By B. Raman
In our excitement over the revolution from nowhere sweeping across the Arab world and in our preoccupation with trying to understand what has been happening in Egypt, we should not fail to highlight and protest against the utter barbarity of the cold-blooded murders of two young Kashmiri Muslim girls at Sopore in Jammu & Kashmir by three suspects believed to be from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) on February 1 — two of them suspected to be locals and the third suspected to be a Pakistani.
Such jihadi barbarity has been known in the past and continues in the present. Public opinion ought to be shocked and outraged not only by the act of barbarity that put an end to the lives of two innocent and young Muslim girls, but also by the deafening silence of large sections of the population of the Valley in general and by many — if not most — of the separatist leaders in particular.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Sajjad Lone, the dissident leader, need to be complimented for strongly coming out against this barbarity. The almost total silence of many others in the face of the courageous articulation by leaders like them of their outrage should not be a matter of surprise either. It had happened in the past and it continues to happen in the present.
These silent people never hesitate to condemn and protest every time there are allegations of excesses by the security forces. They never hesitate to come out in their hundreds and thousands and demonstrate in the streets against the security forces.
But they seem to have lost their voice, conscience and courage when innocent civilians were deliberately and barbarically killed by the jihadi terrorists. Their silence not only speaks of their physical and mental cowardice. Worse still, it also speaks of their willingness to tolerate and white-wash jihadi barbarity. Jihadi barbarity is understandable. That seems to be their view.
Silence in the face of barbarity amounts to complicity in the commission of barbarity. Not only is the cold-blooded murder of these two girls barbaric, the cold-blooded silence of these people is equally barbaric. Those who murdered these girls are guilty of barbarity in action. Those who remain silent are guilty of barbarity in mind.
One has not yet seen any strong reaction from roof-top liberals such as Arundhati Roy and her ilk to the barbarity perpetrated at Sopore. One should not be surprised if they come out with double-edged words to rationalise the act of barbarity while seeming to deplore it.
Our electronic media has done well in highlighting the barbarity and the accompanying criminal silence. They should keep it up. It should not be just a proforma outrage. It should be a real outrage.