In Kashmir we are reversing the meaning
WHATS UP BY SAJJAD BAZAZ
The two-day visit of prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh to Kashmir to attend the convocation of agriculture university has left us bewildered. One wonders why the prime minister visited Kashmir, when he had absolutely nothing to offer per se. This trip of the prime minister was totally out of place. A few weeks back he had offered to hold talks with the separatists. But the separatist cadres lent a deaf ear to his call for talks. The only thing Dr. Manmohan Singh reiterated while referring to Machil fake encounter episode is that ‘his government is committed to Zero Tolerance’. Everyone is wondering what the Indian prime minister means by Zero Tolerance.
We have observed that ‘Zero Tolerance’ is a mantra which is usually and frequently referred in the context of human right violations in Kashmir, particularly those taking place at the hands of security forces. So, what is this Zero Tolerance? Several definitions are available on the world wide web, which state the meaning of Zero Tolerance as certain actions that will absolutely not be tolerated under any circumstances. It is generally used in reference to policies that spell out exactly which actions are forbidden. It is also defined as a characteristic of a policy where it is enforced absolutely rigidly with no consideration for any reasonableness. In the case of a rule or law, it is applied to anyone who infringes it in any way whatsoever even to the slightest degree. It also infers that severe cases are dealt with to only the same extent as minor cases.
Despite talking so vehemently about policy of ‘Zero Tolerance’ to human right abuses, we have witnessed acceleration in rights violation. So, the killing of 12th Class student Tufeel Matto in downtown, fake encounters and other similar human rights abuses taking place well under the nose of the authorities is contrary what Zero Tolerance is known about.
So, these incidents reveal that tolerance level in the security forces that includes police also is at a lowest ebb, perhaps zero. So, does Zero Tolerance for authorities here means that ‘we won’t tolerate anything hereafter – no kani jung (stone pelting) etc.? Does it mean that a stone pelter will get a bullet on his head in exchange? Is the killing of Tufail Matto, a teenager, in downtown Srinagar, answer to these questions?
The Machil fake encounter scars are still fresh that killing of another teenager took place. This has come at a time when power corridors in Delhi and Kashmir were singing the peace song at the top of their voice. Now with the killing of the teenager, things have abruptly taken a U turn. What will be the ramification of the incidents in which innocent teenagers are targeted? Will the tourist flee again? Will hartals and shut downs continue unabated against this ‘Zero Tolerance’ in which no element of tolerance is visible? And will the peaceful atmosphere be continue to be fragile? It is always time for a storm to strike in Kashmir whenever any dignitary visits the state. Incidents galore when these kinds of visits have been followed by violent mishaps, clandestinely engineered by unidentified quarters. It is a routine mystery here.
Notably, before coming to Kashmir, the prime minister was caught on wrong foot when a journalist asked him how could he speak of Zero Tolerance for human rights violations in Kashmir when his government would not allow the prosecution of army officers and jawans charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation for the murder of five innocent civilians at Pathribal in Kashmir in 2000?
Meanwhile, whether you agree or not, it is a hard fact that Kashmir freedom struggle has proved the biggest employer. With so many cadres pursuing so many agendas like ‘Independence from India’, ‘accession to Pakistan’, ‘autonomy’, ‘self rule’, common Kashmiris stand simply confused. For the first decade of the current separatist movement, Kashmiri separatists ‘wanted’ nothing less than annexation of Kashmir from the union of India and during the course of struggle thousands fell to the bullets that were exchanged between the forces and the armed separatists; thousands disappeared; thousands of children were left orphans; thousands of women widowed or left half widowed; and property worth thousands was razed to the ground.
After suffering this unforgettable loss for the first decade of the struggle, we witnessed a shift in strategy. Separatist cadres began to hunt for negotiations with India and vigourously engaged themselves in talks etc. During this course another decade of resistance passed without any substantial results. Whatever good happened, it happened in favour of India, as it not only consolidated its grip militarily over the Kashmir, but also regained its political foothold over Kashmir. Most surprisingly, this all happened under the nose of pioneers of armed separatist cadres. Who can forget the assembly elections 2008, when Kashmiris dumped their freedom cry and participated in electioneering and surprised the global analysts - even those who had written off the chances of India in Kashmir.
There are incidents galore that reveal that over a period of time the resistance movement has been clandestinely commercialized. Even as it started purely as a voluntary activity in 1988-89, it witnessed a section of separatists, who later joined hands with mainstream political parties and government machinery including security forces, hunting with a lust for money. Gripped in this situation, no one can expect peace because the deterioration in situation suits this section of players for meting their own vested interests.
It is also irony that Pakistan and India are more comfortable for not having friendship and cordial relations. They are yet to behave as good neighbours. Even resolving Kashmir problem won’t end their enmity. Several occasions have come when these two countries sat together to discuss issues. Many times it seemed as if finally they will resolve the differences. Something drastic happens; every time, and the two countries immediately return to enmity.
So in between the hostilities of the two countries, it is the common Kashmiri's blood which is shed. If the two countries are engaged to politicise every suffering and misery of Kashmiri, the role of separatist cadres emerges with a new force. It is the disorder among these cadres which is telling upon the comfort of common people. They have already admitted to some compromises. For how long our innocent teenagers have to travel to graveyards prematurely?
Meanwhile, the prime minister’s commitment to Zero Tolerance for human rights violations in Kashmir is worth nothing so long as the government won’t allow to book and prosecute forces’ personnel responsible for murdering innocent civilians in Kashmir.
(The views are of the author and not that of the institution he works for. Feedback at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
Malik, Mirwaiz, Nayeem ors join funeral procession
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 12: Killing of the teenager Tufail Ahmed of Saida Kadal has evoked wide spread condemnation from different quarters. The Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation More
- Srinagar City
TRAINING OF UNANI PRACTITIONERS BEGINS AT KU
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 12: Kashmir University, Vice-Chancellor, Prof Riyaz Punjabi on Saturday asserted that it was essential to empower the society with the knowledge of medicines. He called for a coordinated More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, June 12: Over two dozen persons, including five constables, In-charge police post Sidhra and two CRPF troopers were injured and half a dozen vehicles, including a JCB and police vehicle, were damaged More
- South Asia
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Jaipur, June 12: Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today said a collective effort on the part of politicians, regardless of their party affiliations, is needed to combat crime and corruption in the country More
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 12: Bringing laurels to Kashmir University,two students of KU have topped the Association of Mutual Fund Industry (AMFI) examination from Kashmir division.In a statement here today the varsity More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Moscow, June 12: As ethnic violence spirals out of control in Kyrgystan, Russian rapid deployment paratroopers might be readying to enter the strategic central Asian republic to help quell widespread rioting More