Rein them in
The recent killings in Kashmir in which innocents lives were lost, particularly the killing of a 16 year old boy Inayat Khan of Malla-Teng Dalgate, Srinagr, on Friday reminds of the brutalities in early 1990s for which CRPF gained notoriety. The massacres conducted by the troopers at Zakura, Gaokadal, Tengapora Bypass etc. stand well preserved in the history of the state as chilling narrations; such incidents only jog up those cold memories. It was after those gruesome killings in 1990s that the CRPF was withdrawn from Kashmir as the government of the day felt it as the only prudent response. After so many years when this paramilitary force was redeployed, it was expected that earlier experience would serve as a guiding manual. CRPF would have trammeled its erring conduct, one would expect. But the recent incidents have disabused us of this assessment. CRPF continue to over-react even to minor provocations like stone pelting.
The men from this force, if the reports are to be believed, have had sought police protection for its personnel on patrol duty. The communication sent to J&K Police by the top notch of the force reflects the level of its readiness to work in a conflict zone, like Kashmir. In view of such facts, the state government needs to give a serious thought to replacing CRPF with J&K Armed Police, whose protection the former have sought. A force that is causing more problems than it is solving should only be withdrawn. The experience of the last two decades unsparingly makes it clear that troopers exact vengeance from innocent civilians over each strike call made by militant organizations or even separatist political parties. Keeping this unceasing experience in view the popular demand for the withdrawal of troops from crowded places like Lal Chowk should be seriously attended to by the government if peace is a priority. Not doing so will be at its own peril. But till the time government comes up with a decisive response on this problem, it should emphatically underline the point that killing the protesters is bound to invoke legal action.
To this end government must act forthwith. Inayat’s killers are already known and justice demands that they be booked and tried in an open court. The family and friends of the youth, who succumbed to injuries on Saturday, have alleged that he had sustained critical injuries after being thrashed with gun butts and shot at by CRPF personnel. If the government believes in justice and fair-play it should institute an inquiry in to the killing through a sitting judge of Hon’ble High Court or allow an independent agency like Amnesty International to investigate it. Another noticeable facet of the last week’s incidents that took place in the valley is the absence of politicians from the scene. The situation was exclusively left for police to deal with. That is not done; some minister of the government should have been there to monitor the situation and inspect police taking action. Instead the entire thing was dealt with by lower rung police officers, a reflection and reminder of J&K being a police state. Had it not been so a Dy Superintendent of Police would not have the audacity to shoot at a journalist? Such flagrant violation of the professional code of conduct does no good to any security agency. It only exacerbates the situation, making it even more difficult for the government to mange. The behavior of such police officials and the overall conduct of a security agency like CRPF are bound to compound the problem for the government. So it will be only doing good to itself if it sternly deals with both.
When we look back, there is a great lesson for us to be taught. Bloodshed has always resulted in chaos. So the paramount duty of the government is to see to it that human dignity is not wounded. Without it the concept of good and healthy governance is incomplete.
Such kind of incidents always flare up violence and make the whole atmosphere surcharged with tension. Men in uniform must exhibit greater restraint. More we respect human life, more the conditions will improve. Whenever such tragedies befall, we witness the horrendous consequences. So the need of the hour is to take a serious note of everything that has happened. Sooner, the better.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jan 2010 00:00:00 IST
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