IWIJ Report on Shopian

After months of uncertainty in which the entire political and state machinery has been galvanized to ensure that the perpetrators of the horrific rape and murder of two young women in Shopian go scot free, the Central Bureau of Investigation has produced a report that gives a clean chit to the indicted policemen and claims that the two women drowned in a stream. Below we carry a report by the Independent Women’s Initiative for Justice. Do circulate as widely as possible.

The IWIJ comprising of Uma Chakravarti, Usha Ramanathan, Vrinda Grover, Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Seema Misra and Dr. Ajita – are conducting a case watch on the Shopian rape and murder of 2 women in May 2009. The first case watch report was released by IWIJ on 10 December 2009, at New Delhi.

25 thoughts on “IWIJ Report on Shopian”

  1. I appreciate the daring step for the common cause done by respectables Uma Chakravarty , Usha Ramanathan, Seema Misra,Vrinda Grover ,Dr. Ajita and Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal .

    They all have done a lot to expose the system and it will be fruitful . When I read in the college in !974 A.D. , I used to read such findings in the news papers and the magazines which encouraged me to fight against the system . These activities must be encouraged to nip the evils in the buds .

    I struggled hard as the Tehsil Welfare Officer against the corrupt coleagues and the politicians . I lent the support of the common people but my services were terminated as I was the junior most on the basis of joining the job and to adjust a person who won the court case of corruption against him . There were many posts vacant but I was the main target of the corrupt lobby at the directorate including the director .

    I requested the director to transfer me anywhere in Punjab against vacant post but he did not pay heed to my humble request . I have to feed my late father`s family with dignity and honesty . I decided to file a case against that injustice in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as I was a regular employee as per the Punjab government`s a notification . In the mean while , I informed my father`s real brother about that injustice who was once the Deputy Secretary of the Union Public Service Commission at Delhi . He phoned the director about this injustice as well as my decision to file a case against him personally .

    The same director issued a new official order to join me the station which I suggested him in the past . I have both the orders still in my personal file . I was stunned to receive and read the second order to reverse his first order . I joined the new station half heartedly . I decided to left that job to fight this corrupt and unconstitutional system . In the meanwhile , some beneficiaries of our department came to me to seek justice from me . These nine persons were granted the housing grants and their accounts were opened in a nationalized bank with the order of the previous Tehsil Welfare Officer and their cases were ready to disburse the grants in installments on judicial papers . But the same director cancelled their RTRs / Drafts and he issued the order to grant nine others who were not doing unclean profession like sweeping and tanning . I did the field study of both the cases and I drafted a letter about this injustice to be typed for the editors of the news papers . The sufferers brought the typed letters to me which I posted to the editors for publication . Almost all the news papers published this letter and the chief minister passed the order in our favour . We won and the corrupt lobby lost publically . I disbursed the grants to the sufferers .



  2. Dear Administrator ,
    When I posted my above writing , I did burst into tears . I am still proud of that young man in myself who always fought against injustice . I always tried my best to alive the spirit of that young man which showed me the right path of honesty with dignity .

    Some of my NRIs friends offered me to bear the expenses of my daughter`s marriage . My younger daring and self respectful daughter turned down this offer . I was very glad to hear her .

    Please continue your task to make the people honests , darings and fighters against this unconstitutional system and the rulers .


  3. Dear C.L. Chumber,

    While I do not mean to disrespect the struggles you have endured in life, I would request you to keep your comments brief and engage with the discussion at hand. This post is on a terrible incident which involves the rape and murder of two women in Kashmir. The reason the report has been posted here is that the authors of the report hope to have some discussion around it, and hopefully bring some sort of pressure to bear. How is this possible if regardless of what we post on, you turn the discussion to yourself? While one may certainly use examples or incidents from one’s own life to illustrate some larger point, to instead use the debate as a cipher for one’s own life story renders the discussion pretty pointless for everyone else.

    While I have approved these comments as we are loathe to delete as a general principal, I am requesting you to please not monopolize every discussion in this manner.


