Holding peace a hostage

Irrespective of which side of the line they belong to, we must learn to respect humans as humans

COMMENT

HASSAN ZAINAGIREE

The simmering lava of Kashmir is once again showing effect. India and Pakistan are dangerously engaged in a conflict. The bubble of Confidence Building Measures (which includes reducing restrictions in the visa regime, trade and travel across LoC, exchange of sports, Jung-ToI flag-project ‘Aman key Aasha’ ) is finally bursting. Even according ‘Most Favored Nation’ status to each other didn't have the desired results.
 No doubt the veneer of trust built on the festering sore called Kashmir seduced the policy-makers in Delhi and Islamabad into sleep (over the issue). But as dozens of agreements between the two governments and unending ‘peace processes’ are continuing to show ugly manifestations. The death of a few soldiers should have remained confined to the growling on both the sides of LoC. But it set alarm bells to an extent that Pakistan and India seem to be out to destroy each other. The whole South Asia is atop a volcano. The six decade long old animosity is feared to throw the sub-continent to stone age.
 The core Kashmir issue cannot be left unaddressed. The ad hocist and fire fighting  approach has only invited the lull before the storm awakens us from the make-believe  world. Taking ‘main-streamist’ or moderate’ off-streamists on board has not extinguished fires of animosity. It rather kept the embers smoldering only to reap the ignominy and absurdity anew.
 Escalation of tension has brought to fore discriminatory attitude of arrogant powers towards the suffering of Kashmiri people. Not that people here are against the concern shown by both countries to the lives of soldiers manning their frontiers. They are pained at the indifference. More than one lakh people in trouble-torn land, ironically called “Paradise”, have died and thousands have disappeared since 1990, but these atrocities  have never created any ripple in the frigid and stagnant waters. 2008 and 2010 summer unrest saw Kashmir transiting to non-violent peaceful mode of mass mobilization. More than one hundred people were killed, hundreds maimed for life. But not a feeble voice of displeasure was heard.
 We did not witness any Arnab Goswami donning the mantle of conscience keeper of Indian nation going hysteric on  ‘Air Tonight’ and asking for the rolling of heads of the killers of innocent civilians. Nor did panelists show any solidarity towards the ‘victims of conflict’. We did not see any high-up getting doped and  calling murdering of three youth form South Kashmir as being ‘unacceptable and unpardonable’. Why this hypocrisy?
 Here many unarmed youths were forcibly dragged out of their homes. Bullets were pumped into their bodies in fake encounters and then they were labelled as militants. The bodies have been disfigured beyond recognition. Amputating body parts of  dead is a barbaric act and should be condemned in the strongest of terms. But equally barbaric are acts like deshaping of faces, perforation of intestines by inserting rods from the back. That too amounts mutilation. And, of course, human rights violation. But perpetrators of such dastardly acts her are not made accountable. Here they masquerade as saviors. Even 500 unmarked mass graves have been discovered. Why all this has not upped the ante from, leave alone, the political and military establishment, civil society and warmongering media?
 How long we keep dividing people into `theirs' and `ours'. A human being is a human being, created once and deserving respect in life and death equally. Had this wisdom dawned on leadership across the LoC, Kashmir would have settled long ago and both the countries would have heaved a sigh of relief. It is time they resolve Kashmir peacefully in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris. That is only sure way to save over a billion people from nuclear disaster. 
zainagiree@yahoo.co.in

Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 17 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 18 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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