This is a guest post by VIDYA K S and C J KUNCHERIA
“Don’t you dare speak over me when I am speaking of Lance Naik Hanumanthapa! We’re proud of him and we’re ashamed of you!,” screamed Arnab Goswami at Umar Khalid, the JNU student at the centre of unfolding events at the university. Hundreds of thousands of self-proclaimed nationalists cheered at that instant, and many more did as the clip went viral over social media. The death of the soldier, one of the 869 who have been killed in the last four years by the punishing weather on Siachen, had been conveniently used to invoke a cathartic nationalism. Continue reading In the Name of the ‘Nation’: Vidya K. Subramanian and C. J. Kuncheria→
The war on young people continues. In this post we will only consider it’s arithmetic. Not even its algebra, simply its arithmetic.
I am prompted to do this by a strange acoustic co-incidence. While standing as part of a cordon of faculty and friends protecting the students of JNU on the public meeting on the 13th of April from a handful of ABVP activists who liked invoking blood and bullets in their slogans, I head one that stayed with me, and made me revisit a question that often bothers me.
This was the slogan ‘Hanumanthappa hum sharminda hain, tere qatil zinda hain’. (‘Hanumanthappa we are ashamed, your murders are still alive’ ). Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, as we all know now, was a thirty two year old soldier of the Indian army who survived six days under an avalanche on the Siachen Glacier in Kashmir and then died of multiple organ failure in a Delhi military hospital. His young body must have had a tremendous and a passionate yearning for life. Sometimes I think of what a fine father or husband or lover or friend a man who loved life so must have been, could have continued to have been.
Guest post byABHIJIT DUTTA; all photographs by the author unless otherwise mentioned
It looks like any other village in Kashmir.
You go past a wooden bridge, past open fields winter-barren and wet with rain. Past mountains with snow on their chin. Past wistful looking poplars. Past a brook with clear water. Past grumpy apple trees gnarled like a grinch.
Then the road narrows, and homes – of timber and brick – come into view. Some have fences, unpainted wood. Heaps of hay, dung cakes, piles of dried leaves left to smoke. Ditches and dykes choked with snowmelt. Leafless walnut trees and brunette willows. The chinars, wild redheads just months ago, now old and arthritic. There is a government school on the right, a madrassa on the left. A few houses of stone, fewer of concrete, tin roofs over all.
In a skirmish on the Line of Control on Tuesday, 8 January 2013, did Pakistani soldiers behead an Indian soldier or did they not? Or did they behead two soldiers and take away the head of one of them? Or did they behead one and slit the throat of another? Reports in the Indian media have left me utterly confused. I’ll let you decide.Continue reading Was an Indian soldier decapitated at the Line of Control or not?→
This press release was issued on 23 December by BONDITA and ANJUMAN of WINGandWSS, Guwahati
Aggravated sexual violence in Guwahati in July 2012 and gang rape in Delhi this month have led to public outrage and anger, compelling the media and the government to take serious note of the rampant sexual violence against women. Even as the current attention on sexual violence on women raises several questions over laws, their enforcement and policing, there continues to be absolute silence and complete denial about sexual violence by the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces. It is high time to review and repeal laws and practices that promise complete impunity to the armed forces for sexual assault in counter insurgency conflict areas. Continue reading Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman→
[An edited, shorter version of this article by me appeared last week inThe Friday Times, Lahore.]
In the first week of June, I sat at a shopfront with a group of shopkeepers of Kalarus, a small town in Kupwara district in north Kashmir. In 1999, they collected money and bought land for a martyrs’ graveyard, one of many such in Kashmir. Whenever the Indian army killed militants trying to infiltrate from Pakistan to the Indian side of the Line of Control, they would hand over the bodies to the Kupwara police, who would give it to these people to bury after the autopsy.
“Look up at the mountain peak,” said one of them, “It is snow clad all twelve months. It is the LoC, 70 kms from here. Do you think anyone would cross that wearing the traditional Kashmiri Khan dress?” And yet, most of the hundred odd bodies in the graveyard had come wearing clothes unfit for snow. And, most of them had so many bullet marks on the face that they were unidentifiable. Continue reading Pushing the Kashmiri to the wall, again→
Any political decision on Kashmir — especially when the ball is in the Congress’s court — cannot afford to ignore the sentiments of lakhs of troops stationed here because, at least for now, they appear to be a more permanent fixture than any party, even the National Conference (NC). [Full text]
And Siddharth Varadarajan asks the right question:
But if these motives propelled the ISI to either mount or at best turn a blind eye to the Mumbai plot, why did the same agency — which essentially manages Rawalpindi’s links with militant groups active in Jammu and Kashmir — not seek to disrupt the assembly elections? [Here]
In the summer of 2008, something impossible happened. To a number of Indians, Kashmir was no longer an atoot ung, an inseparable part of the Indian body politic. That image of Kashmir treacherously manufactured by the Indian state through lies, deceit and the media, was wearing down.
The atoot ung no longer seemed atoot to many voices in India and against all odds the people of Kashmir were changing many hearts and minds in India. The loss of soldiers does not worry India as much as the change in its public opinion on Kashmir. This had to be undone, and undone fast before it spread its tentacles. The evil image of Kashmiris had to emphasized and the non-violentprotests discredited. What better than an election to do the task?
The Indian media has been expressing surprise about the high voter turnouts in the Kashmir elections. The expression of surprise sounds genuine. I am not sure how genuine it is. Is patriotism coming in the way of truth? How can we not see what a Wall Street Journal reporter can?
In the village of Samboora, residents said that Indian Army troops went from house to house on Saturday morning, rounding up families and taking them to a polling station. As a reporter drove into the village Saturday afternoon, an army vehicle with several soldiers stopped by the walled compound of Ghulam Mohammad, pulling the 59-year-old retiree onto the road. Seeing a foreign reporter, the soldiers jumped into their vehicle and quickly drove off. “They asked me why I’m not voting, and I said that’s because I don’t like any of the candidates,” Mr. Mohammad said moments later. “They said, if I don’t vote, I’ll be sorry later.” [Must Read]