  4. Hi Aarti,

    There is an interesting report in The Hindu (no one’s case of being “right wing”!).


    There is a different view of the story. Quite frankly, I am a bit surprised how naive the left liberal intelligentsia is over the issue of Kashmir. there is a complex military-intelligence war going on there between India and Pakistan, and the latter has done its utmost of create troubled waters..

    Many of these incidents are huge red herrings.

    While the merits of this specific case can be debated, I dont know why a group of AIIMS doctors would allow themselves to be the part of a cover up exercise..So there is a different part of the story..


  5. Somnath, the news report you quote from The Hindu is written by Praveen Swami, widely known to be an establishment person, to put it very politely. You dont have to be “right-wing” to be pro-state, unfortunately.
    The naivete you attribute to the “left-liberal intelligentsia” (explicitly in this comment, but both implicitly and explicitly on every comment you have left on kafila) is reflected in your own assumptions, it seems to me. The CBI report is your (and Swami’s) basis for claiming the Shopian rape as a “huge red herring” – the CBI, of all institutions! It has been utterly discredited in every single case it has taken up, from the recently blown-wide-open Rathore case, to Arushi’s murder, to Nithari. Shopian is no exception. The rot in the CBI is deep, and corruption the norm rather than the exception, as all these cases have revealed.
    As for the AIIMS doctors, if you read even what Swami says carefully, it’s clear that their reports are ambiguous, as they are bound to be after all this time. And if you read the IWIJ report posted here with any degree of seriousness, you will see every claim of Swami’s (i.e. CBI’s), refuted conclusively.
    The “different view” of the story that you seem to have discovered from Praveen Swami is THE view that has been touted as a cover-up by the powers-that-be from Day One. if anything, the IWIJ report is the “different view”.


  6. Hi Nivedita,

    I dont know if you realise how much naivete you are crediting the state, or the establishment with. Take the sequence of events..

    A couple of days after the deaths of the two women are discovered, the Chief Minister declares publicly that it was due to drowning. He faces a raucous response from various groups (including those with known Pakistani patronage links), so he (and the central govt) backtracks and gets a “local enquiry” done. The local enquiry finds out that it is not drowning, but rape and murder..So the govt now gets CBI to investigate the case.And CBI confirms that it is drowning…

    It is as if the govt is so naive! A bit surprising, isnt it, for an entity that is credited with so much brutality!? If it was really interested in a cover up, wouldnt the govt simply have gotten the CBI to take over the case on day 1 and pronounce “death by drowning”? What was reason to go through this multiple stages and open itself up for precisely these sort of allegations?

    Now on this case, there might be legitimate questions..But who is to “find out” whether there is a criminal case..Surely not IWIJ – did not seem as if the team had any professional investigator, or forensic expert..Surely not the Islamist groups in Kashmir…It has to be a professional investigating agency isnt it?

    But the bigger question is the assumption of culpability of the Indian state whenever anything of this sort happens in Kashmir..The Indian state has many defects, and can at times be seen to be brutal…But it is also the same state that fights a vicious war against itself (the Kashmir insurgency) with the softest kid gloves..ompare how the Indian state fights terror in Kashmir to what the PAk govt is doing in FATA/BAluchistan, or China does to much more benign stuff in Tibet, or even what Israel does in Palestine, or for that matter what the US does in Iraq/Afghanistan..

    Do a count of casualties, especially of officers, that happen in Kashmir because the Indian Army does not use heavy weapons (chopper gunships, artillery et al) while taking out terrorists..How many times have officers and men laid down there lives while pursuing terrorists holed up in a locality because they didnt take the simple route of simply bringing down the whole place, so as to minimise civilian damage to life and property?

    Net net, let the Shopian incident be debated and questioned, but do not have a Pavlovian assumption of state culpability..


  7. Somnath I am amazed that you actually think the Indian state is waging a gentle battle in Kashmir and that the Indian state can be “seen to be brutal”? I assure it is seen to be so because it is extremely brutal. There is no optical illusion here.

