A lesson for the people

This politics of divisiveness needs a united opposition

Mir Farhat
Srinagar, Publish Date: Apr 19 2018 11:16PM | Updated Date: Apr 19 2018 11:16PM
A lesson for the peopleFile Photo

The grisly Kathua incident has rightly evoked painful and sympathetic emotions.

In this case, the role which is laudable is of the crime branch. The wide spread outrage was created when CB revealed to media the shocking details of the crime committed by the beasts. Despite pressure from ruling BJP and lawyers' association in Jammu on Crime Branch, it went ahead professionally and did its job.

Sadly, any human rights case in Jammu and Kashmir gets politicised and polarized; so-called civil society and activists shoot up from nowhere. Were these so-called activists and civil society really concerning about human rights violations, our state would not have seen bloodshed day in and day out all these years.

When gruesome rape and murder was reported on January 10 by newspapers, there was no such outrage in the state as we see today, except protests by Gujjars and Bakerwals in Kathua and some conscious citizens in Srinagar. All other self styled civil societies who are protesting today were nowhere visible then.

Fortunately, too, the state legislature was in session and opposition political parties created uproar over the grisly incident and also over the arrest of Talib Hussain, the young Gujjar-Bakerwal leader of the state, who highlighted the issue and galvanized support for the victim and the grieving family of the girl. Now, the case is in court let's trust the justice system.

It is no secret that every political party tried and is trying to gain political brownie points over the grave issue. BJP wants to see gains in the parliamentary elections in 2019 and is in search of issues which have polarising effect. And the right wing party is seeing Jammu, which has mixed population of Hindus and Muslims, as a cauldron for its politics. Congress unit of Jammu equally is vitiating the atmosphere on the issues which BJP is banking on. So we are seeing Muslim Rohingyas and Muslim tribals being made flashpoint issues in Jammu. Kathua too was hatched, as per the CB chargesheet, for the polarising politics.

National Conference and PDP which have major vote base in Kashmir play an opposite politics in Kashmir to what BJP or Congress plays in Jammu. For any anti-Muslim politics by BJP or Congress in Jammu, NC and PDP finds them emotive issues to be raked up in Muslim majority Kashmir.

Hurriyat groups equally find these issues as best opportunities to keep it relevant in the polarising discourse.

So the point is that all political parties end up dividing people on religion, caste, tribes and so on. And sadly, people flow with the political tide. Not realising how dangerous such issues are for their existence as a people of the one state.

Kathua rape and murder is a case in point. While ruling BJP supported the accused and called the investigation team of Crime Branch as 'Muslim SIT' when the same BJP burns Pakistani and Hurriyat flags on the killing of policeman. So why doubt the police force here when BJP and followers see it as only patriots and nationalists in Kashmir?

After the CB chargesheet into Kathua was highlighted by media, which is its duty, people rose up in support of the victim and the family. And political parties, particularly BJP, found themselves cornered and shamed. To save itself from nationwide shame and it's electorate, it forced to resign two of its state ministers, Lal Singh and CP Ganga: These two rightwing politicians had supported the accused and participated in the Hindu Ekta Manch rally which was founded immediately after the Kathua rape and murder of the child.

Also, the Jammu Bar Association which was supporting- and their support would have law books itself felt ashamed - the accused and demanding CBI probe made a U-turn and now shamelessly holds candle light march for the victim.

So the public pressure at right time and supporting the right cause without seeing religion in it forced BJP and other politicians kneel before the people. It clearly showed what peoples power can do: Make politicians kneel, polarisers and divisive elements feel ashamed and dead. And unite people.

In Kathua, the lesson for people of Jammu and Kashmir- Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs- is that unite and fight for human rights violations and defeat the politics and politicians of divisiveness.

Human rights means rights of humans. These rights don't see the victim through his/her religion. That is why we see an upright lawyer and a police officer, both Hindus, and two Sikh public prosecutors fighting for Kathua victim's right and justice.

Mir Farhat is a Kashmir based journalist.