Now that check posts have sprung up all over Kashmir Valley, voices which have all along been criticising routine checks have become more vocal once again. Certain so-called champions of human rights are expressing grave concerns on this issue and citing the same as being violative of the right to privacy and free movement. These activists would have surely been taken seriously had they been equally forceful in criticising senseless killings of minority community members and migrants that deprived the hapless victims of their right to life and has shattered families.
Many rights activists in India complain of government inaction and public apathy towards their campaign, but they adroitly avoid mentioning the fact of them being brazenly subjective in their crusade against abuse and excesses. They keep lamenting of being given a raw deal by the Indian government and sing eulogies praising foreign countries and organisations that host them, even though it’s apparent that such invites are covertly manipulated by vested interests and forces inimical to India, and thus, more often than not, motivated by extraneous considerations rather than the merit of their arguments.
For example, an award-winning author turned rights activist strongly feels that J&K is a “police state” under “occupation” of India, and seems to find nothing wrong in the orgy of death and destruction that terrorists have unleashed on locals. Why this well-read person’s silence is all the more intriguing is because even the 2018-2019 UNHRC report on Kashmir mentions that “Since the late 1980s, a variety of armed [terrorist] groups has been actively operating in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and there has been documented evidence of these groups committing a wide range of human rights abuses, including kidnappings, killings of civilians and sexual violence.”
Similarly, a journalist turned activist who’s a key member of a Kashmir based tribunal on human rights and justice and as such would certainly be involved in preparation of reports on human rights abuses. In its 2012 report, this organisation, which examined 214 cases of human rights violations in Kashmir, claims to have identified “500 individual perpetrators.” The most incredible part of this report is that all these offenders belong to the establishment. An ignoramus could have been misled into believing that terrorists are an epitome of virtue, and hence can commit no human rights excesses. However, for a seasoned journalist to believe that people armed with guns and answerable to none can be devoid of human fallibilities, is very difficult to digest.
Over the last few years, there has been a perceptible surge in incidents of heartrending atrocities by terrorists against on innocent people in Kashmir and the disturbing fact is that this is being done with blatant impunity. Readers may recall that in the past terrorist groups never took responsibility for killing civilians whom they suspected to be working as informers for security forces. However, this is not so now. In 2018, the proscribed terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen [HM] killed two youth in their twenties and not only took responsibility for the same but also posted graphic videos of these gruesome cold-blooded murders.
Yet, none of our rights activists, who otherwise shed copious tears when armed terrorists are killed during gunfights, considered such barbaric acts worthy of condemnation and this silence from influential organisations and personalities of Kashmir has only emboldened terrorists! So, Pakistan based proscribed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT] carrying out killing of minority community members as well as migrants in Kashmir and creating a fake armed group calling itself The Resistance Front [TRF] to take responsibility for these murders comes as no big surprise.
So rather than complaining, armchair activists who are maintaining a stoic silence on the ongoing targeted killings in Kashmir, but decrying temporary restrictions like routine searches imposed on commuters as a pre-emptive security measure, need to look inward. Similarly, the people in Kashmir need to understand that it’s the situation that dictates how stringency of security measures. During the nineties, when the level of violence was its peak, commuters had to undergo a series of routine checks at multiple check posts, but as things improved, the number of check posts reduced and so did the frequency of checking. So, when terrorists with concealed pistols go berserk and murder 11 innocent civilians in a matter of just two weeks, then is imposition of additional security checking something uncalled for?
In retrospect, there can be no two views that life in Kashmir turned into a nightmare the day the gun made its appearance here and so, if this puts one ill at ease, the million-dollar question is, who’s to blame? While activists talk about Kashmir being the most militarised place in the world, one mustn’t forget that this wasn’t the case prior to Pakistan sponsored terrorism raising its ugly head in J&K.
On the issue of the so-called Indian “occupation” of J&K, it would be pertinent to mention that United Jihad Council [UJC] is an amalgam of terrorist groups fighting in Kashmir created by Pakistan army’s Inter Services Intelligence [ISI] for coordinated action. UJC is headed by Syed Salahuddin who has gone on record to admit that “we are fighting Pakistan army’s war in Kashmir.” Now if this is the case, then how can J&K be Indian “occupation”?
Lastly, on the issue of being subjected to frequent searches, let’s not forget that even though we aren’t terrorists or saboteurs, yet undergoing a thorough physical check before boarding an aeroplane is mandatory. So, when we don’t take any offence while being frisked at airports and getting our hand baggage x-rayed, or perceive checking to be degrading, then why should we get perturbed or unduly agitated on being checked by law enforcing agencies? However, if one can’t resist complaining, then before casting aspersions and feeling persecuted, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to ask oneself the question- who’s to blame?