    Since 1989, when the armed conflict began, over 8,000 people have disappeared in Kashmir, with no trace of their whereabouts or what has happened to them. Two independent inquiries by neutral parties, Physicians for Human Rights and Asia watch (the Asia wing of Human Rights Watch) have a published a report on the everyday tragedy that unfolds in the valley. The report documents in horrifying detail not just the brutal torture that is an acknowledged technique in the state’s arsenal, but that security forces routinely attack doctors and physicians who are attempting to provide medical care to torture victims. India has 600,000 troops stationed in Kashmir on a permanent basis. That is almost one soldier for every 15 Kashmiris.
    And this is not even a tenth of the everyday indignity, violence and brutality that Kashmiris must endure.

    If this is your definition of the “softest kid gloves” I shudder to think what would qualify as iron fists.


  8. Aarti,

    First up, your comment on the number of Indian troops in Kashmir – 600,000..Is this number corrborated by any truly professional, neutral source? This is the number widely touted by Pakistan and assorted separatists.

    The precise number will be hard to ascertain, but let me give you some indications that are about there…

    The IA has 3 Corps stationed in J&K – 14, 15 and 16, and the complement of Rashtryia Rifles..A typical Corps in the IA would have between 30-50,000 men..SAy there are beefed up Corps for Kashmir, so 75k each? The total strength of RR is about 70k as well, known from reliable public sources..So you are talking about no more than 200-250k IA stationed in J&K..Further, remember that J&K is a border state..Troops are also needed for border guard duties – Kashmir having a disputed border means that BSF, which does the job along international borders usually is replaced by the Army for Kashmir..The numbers therefore are sensationalist, and serve to only divert the main debate..

    It is no one’s case that a war on the state can be fought with Gandhian tools..It is at times brutal, it can be nasty..The point is whether the Indian state does it “better” than others..Given the intensity of assault, abeted by Pakistan on the Indian state in J&K, the amount of force used is considerably “light” by global standards…No armour, no gunships, no heavy artillery…Compare that to the “censored” pictures coming out of Tibet – tanks and armoured cars bracing up against monks!

    There is a political problem in Kashmir, but the politics can be addressed only when the guns are silent..The problem is that Pakistan does not wan the guns to cease, limiting our choices..


  9. One more point, about Human Rights Watch…Recently, it “refused to take a stance on the US invasion of Iraq”. For an operation done under the flimsiest of grounds, HRW refused to take a stance!? Says something about the organisation, doesnt it?


  10. Dear Aarti,
    Large number of people have come out to vote in panchayat, assembly and general elections in Kashmir. Srinagar is far more safe than Islamanad these days, there is a sense of normality in everyday life in the streets of srinagar and other parts of Kashmir valley, the only violence being done is by the jehadi groups, that too against the separtist moderate groups like the hurriyat leader who was shot recently and is fighting for his life.
    When writers like somanth (who i don’t know), including me point this it does not mean we (he may not agree with me here) are in saying that Indian state has not treated the kashmiris with brutality in the past, that Indian army is still indulging in human rights violations, so are the militant by the way and that general elections were rigged in the past.
    I believe Indian state is a complex entity which has many facets to it. With all its shortcomings, it still allows people like you and me to come out, question it and hold protest is Delhi and srinagar. If we believe in democracy then we should be slightly responsible and not get carried away by radical pretentions (sorry for using a stroong term). Also we should be critical of the mainstream media but not forget that it is the same media that has exposed the state of human rights violations. The human rights groups have mostly come in once they have broken the story. I am not saying that HR groups should play the role of media. it was the same pravin swami that broke the story of mass graves in the Hindu. the Indian media, state and also the human rights groups are not homogenous but include alll kinds of irresponsible and totalitarian elements. I only reuest you to acknowledge that, and i think thats what somnath is trying to say. He may correct me if i read him wrongly!


  11. Hi Arshad,

    You are right..To me the Pavlovian presumtioon of state guilt is what is disconcerting..

