The Indian nation and the government’s, both at the Centre and the State, are committed to upholding human rights in Kashmir regardless of the violent and vitiated environment prevalent over there. The Prime Minister has, on a number of occasions, reiterated his government’s resolve to protect the same even when dealing with terrorism. In accordance with the laid down policy security forces in J&K have been strictly instructed to respect the rights of the civilians. Sustained efforts have been made to remove deficiencies in the implementation of this policy. However, the scope of this commitment needs to be enlarged in order to ensure that it is applied in letter and spirit. This is because violation of human rights is not the exclusive domain of the security forces, there are others in the region who perpetrate crimes against humanity of a category far worse that what the security forces can even dream of.
What has baffled educated and right thinking commoners is that not a single “vociferous vocal cord”— HR organisation, factions of Hurriyat, political parties, legislators, NGOs and leaders of all hues – ever call for any form of protest against atrocities committed by militants on the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir. Going by newspaper reports, 30 people lost their lives due to militant atrocities in 2009 in the Kashmir Valley alone. A careful analysis of the data reveals that Kashmiri men, women, and children were targeted in every district of the Valley in 2009. Yet, not a single “self-styled godfather of Kashmiris” has raised his voice to condemn the cowardly acts.
Consider the facts : six out of the thirty persons quoted above seven were women in their teens, Arif Hussain, s/o Aslam Awan of Shupiyan, a mere 3-year-old child was shot dead by militants on July, 22, 2009, the eldest was 60 year old Reshma of Kellar who was killed on April, 15, 2009. Shopiyan and Baramulla districts accounted for 7 killings each followed by Srinagar (04), Kupwara and Ganderbal (03 each), Pulwama (02) Kulgam and Anantnag ( 01 each); The statistics are bone chilling. It is very evident that by any stretch of imagination, HR violations by militants far exceeded those committed by Security Forces in 2009. Yet, Hurriyat, elected representatives, and human rights torchbearers remained silent.
Of late there has been a political race going on in Jammu and Kashmir of demanding withdrawal of security forces from civilian areas. Be it PDP, separatists, or the incumbent Chief Minister, everybody is trying to give the impression that once security forces are “back to borders and barracks” everything in Kashmir will be okay. Just pause and think. Innocent Kashmiris are being gunned down in their homes when the Army, CRPF, JKP, SOG and a plethora of intelligence agencies are operating in the State. One can imagine as to what will happen to security if Kashmir is demilitarised in concert with this absolutely politically motivated demand. If demilitarisation occurs as demanded by some short-sighted leaders and if borders are made irrelevant as asked for by some political parties, Kashmir will be infested with gun totting militants. Does any peace-loving Kashmiri want another Afghanistan in Kashmir? Recently, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has been more vocal than separatists in demanding demilitarisation, was forced to ask for Army’s presence in Srinagar after the sponsored agitation took the townships of Kashmir hostage!
Economic activity holds the key for the well being of any region. Peace is a pre-requisite for economic upsurge. Security on the borders and security in Jammu and Kashmir localities are necessary for peace to prevail.
Now I come to the million-dollar question – why are peace-loving Kashmiris silent? Isn’t their silence inviting “merchants of death” to kill their near and dear ones? Peace-loving Kashmiris outnumber the handful of Pakistan-sponsored trouble creators. But their inaction has been encouraging militants and their handlers to wreck havoc in their homeland. They are free to remain ‘mute spectators’, but if they want to provide ‘Heaven and not hell on Earth’ to their next generations, they must now rise from their slumber and abject denial to ensure that militants do not operate in their neighbourhood. For this, they must launch a collective movement against militant atrocities. A collective will of this nature will thwart militant activities and ensure security and peace. Once Kashmiri peace-seekers ensure peace and stability, withdrawal of security forces will automatically follow. The Army can go back to the ‘Borders and Barracks’ but before that, militants have to be kept at bay by a ‘Peace in Kashmir movement’ with the help of security forces who have been sacrificing their precious lives for the ‘precious peace’ in Kashmir.
The need of the hour is to fully expose the nefarious and criminal agenda of the terrorists who operate in Kashmir on orders of their masters from across the border because as long as even one terrorist is active in Kashmir the security forces cannot be allowed to lower their guard and under these circumstances complete normalcy cannot be achieved. This can be achieved less by active operations and more through the collective will of the people.