By K.N. Pandita
Unbiased observers had been predicting that the way militancy was run in Kashmir it would ultimately head towards crime. This is the worst thing to happen, and unfortunately, it has come true. A European Union NGO delegation that visited Kashmir this summer has made a seventeen-page report that uncovers very disturbing situation of Kashmir civil society. The report holds militancy responsible for ushering in a phase of criminality in Kashmir. “They are abducting people for money, raping, murdering, extorting money, using mafia practices, etc. under the cover of ‘the movement’. For them this is a lucrative industry and under the present circumstances, it is easy to blame the security forces for all crimes that are committed,” the report says.
The Belgian Association for Solidarity with Jammu and Kashmir adds that while bandits and criminals were there in every society, in Jammu and Kashmir, however, they were taking advantage of the troubled situation. The team has met with separatist leaders and their affiliates including Sayyid Ali Shah Gilani of Hurriyat (G) and placed its observations before them.
It was the apprehension of many well-meaning Kashmiri intellectuals and thinkers that the “movement” might one day degenerate into criminality and thus bring untold plight to the society. Perhaps the reason is that the sections of society entrusted with holding moral and ethical authority have lagged behind in making their input in guiding society along the path of righteousness. No movement of whatever nature it is allows degeneration of moral values. A society that loses moral values cannot support any ideology, vision or aspiration. If the society is skeptical about the role of its politicians, it has to repose trust in the keepers of moral and ethical authority. No government can impose moral authority arbitrarily because its institutions are not equipped with that sort of wherewithal. Moral authority rests with the thinkers, philosophers, men learned in religious sciences, writers, poets, dramatists and artists. The ulema have the largest role to perform because they hold daily and weekly congregations of people and that is the platform wherefrom they have to disseminate moral teaching. And we should not forget the dictum that God sends down his wrath on people who lose their morals.