    J&K has a political problem, exacerbated by the rigged elections in the past going all the way back to its history..But the currenct insurgency is a full scale war on the Indian state, as also (at the risk of sounding a right winger!) a war on Indian nationhood..

    The Indian state reacts much like the rest of us Indians, confused, clumsy, sure at times brutal..Does it mean that we do not give credit to those young officers who expose themselves to fire everyday while countering terrorists in crowded alleys, because they dont take the easy option of bringing the entire locality down?


  12. Dear Somnath,
    Nation-states and nationhood i believe are by definition exclusionary towards certain ethnici, lingustic and communal groups. I am not an academic or a social scientist so i will desist on expanding on that. But our post independence indian history shows that people of NE, Kashmir, tribals (termed by some as maoists) and many other groups have felt left out in the so called nation building project, many a times which is led by corporate houses. For me what is important is how such communities challenge the oppressive elements of the nation-state (gives that it is a reality) and push its boudaries and even make them irrelevent. Like the short-lived bus service between Indo-Pak Kashmir. There is an inclusive way to challenge and there is an exclusive. Kashmiri sepratist, groups in NE like ULFA and Maoists who base their politics on identity and violence should be challenged because they only strenghten the militiristic-totalitarian groups in the ruling state, while movements like Narmada, many trade union movements maybe less revlutionalry and exciting but are democratic and dialogical. In all this one should avoid exaggerations like arti says that there are 6 lakhs troops in the valley! This is bizzare..even arudhati roy says there are 4 lakhs…..such rhetoric deflect the real arguments and does more harm to the democratic struggle in kashmir than anything else……


  13. Somnath,
    “The Indian state reacts much like the rest of us Indians, confused, clumsy, sure at times brutal.”
    This kind of characterisation of any state, antropomorphising it, personifying it, is the stuff of which authoritarianism is made. (You generally seem to use biological metaphors for politics – “pavlovian response” is another of your favourites! Citing biology – i.e. nature – is always a way of evading politics). So then whatever the state does, you can say – “There’s this big clumsy thing, blundering along, meaning well, but sometimes messing up…shouldn’t we be more charitable to it, forgive it its trespasses as we want ours to be forgiven…?”
    No, actually. The state is the name we give to a complex institution (actually a complex of institutions), but it’s not one well-meaning thing that sometimes messes up. The state is there for a purpose, and that purpose is not keeping everybody happy. It is there to ensure the most efficient extraction of resources, to organize production, to manage and run conflicts. In this process, large numbers of people are necessarily excluded (witness the ‘million mutinies’ all over the country), but they have to lump it. To ensure the “lumping”, the state is the only institution with legitimate monopoly over means of coercion (army, police). There are more and less democratic versions of the state, and India is certainly on the “more” side of the continuum, but surely that’s something democratic forces in the country have to keep struggling to ensure, and not a gift of the political classes.
    Precisely because it is “complex”, the various aspects of it may sometimes act in opposition to one another – (elected) executive v. (non-elected) judiciary; state government v central govt (esp but not only if different parties are in power), etc. etc.
    If you keep this in mind, Somnath, you will find your statement – “if it was really interested in a cover up, wouldnt the govt simply have gotten the CBI to take over the case on day 1 and pronounce “death by drowning”?” – to be rather too simple. There is no one single “it” there. You yourself refer to the CM, to local authorities, to the government and to the CBI – that’s four agencies already. Something happens, there’s some initial confusion about how to deal with it, to cover it up, contradictory statements are made, it goes all the way to the top, then the good old CBI is brought in to put the lid on the bubbling cauldron. You will admit this is at least one other way of reading the narrative.
    Arshad, your characterization of the nation-state I agree with (and here Somnath and you are evidently in disagreement) – “Nation-states and nationhood i believe are by definition exclusionary towards certain ethnic, lingustic and communal groups.”
    Where I do have a disagreement with you is in your attempt to arrive at some kind of good (inclusive) nationalism as opposed to a bad (non-inclusive) one. All nationalisms, by definition as you point out, freeze into exclusionary positions, whether “Kashmiri”, “Naga” or “Indian”. At some point the nation will insist – no more nationalisms, ours was the last good one.
    That’s why all your attempts to be “reasonable” are futile. Any voice challenging the state is by definition unreasonable. Really, does it matter if there are 6 lakhs or 4 lakhs or ten thousand armed forces in Kashmir? Is the appropriate number of troops the issue? Do you think that if you say there exactly so many troops, and that is a problem for a democratic resolution, you will be listened to by any state?
    It is true that Kashmir is a whirlpool of Indian and Pakistani states, their respective agents and double agents and the various democratic and authoritarian, separatist and non-separatist forces, and to get a grip on what’s going on is difficult even for people who have been working on and in Kashmir for years, let alone from “outside”. Nevertheless, I would say that no democratic resolution is even conceivable in the current militarized scenario.
    Re Praveen Swami, famously Indian statist, for some reason you seem to think that he “broke” the mass graves story. I would be interested in a link to that story. Below I give a link to the story he wrote long after the story was broken by different forces (media, HR groups) in which he basically lays out all the charges, and then systematically throws doubt on each one of them by citing the counter position from the authorities. Basically it lays out all the charges, and then buttresses the official Indian position. The last para is:
    “Claims rebutted
    Authorities earlier rebutted APDP claims of large-scale disappearances, arguing that many individuals on a list of 743 were either living at home or did not exist.”
    Opponents of state policies are always being tied up with barrages of facts and figures, so that we never get the space to raise the fundamental questions. I remember when the NBA movement was at its peak, they were always being challenged on the accuracy of their figures about how many inches higher the dam had gone than the stipulated height, exactly how many hundreds of acres were submerged etc etc, as if that was the real issue and not that it is fundamentally unacceptable that people’s land should be taken away and they be reduced to living in slums, to generate electricity and water they will never have access to.
    In short, I dont think we should fall into the trap of scurrying to be “reasonable” on Shopian either, on the basis of all things, the CBI report. We should begin with the indubitable fact that the CBI is corrupt to the core, as proven most recently by the Rathore case. I am just not convinced that justice has been done to Asiya and Neelofar and to the people of Shopian. Given the way the Reason of the State functions, we have no option but to be “unreasonable”.


