Nothing unusual has happened in Handwara. The Indian state has once again proved to be a killer in Kashmir. Three people have lost their lives because the Indian armed forces and the J&K Police decided to defend themselves against people protesting against what they perceived to be a soldier’s harassment and molestation a Kashmiri woman.
The troops that defend India’s honour, unity and integrity and other such stuff have been trained to shoot to kill rather than answer a town’s questions about the sense of impunity that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the entire apparatus of a de-facto military occupation gives to Indian soldiers in the Kashmir valley. Lets stop pretending this is an exceptional situation, an excess, an anomaly, or even an instance of troopers going rogue. Whatever be the facts of the case, if the name the village of Kunan Poshpora, or of two women called Nilofar and Asiya mean anything to you, you will know that a predatory sexual profile is part of the operational signature of the Indian armed forces and local police in Kashmir.
A fine rain was falling as I disembarked the aircraft. Srinagar was shivering at 7 degrees centigrade. Rams and ewes, all set for slaughter on Eid, looked forlorn. Meat-market persons in untidy pherans haggled with locals for rates. Half the male population, I noticed, had not seen a shaving blade for weeks, a very Kashmiri trait most noticeable in winters. While it continued to drizzle, queues outside ATM machines got fretful. At least three people entered the cashpoint at one time to witness your transaction. The invasion of financial privacy has a very harmless ring to it, which is very indigenous. Continue reading Rain, Eid and Geelani: Sameer Bhat→
The Indian army in Kashmir must be reading a lot of Manto these days. Or Borges. Or Kundera. Or –and this is most likely, given the approaching winter season and their ‘hearts and minds’ programme– Kashmiri folklore.
Not three months have passed since they made a highly publicized acknowledgement of “mistaken identity” after they had killed a mentally “challenged” “Hindu” youth in Poonch and declared that he was a “fierce” “Pakistani terrorist Abu-Usman killed after a 12-hour long gunbattle” (such valour exhibited by the Indian security forces is the stuff of legends in Kashmir) that they have followed it with another announcement of a (dis)similar “mistaken indentity”.
This time, like always, the culprits are the Kashmiri people (whose synonym in the Indian army’s dictionary is “miscreants”) Apparently, people beat to pulp a “member of a covert team of the army and J&K police” who were “sent to Sopore Town on getting info of presence of terrorists in the public rally addressed by SA Geelani”. The person was carrying a camcorder and his service pistol. The people thought he was the terrorist.
Democracy? History? Or “mishtake”? Choose your option.
Kundera writes, “When the institutions of a state no longer feel the need to make sense or to give plausible explanations, the state can only survive as long as people allow it to lie shamelessly.”
Hectic parleys are on at the moment to jettison the dreaded AFSPA in the valley. By conservative estimates the army must have beaten about one in every five Kashmiris at one point or the other since this piece of horrible legislation was slapped on us. An unjust law, is no law at all, Martin Luther, the symbol of protestant reformation, verbalized the sentiment of St Augustine in the 15th century. Rings true to this day.
For more than twenty years people have been punched, thrown in the back of military trucks, knocked down by gun-butts, given kicks, pushed around as they got off a bus or simply slapped around for no apparent reason. Just for being themselves, perhaps. No you could not question the moral turpitude of a military-walla from Madras if he clubbed your aging father. Continue reading Kashmir’s Horcrux: Sameer Bhat→
This press statement was issued by theJAMMU AND KASHMIR COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY on 19 October 2011
Over the last 22 years in Jammu and Kashmir, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Cr.P.C. 197 has provided absolute legal impunity to the armed forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The Government of India claims that despite the imposition of AFSPA, mechanisms of justice are functional and deliver whenever anyone is found indulging in human rights abuses, but facts provided by the state institutions contradict the claim of the Indian state. Continue reading Lies about sanctions under AFSPA: JKCCS→