Amnesty: An act of prudence

This turmoil has to be seen from the prism of the distinct political realities that exist on ground

Srinagar, Publish Date: Jan 23 2018 11:37PM | Updated Date: Jan 23 2018 11:37PM

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement in the Assembly that her government was considering amnesty for young men, referred to as “second time offenders”, booked for cases related to stone pelting and “anti-government” activities is a good move. It has been emphasised time and again that Kashmir’s political situation cannot be eased by using heavy handed law and order and military means. It is fundamentally a political sentiment, and it's the instances of human rights abuses that makes young people take to streets and engage in activities that the state sees unacceptable. The problem is that if these young people are kept in prolonged detention, booked in cases that push them further to the wall and make them lose hope in expressing their dissent democratic means, the same young people could be pushed to circumstances where they would be more inclined towards violence. It has been seen in the past that several young people have taken to arms who had engaged in minor street protests or stone pelting and were dealt with a heavy hand by the state. It is important to recognise that political dissent is responded with heavy handed law and order measures only crystallises into more aggressive posturing, leading to a situation where peaceful engagement, dialogue and resolution of issues becomes even harder. Opposition members have also raised the issue of harassment of the family members, friends and neighbours of young men who lately are believed to have taken up arms. That is another issue of concern. Jammu & Kashmir has been in a state of deep political turmoil ever since 1947. This turmoil has to be seen from the prism of the distinct political realities that exist on the ground. Any state measures that would further estrange people with divergent political views are not worth pursuing. Seen from the perspective, the government’s move of amnesty to young men believed to have been involved in stone pelting is definitely a welcome one.

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