  14. Nivedita,

    First of all, thanks for the new word I learnt – “antropomorphising”!

    You are right, I have not “seceded” from India, as certain left liberal intellectuals are proud to pronounce.Like many hundreds of millions of Indians, I get the goosebumps still when the national anthem is played..

    That said, a democratic state and/or society has a duty to resolve its problems in as humane a way as is possible..

    But fundamental to addressing an issue is to be right with the facts of it. It sounds amazingly self serving if you say, “oh well, my numbers might be a bit, even way off, but my conclusions are dead right”! That is true if you are talking about Kashmir, even truer if you are talking about complex technical issues like the Narmada dam..If your assumptions are faulty, how can the solutions be right?

    Kashmir has a political problem – it starts right from 1947 onwards. But the “militarisation”, as you put it, started only in 1989, when Pakistan started executing Gen Zia’s “bleed through thousand cuts” strategy. Like most insurgencies, this one had its share of justified reasons..But like most insurgencies in democratic societies, vested interests and external support were the biggest drivers of the insurgency, not popular grievances.. It wasnt the case in Punjab, it wasnt the case in Mizoram, it wasnt/isnt the case in Assam..And it isnt the case in Kashmir either..Not in a democracy which has a way to venting popular frustrations..If external support and strong vested interests werent key, and popular discontentment was all there was to it, we would have raging insurgencies in Tibet..

    Thererfore, it is important to get the facts right, each time, eitehr for incidents like Shopian or for the bigger picture. I dont know enough about the Shopian case to make a judgement, but I do know a little bit about the way these things are “spun”..Remember the famous prostitution racket affair in Srinagar? Where the charge against the Indian state was of “defiling” Kashmiri womanhood? How come the left liberal sections now dont get themselves agitated over the issue? Because the truth is uncomfortably contrary to the comfortable, and yes, Pavlovian assumption of state guilt?

