, Abdul Ghani Lone and his own brother were killed by the gun-wielders of his own group. He did not keep the count of others who fell victims to the bullets of the militants but the kith and kin of the dead know it well who were the assassins.
Many of those assassins got killed in encounters with the security forces and their bodies were buried in the graveyards of the “martyrs”. Thus the murderers attained the status of martyrdom and their graves are being visited regularly and bedecked with flowers. How ironical that the killer and the killed both find their bodies buried in martyr’s graveyard and shown equal respect by the living. Who can make distinction between the grave of a murderer and that of a martyr?
Previously, there have been occasions when some innocent people got killed and the people raised the finger of accusation towards the security personnel. They made issue out of such events, taking out mammoth rallies, chanting threatening slogans and vowing to take revenge. More often than not the government instituted enquiry commissions. In most of the cases, the inquiry showed that the deceased were the victims of the bullets and highhanded acts of local insurgents or their external cronies. Out of sentimentality the protesting public would not believe in such dispassionate judicial pronouncements thereby lending covert support to militancy at home.
The massacre of two innocent teen-aged girls in Sopor should be an eye opener to those who still would not believe that indoctrination and criminalization in Kashmir has spread their tentacles to such an extent. It is in cases like the one under discussion that public opinion counts. No socially responsible person would like the murder case of two sisters in Kashmir go unnoticed and unaccounted. Public protest is more than justified in such cases and no protests exposes the fake rights activists. Silence of separatist leadership on this issue exposes them fully and erodes their credibility with the masses sharply.
Our political class takes refuge behind Gandhiji’s image to dole out sermons of virtuous deeds and pontificate spirituality. Any occasion related to any major event in the life of the Father of the Nation, serves stimulant to our politicos to project themselves as divines and super humans and the rest of the mortals as misguided and forlorn lot.
One of them has gone to the length of demanding the UN to declare his martyrdom day, meaning 30 January, as world anti-violence day. This is nice rhetoric and all music to ear. Before the UN decides to declare it anti-violence day, it will surely desire to ascertain that Gandhiji’s nation has really become anti-violence. Any impartial and true Gandhian will say that the world today including India is more violent than it was when Gandhiji sermonized over non-violence. This makes us think whether Gandhiji’s philosophy of non-violence is or is not practicable in present day conditions or that the world has really degenerated into bestiality where humanism and human values no more mean anything to anybody.
What we see happening in different parts of the country today is a clear testimony to degeneration of our character and moral value system. By dragging Gandhiji’s name for sermonizing but without translating his words into deeds is doing disrespect to him. Let us first make ourselves entitled to be called the nation of Gandhi ji then alone will our mentioning of him as the great humanist and universalistic make sense.