Kashmir? Who cares!

Even our tragedies are unique as they invite a unique response

Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 24 2018 11:34PM | Updated Date: Feb 24 2018 11:34PM
Kashmir? Who cares!File Photo

This week we commemorated the terror that  struck Kunanposh Pora twenty seven years ago. The memories will shock generations to come. The savagery done to the innocent women of the village will go as the darkest chapter in the recent Kashmir history. Even darker than the bloodshed that shows no signs of stopping. Mass killings though unforgettable may still fade a bit in our hearts and minds, but mass rape is a memory which will refuse to go - no matter we live or die. 

But is there anything ghastlier than rape? Yes, it's the silence of Indian civil society. Where are they? Those who call themselves humanists, those who lose their sleep at the slightest offence done to dogs, pups, cats and kittens. Those who uphold the freedom to choose religion. Those who fight for decriminalising same-sex marriage in the name of freedom. Those who worship women as goddesses and die protecting their rights. Those who honour liberty as the highest value. Those to whom all that matters is human dignity. Have they gone missing?  

We don't mean that no one has raised his voice. Voices of course were raised, but those murmurs drowned in the immense silence observed (as they say) in the `national interest'. Recall the whole India erupting in rage against Nirbhaya case. Recall the pain expressed by all cutting across the borders of politics and ideology. And why not? After all it was the question of outraging one's right to live with dignity. But compare the horror that swept an entire village on that fateful night and even after three decades screams of helplessness are heard. We don't mean the spirit of crime, we mean the scale of crime by the number of human bodies that were ravaged. Imagine the pain that deepens with every year the day arrives. 

The response towards such tragedies was unchanged. What happened in Shopian didn't rock any region beyond Kashmir in 2009. What just happened at Kathua will make even savages hang their heads in shame. Even criminals are being unabashedly defended. 

Kashmir really is a special case. Kashmir's enforced arrangement with Indian union is special. Kashmir tragedy is special. Not just Kashmir politics, but Kashmiris' honour, esteem, life and character appear to be special when we see it through the prism of Delhi. Our very definition of secularism is special from others'. When they are hurt we must feel, when we are, we must accept it as our fate. Irreversible. Irrevocable. 

By the way why should they shed a tear. When victims die, criminals don't mourn.