    The 600k troops in Kashmir assumption is moot – gets quoted all the time, without any credible source attached..In one shot magnifies the “Indian repression” of Kashmiris..But it is such Goebellian – repeat a lie a thousand times!

    Short one on the Narmada dam issue..Yes, the moot point is whether people should be displaced..The water and electricity from the project is going to benefit how many millions of Indians? How many poor kids will study under a bulb and not a lamp because of this electricity? Does that constitute a trade-off of priorities? Yes it does..Is it always fair? Maybe not..Does it mean that the Indian state and society (in India the two derive their resp credibility from each other in my view) doesnt care for the dispossessed minority? Maybe not enough, but certainly waaaaay more than what China does while building the Three Gorges dam..


  15. Somnath – “thanks for the new word I learnt – “antropomorphising”!”
    Pray dont mention it. If you keep reading kafila, I promise you there is much more you will learn:)
    I’m done really, arguing with you, because you keep coming back with the same line on every comment on every single post, and we dont seem to be going anywhere.
    But just one last thing, re your query – “The water and electricity from the project is going to benefit how many millions of Indians? How many poor kids will study under a bulb and not a lamp because of this electricity” ?
    As everyone else has been pointing out to you (to no effect at all) on your comments on water and poverty – the answer to that question is – none. No millions of Indians, no single child studying under a streetlight. In fact there are no street lights in many towns and cities, even state capitals like Guwahati and Shillong with all their well-exploited natural resources. The real question is – How many more malls and luxury hotels will consume that electricity, how many more multi-storey office buildings that have their lights and ACs on all day? Plenty.
    “Is it always fair? Maybe not”, you say philosophically. Easy to be philosophical about costs when someone else is paying them. I notice when costs have to be paid, it is never you yourself. It’s the nameless mass of tribals and peasants who must quietly go into oblivion for the Nation. What did you yourself last give up for this cause, by the way? Would you give up your home so that a school for slum children can be run from it? That’s just 4-5 members of your family versus 50 kids, after all. Just Do It.


  16. Nivedita,

    I meant the “learning” bit seriously, not sarcastically. I like Kafila for a lot of things, though didnt expect to learn fresh vocabulary..

    We wont get far in finding an approach to a solution (wont be presumptuous to know the solution for the problems) unless data is acknowledged..Else, everything becomes an ideological philosophical debate..

    About electricity from the Narmada only going to light up malls, refer to the news report on electricity availability in Gujarat here..


    At least part of this can be attributed to the Sardar Sarovar Project? (Gujarat gets 16% of the current 1450 MW generated in SSP)..

    I am not a “dam expert” to comment on the environmental impact of dams..But to say that these dams only power up houses of the elite is precisely the sort of disregard for data that takes us nowhere.


  17. Somnath, I do appreciate you are sincerely trying to hold on to long-cherished beliefs as honestly as possible…
    This post is on the Shopian incident, and not on the NBA, though I did bring it up to illustrate the larger point about “facts and figures” and “expertise.”
    But since it has come up, I will only say that there is enough debate among “dam experts” to rubbish government claims on irrigation, water supply and electricity provided by SSP, let alone the irreversible ecological damage caused by big dams. You can find enough on the web, and I wont give you links, which I can, because you will dismiss them as pro-NBA. Your link to the Hindu piece of course, cites purely government sources, so I guess our perspectives decide what “facts” we choose to believe.
    But my bottom line is that I will respect democracy, and the right of people directly affected by any policy to decide whether they want it or not, whether the cost is one they want to pay or not.


