Apologise now

Accepting the reality and seeking pardon will definitely lessen the burden you must be carrying
Apologise now

On a visit to Amritsar in February 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron described the Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 as "a deeply shameful event in British history."

"We must never forget what happened here," he said of the shooting of nearly 1000 peaceful Indian protestors by British troops on the orders of General Reginald Dyer.

"This was a deeply shameful act in British history, one that Winston Churchill rightly described at that time as 'monstrous.' We must never forget what happened here and we must ensure that the UK stands up for the right of peaceful protests," Mr Cameron wrote in the visitors' book at the memorial site. 

 The former Pakistan President, Gen Parvez Musharraf visited Dhaka in July 2002.  He (Musharraf) visited a war memorial at Savar, near the capital, Dhaka, and wrote in the visitors' book: "Your brothers and sisters in Pakistan share the pain of the events in 1971. The excesses committed during the unfortunate period are regretted. Let us bury the past in the spirit of magnanimity. Let not the light of the future be dimmed." (The Huffington Post, December 3, 2015)

 The Pakistan civil society also wants the government of Pakistan to apologise to Bangladesh for the excesses during 1971 war. In fact, the Pakistan civil society is in favour of legislation in this regard.  Similar voices though weak have been heard in India urging New Delhi to apologise for crimes in Kashmir.   Taking cue from the above developments, the Civil Society in Kashmir intends to frame a charge sheet against former Sader-e-Riyasat and son of last Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh for the crimes committed by the dynasty during its rule.   Karan Singh shall be asked to tender an apology for the crimes, said noted human rights defender Advocate Parvez Imroz while addressing the relatives of disappeared persons on the International Day of the Disappeared last year.

 The Dogra rulers shall be charged with the murder of 28 shawl weavers. On April 29, 1865 the Dogra forces killed 28 shawl weavers near Zaldagar Bridge when they took out a procession   to protest heavy taxation on shawls. They will also be charged of murdering Robert Thorp on November 22, 1867. Thorp was a Britisher born to a Kashmiri mother. He documented atrocities perpetrated on Kashmiris by the Dogra rulers and got them published in London newspapers. He compiled a book Cashmir Misgovernment thus inviting ire of the rulers. He was found dead on November 22, 1867. The locals accused the authorities of poisoning him. 

 The list is endless. While enforced disappearances effected during the past twenty-seven years have evoked international concern, no tears have been shed for those who vanished into thin air while taking arms, ammunition and food to Dogra soldiers in Gilgit Bonji (commonly known as Bawanjun in Kashmir) and other parts of the Wet Desert. Similarly, only a passing reference has been made of those who disappeared while working on the Padder Sapphire mines. The skeletons/remains of the labourers can be seen scattered even today around the mines.

A drama produced by the Radio Kashmir titled Veth Rooz Pakan (Jehlum continued to flow) throws some light on those days when Kashmiris were taken for bonded labour to remote places like Bawanjun in Ladakh.  Very few people returned from there. All of them disappeared, rather succumbed to inclement weather and very difficult terrain.

A phrase Bawanjun soujuzth (I will send you to Bawanjan) is still in vogue in Kashmir. It is used to express extreme anger and conveys `If you take cudgels with me, you will vanish into thin air'. These heinous crimes merit an apology.

Several Silk factory workers seeking enforcement of their rights were killed. Nothing moved. The persons who sought justice from the Viceroy were persecuted.  

The perpetrators involved in July 13, 1931 massacre outside Srinagar Central Jail were never brought to justice.   

A procession was taken out in Rajouri town on January 21, 1932. People of Darhaal, Thana Mandi and adjoin areas also participated. The protesters marched towards Ladiyan Wali mosque where prayers had been banned first in 1846 and then in 1914. They wanted to defy the ban. The people assembled in the mosque and held a congregation. After they came out of the mosque, the Dogra soldiers cane charged them and also opened fire killing 25 persons on the spot.

 The Dogra rulers promoted and legalized prostitution in Kashmir to fund their lavish lifestyle.  Twenty-five percent of the state's income came from flesh trade.  A barber, Muhammad Subhan Hajam launched a lone fight against it. He was persecuted and humiliated repeatedly. In 1946 at least forty Kashmiris were gunned down by Dogra soldiers at different places for supporting the Quit Kashmir Movement. The perpetrators were never put on trial.

 In 1947, Muslims were massacred across Jammu region. According to rough estimates around 2.50 lakh souls were killed in cold blood. An equal number was forced to leave their home and hearth behind.  Your father was in Jammu on November 6, 7 when killers were on prowl. Nothing was done to protect the hapless Muslims.  

Accepting the reality and seeking pardon will definitely lessen the burden you must be carrying for being an important surviving member of the dynasty. Will you show some remorse? 

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