Kashmiris wounded

and the wound will fester for all the time to come

AFTERMATH

KALPANA TIKKU

For a strange reason, I suddenly feel ashamed. I can't somehow face my dear Kashmiri Muslim friends. It feels like an assault on their helplessness. Feb 9, 2013, the day when Afzal Guru is “hanged until death” will go down forever in the memory of Kashmiris. A curfew had already been enforced even before they had woken up. Kashmir woke up to a dark morning. The air was full of gloom and an eerie silence was all pervading. The valley had been shocked into silence. Mobile Internet Services had been disconnected and cable television snapped. As if this was not enough, newspapers were barred from being distributed.
Feb9, 2013, India rejoices as “justice “is delivered. Sweets are being exchanged, Firecrackers deafen your ears and smug expressions of victory are visible all over National TV Channels. The entire day the media is running stock videos of Afzal Guru and debating his execution. There are questions which loom large and which need be answered. India has knowingly or unknowingly burnt bridges with Kashmiris for another few decades. The execution of Afzal Guru has given birth to an entire new generation of revolutionaries.
They say revolution is born in the mind of a child. Children are once again living the history in front of their eyes. They are taking cues from circumstances and not from the newspapers or debates on television. It is again a case of “Them Vs Us”. The Indian Government, in an attempt to please and satisfy the “collective conscience” of a nation, has created a dormant volcano in Kashmir. The Fault lines are visible.  The Chief Minister  wants to distance himself from the entire episode as much as he can. It is evident he is uneasy and his position in the State is more vulnerable than ever before. People feel cheated, wronged, helpless, humiliated and they have every reason to believe so. Kashmir was clamped down for an entire week. The UPA  may have won the battle but eventually India has lost the war. Peace can never be enforced. It can only be inspired. Kashmir feels alienated like never before.  One can feel the depression in the air. The entire valley is in mourning.
The entire country needs to bow down to Kashmiris for the injustice done to them.  However, there are a few thoughts which have been nagging me since then. Are we in some way responsible for this utterly shameful incident? I, on my part, regret the fact that I never paid much attention to this case or took it seriously. But is it just me, or does the entire Valley  need to feel ashamed for letting him down? There are some questions we need to ask ourselves and look within. If we do not do this now, perhaps there would be another Afzal going to the gallows another day. Today he is dead and no more but while he was alive, why didn't we protest against his possible hanging. Certain questions will always keep haunting us. Where was the Civil Society all this while? Organizing seminars on women emancipation and on engaging the youth? Where were the Human rights defenders and lawyers of the Valley? Not one from Kashmir competent enough and willing to come forward to fight his case? Everybody, students, the separatist leadership, journalists, opposition parties, social activists, the Intelligentsia, the influential Non Resident Kashmiris,  all were against the execution of Afzal Guru. Was this single reason not strong enough for everybody to shed their personal differences and join hands to fight for justice and to present a joint memorandum to the Government of India? But that time is gone. All we are left with is a painful memory now.

(The writer is the Managing Trustee of ARNIMAAL a voluntary Organization working in the valley)

Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 18 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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