  18. Dear Nivedita,
    Let me state at the outset that i have high regards for the various HR groups, including kafila who are not only fighting the excessess of the state but exposing its corrupt nexus with the corporate and mainstream media. Regarding Pravin swami breaking the story and 6 lakhs troops in the valley, i was just trying to say that the mainstream media has on many occasions broken story of HR violations. Indian express did the sohrabuddin case etc. I will try and send the links to both soon. Regarding 6 lakhs troops, some of of who are fighting for democratic rights and HR violations in Kashmir know that such exaggerations are now counter productive. We all know that there are around 3lakhs troops (which as you say are also not needed, and if they are then there is a big problem!). When we mention 6 lakhs, its just that we loose credibility and all the other points that we make are never taken seriously. Also, it is high time that groups like kafila acknowledge HR violations of Kashmiri pandits and dissappearences and atrocities by the militants. Groups like APDP will never do it. I would appreciate if you send me a link on kafila if any article has beenwritten on this issue. Don’t get defensive and say that that not your job. I think its a matter of concern that groups who prode themselves in being radical are selective and distinguish between pain and anguish. I am pointing this out because not because we are constantly asked “where were you when Pandits were being massacred”? They will always bring another issue to counter us if we had mentioned pandits. What bothers me most is complete silance of HR groups on these issues. anyway i just hope you acknowledge these issues…


  19. Arshad, I do agree with you that in general human rights violations by non-state actors gets addressed less by HR groups, and perhaps even people like us (kafila), although many of us in kafila are in general suspicious of all state-like and proto-state formations
    It’s just that in this instance the cover-up by CBI is so blatant.
    I think we are in general agreement though.
    But do make a distinction between Indian Express (you dont have to send us those links, we are aware that Indian Express is impeccably secular and impeccably pro-globalization! So their coverage of Gujarat, Kashmir is very good in this respect) and Praveen Swami, who is another very fishy kettle altogether :)


  20. The shopian incident brings back memories of the infamous Chittishinghpura massacre..EVen then, it was alleged that it was the Army that did the “job” to send a message on Pakistan during Bill Clinton’s visit to India..It turned out later that it was an LeT operation..


    Thanks to the enormous pressure to show results quickly after the massacre, the Rashtriya Rifles killed 5 Kashmiris and showed them off as terrorists..The infamous Chaltantham incident..It is the same CBI that investigated the matter and Army officers have been prosecuted as a result..

    Therefore to conclude “cover up” and apportion blame by imputing motives is really premature – thats the limited point..


  21. Somnath, in your (rather desperate now!) attempts to cast doubts on the Shopian rapes and murder, you’re dredging up “memories” that seem motivatedly inaccurate. The perpetrators of the Chhittisinghpura massacre have not been conclusively established to be either leT militants (in Indian Army uniforms) or the Indian state yet, although both claims have been made by the Indian and Pakistani govts respectively. The confession that you cite is by no means conclusive. Did you read the whole story in the New York Times that your rediffmail story is based entirely on? Interestingly, it omits these crucial words in the same story, of the reporter who carried out the interview of the man who was already in police custody (he met him in prison): “The conversation was mostly in Urdu, once again a language I did not speak. I could study his eyes but not his phrasing or inflections, the little clues as to what was being held back in the privacy of his head. When we left, I asked Surinder Oberoi, my journalist friend, if he thought Malik was telling the truth. “Yes, I think so,” he answered after a pause. Then he added a cautionary shrug and a sentence that stopped after the words “But you know. . . . ” Malik showed no signs of physical abuse, but, as with Wagay, the torture of someone in his situation would not be unusual. Once, over a casual lunch, an Indian intelligence official told me that Malik had been “intensively interrogated.” I asked him what that usually meant. “You start with beatings, and from there it can go almost anywhere,” he said. Certainly, I knew what most Pakistanis would say of the confession — that the teenager would admit to anything after persistent electrical prodding by the Indians. And it left me to surmise that if his interrogators had made productive use of pain, was it to get him to reveal the truth or to repeat their lies?”
    (Barry Bearak “A Kashmiri Mystery”, in The New York Times, 31.12.2000).
    In other words, this so-called confession is doubted by the reporter himself, who met and interviewed Malik, but the Indian press chooses what “facts” to report and what not to report from his detailed account. And since you have a “Pavlovian response” to the Indian state (hmm, I’m changing my mind about biological metaphors!), you don’t even take the elementary step of reading the whole story first.
    What stands out with the Chhittisinghpura incident that is relevant to Shopian is in fact the other aspect that HAS been proved conclusively, which you mention casually – that the Rashtriya Rifles then picked up 5 innocent local Kashmiri men, dressed them in battle fatigues, killed them in cold blood, and then passed them off as the terrorists who carried out the Chhittisinghpura massacre.
    Of course, you show great empathy towards the Rashtriya Rifles – “thanks to the enormous pressure to show results”… after all, somebody always has to “pay the cost”, eh Somnath?
    Please, now spare us further convoluted narratives exonerating the state on the basis of CBI reports, confessions, and other time-tested instruments of cover-up. Haven’t “confessions” been thoroughly discredited as a police method of “solving” crimes by now?
    (See here for one lovely instance of police methods of crime detection).
    Instead of desperately jumping in continuously with hasty and half-baked “research” motivated towards proving your claims, why not stay silent for a bit, keep thinking, keep an open mind, and see what emerges in the Shopian incident?


