Change the mindset

A highly irresponsible statement from a government official stating the Public Safety Act (PSA) was needed for restoration of peace in restive Kashmir has evoked widespread dismissal. The statement reflects that the government has no policy to address the issues that have put the life on hold for the past three months. The authorities have already taken thousands of persons into custody for various charges. A good number of them including some minors have been detained under the PSA. The authorities, however, need to bear in mind that the arrests, and reckless use of the PSA, has been widely resented across Kashmir. The authorities, it seems have not learnt any lessons from the previous mistakes. Taking someone's father into illegal custody to make the son, accused of stone pelting, surrender continues unabated. This practice was widely in vogue in yesteryears. But in 21st century when people across the globe enjoy democracy and human rights, Kashmir narrates a different story. The people have shown no signs of fatigue till date and have expressed willingness to continue the on-going uprising. The government has responded with brute force. It is firing pellets and bullets when it should be applying balm on the wounds of the people. It is arresting people when it should be opening the doors of prisons. The authorities must sit down and take decisions with a human touch. History is witness to the fact that use of force has failed to break the determination of people. Half a million troops and economic packages have failed to change the psyche of the people. While the state government has no or little role in the process aimed at resolution of the larger problem, it can create an atmosphere where the commoner feels safe. But unfortunately, in the garb of upholding peace and order, the commoner is humiliated, tortured, arrested in fictitious cases. A humane administration and not use of brute force can go a long way in restoring order which the state authorities so desperately want.

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