Kashmir joins Delhi gang rape protests, albeit, with a suffix

SHAFAAT SHAH

Srinagar, Dec 22: As India is rightly outraged over the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in New Delhi on December 16, thousands of people Saturday took to streets in the national capital demanding justice. Millions more took to the cyber world across the country to seek answers from the government and show their sympathy for the victim. Kashmir was no exception. But the discourse in Kashmir had a suffix.
Kashmiris Saturday joined in to condemn the Delhi shame and demanded punishment to the culprits, almost all of whom have been arrested within days- the latest as far in Bihar today- but sought to question the conscience of the people and national media over similar incidents in Kashmir.
Sheikh Suhail wrote as his status update: “Well, I in no sense mean to demean the protests by youth in Delhi, and the concern of one and all against police aggression which followed, but keep this in mind that Kashmiris have witnessed this all….bore this all….all these years and yet no one talked….no concern.. I condemn the aggression and the actual incident…..the people are all up in arms and together against the same, but neglect, with criminal silence, when it comes to Kashmir. Are women here no women at all….is their dignity no dignity at all.. If there is a cry for justice, please be not selective.. #Justice for all..”
In Delhi, lathicharge and water cannons were used on protesters trying to get inside North Block. There was utter chaos outside North Block this morning as hundreds of protesters demanding justice for the victim tried to break barricades and enter the premises. The police took action when some protesters broke barricades. NDTV reported that the agitating protesters attacked a police van; one policeman was injured in the rampage. Another police van was damaged later by the protesters.
Qayum Hamid wrote: “I appreciate the protest Indian public is showing today against the recent gang rape at Delhi. From candles to posters on roads and updates to black-dot display pictures shares the anger and concern marking the collective mourning at the loss of humanity. But I have one very simple question, where was this collective concern when more than 80 women were raped in Kashmir in one single night? Where was this mark of collective shame for the society when Manek Goyary was gang raped in Assam by army personnel of 15 Dogra regiment? Or, the rape and naked parades of women in West Bengal or elsewhere? Let us start it from the beginning, let all be punished, let there be no discrimination.”
Peerzada Aafaq Masood shared a news report by Inshah Malik, a scholar of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi: “Must read friends- Shabnam, the woman who was raped twice. http://www.kashmirdispatch.com/sameer-bhat/211210446-shabnam-the-woman-who-was-raped-twice.htm.” The story is about a Kunanposhpora victim, Shabnam, who was allegedly raped again in custody and given electric shocks in her private parts a year after the gang rape. The reason, her brother-in-law had joined militants.
The Internet was abuzz with stories and news reports which mentioned how 38 men of Kunanposhpora joined militants after the rape of their women folk to “seek revenge.” All of them were killed in encounters with government forces.
A Times Now correspondent reported from the protest venue: “Delhi Police has refrained from using force as this is a protest of teenagers, students, college-goers.”
A facebook user, by the screen name of Love Kashmir, sought to put the situations and the different reactions of law enforcement agencies in context.
“Indians are protesting against the gang rape and police are protecting them. When we Kashmiris protest against the Shopain double rape, we got bullets. Delhi Police arrested the accused in a few days. But the persons who were involved in Shopain rape case are still moving freely,” he wrote.
News portal ibnlive.com reported: The anger after the horrific gang rape of a 23-year-old medical student has intensified on the streets. Protesters gathered in large numbers at India Gate on Saturday morning and shouted 'We Want Justice' slogans. Anti-rape protests at India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan turned violent.
Seeking to remind the people at large about similar incidents in Kashmir, the Netusers put in links like ‘http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVZ-18HXZ68’ and ‘http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Shopian_rape_and_murder_case.’ The links evoked instant attention in the cyber world and triggered discussions.
Sakib Nissar Qadri wrote: “Suppose Delhi is Kashmir.. Suppose that bus is Kunan Poshpora or Shopian.. Suppose the girl is Kashmiri…Suppose the culprits are men in uniform…Suppose there is AFSPA.. Wow then everything changes….No protest,, No charge sheet,, No arrest, and No hue and cry. Even protestors would be dealt with force. And most of Indians wouldn't even care.”
“What do these protesters at Raisiana Hills want? New Delhi should appoint interlocutors to talk to different age groups, high school students and college students, people from south Delhi and East Delhi, with municipal housing committees, Connaught Place shopkeepers, Chandni Chowk Kareem's owners' front office boys, Noida flyovers in-charge staff, Gurgoan call centre heads, Surajkund jats etc to understand what do these people want? Recall 2010,” wrote Peerzada Ashiq on his page. He was ostensibly drawing attention towards the Kashmir agitation of 2010 in which about 120 Kashmiris, mostly children in the age group of 8 to 18 were killed by government forces.
Recently, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in a statement: “We are willing to talk to Kashmiri separatists to know what they want.”
Ridiculing the national media’s ‘double standards’, a young user mentioned: “?Rajdeep Sardesai is on the ground, and the nation is very patiently LISTENING to the protesters. In Kashmir, bullets do all the talking. And in the evening bulletins, they ask: What do Kashmiris want?”
IBN 18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai was reporting right from the crowd in New Delhi on Saturday as ibnlive.com reported: “Hundreds of people continued to join the protests at India Gate as well as Rashtrapati Bhawan even after the police used tear gas shells, water cannons and lathicharge to disperse crowd. Women protesters talking to IBN 18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai.”
Moazum Mohammad wrote: “Would today's protesters be called 'miscreants' too?”
Mir Iqbal wrote: “Indians adopt Kashmiri tactics to demand justice. As per reports some Kashmiri sangbaaz "Stone Throwers" have reached Delhi to throw stones. Reports also said that lathi charge police team, tear gas experts from Kashmir have also been sent to Delhi to tackle the situation. It is also said that the protesters raised the slogans that now they have realized that why Kashmiris were throwing stones.”
Shariq Majeed sought to justify the media attention the Saturday protests got. “Amidst all the criticism media faces for over activism, trust me if there would be no media, tainted trio of politicians, bureaucracy and police will kill the common man, add spice and oil and then put him on fire and later eat his body parts.....And in the end say, woh, it should have been heated more for better taste....,” he wrote.
Aijju Rather said: “How shameful.. currently whole India including Bollywood stars, sports persons and politicians are protesting against the gang rape that occurred in Delhi some days before. Slogans are being shouted for the death penalty of culprits. Security forces are protecting and covering the mob. But when we Kashmiris were protesting against Shopian gang rape and murder of Neelofar and Asiya, and against the rape of a women along with her daughter by an Army Major in Badrah Hardwara, we got bullets and bars.”
Nazir Moomin wrote on the facebook page of noted journalist and activist Seema Mustafa: “We condemn this beastly rape in Delhi. No one knows the intensity of this wild pain as much as we Kashmiris feel it because we have passed through this trauma. But where were you media persons then, when we were crying for justice for Kunanposhpora or Shopian? Where they not part of human race? Is rape and molestation of a Kashmiri woman different than yours?  Please put these questions before public conscience of aam aadmi of India. Being yourself self a woman, we expect you will raise your voice.”
Ather Zia’s comments ably summed up the debate in Kashmir: “People of India....are you listening....!! rape is always a crime against humanity, no more double standards please.....!!”

Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 22 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 23 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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