  22. I’m not an Indian who breaks out in goosebumps hearing the national anthem played and therefore I need to know which Indians are being sent to Kashmir to fight ‘India’s war’. A senior Malayalee officer of the Indian army, now retired, told me that a large number were from the South, to ensure that soldiers would be more alien — and I have interviewed Malayali soldiers posted in Kashmir who have testified to the feeling of being in ‘foreign territory’. And that they are pretty confused about what it means to be Indian, in the first place.


  23. Devika,

    I would really like to know from the “senior Malayalee officer” how exactly is the “southern alien” nature of the Indian Army is maintained in J&K..The Indian Army has about 30 infantry regiments (of both “secular” and “caste/regional” character)..Out of which there is only ONE “southern” regiment”, the Madras Regiment..


    1 in 30 – about 3% of the infantry strength..How then does the Army ensure that most of the soldiers deputed there are “southerners”? Especially as (by “popular” consensus) about 600,000 soldiers, or about 50-60% of the total stretngth of IA, are deployed there?

    Further, refer to the list of Army casualties in 2008 here (most of them would have been in J&K, the “active” ops area):


    Do you see an overhwhelming number of “southern” names here?

    While the malayalee soldiers you interviewed may have been a bit confused about the concept of being an Indian in dialectical materialistic terms, but I am pretty sure that they have a very clear idea of “paltan aur desh ki izzat”..

    The same idea that (I am sure) the one “southern officer” in the list above, a malayalee for good measure, Maj Sandeep Unnikrishnan had when he joined the NSG (an all volunteer force) and went in to fight jihadis in the Taj Mahal hotel fighting in the name of Kashmir (among other things)…


  24. Since we have no consensus of even the numbers of soldiers in the Indian army fighting, i don’t think that you or i can have any firm take on this. I clearly said that ‘I need to know’ and not ‘I know’. And my point wasn’t that more people from the south are dying (‘martyred’ according to you, senselessly exposed according to me) but that people who are not Indian in the way that you are a patriot, but who are in economic need,are sent off to fight a war about which they know almost nothing. And no, the soldiers I interviewed don’t have the kind of national feeling you speak of — they are not India’s urbanized middle-class to which Sandeep Unnikrishnan belongs, they not the heroes of the kind of obnoxious, patriarchal, casteist, Hindutva-tinged war-in-Kashmir movies in Malayalam directed by outright Hindutva-elements like Shaji Kailas. They don’t identify with ‘India’; for them the army-camps of Shillong or Kashmir are as far away and as foreign as the goat-pens outskirts Sharja or Abu Dhabi, but equally useful for the steady income it brings. Nationalism doesn’t bless everyone alike; therefore wars supposedly in defence of the ‘nation’ are not equally supported either. I’m also not sure that other peoples in India from the north or the south, since they aren’t all urban middleclass, identify with the ‘nation’s cause’. Lastly, your snide remark that seems to indicate that all malayalees are likely to be devotees of Dia-mat gives away your game too easily! So much for the urbanised middle-class sense of ‘nation’!


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