BY JUNAID MALIK
When somebody mentions the Kashmir, imagery of snow clad mountains, fresh water stream and waterfalls, the picturesque gardens , the soul refreshing breeze ,the rowing shikaras and boats, the red maples and aroma of tantalizing cuisines comes to mind is overshadowed by despair and hopelessness. Instead an eerie and macabre feeling of mourning, the coffins, the screams and wails, the mangled dead bodies, the cries of orphans and widows, the lacerated mothers and shattered fathers bangs one’s mind and thoughts. Kashmir is nothing more than alcove of unabated and never ending sufferings and mourning as it was ever in the annals of history.
The union government unilaterally and stealthily abrogated the article 370, a special constitutional guarantee which had been given by the fathers of Indian constitution to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The central government led by Narendra Modi portrayed the situation as such as if the state was governed by some alien powers. The hullaballoo created after abrogation of article 370 and relegation of state to the status of union territory was portrayed as if the region got the freedom in 2019 itself. It claimed to usher an era of prosperity and gargantuan progress that eludes till date rather the conditions have deteriorated so much that a common man in the region feels helpless and suffocated. A sense of fear, insecurity and alienation has crept in every section of the society let alone the Kashmir.
The claims and clamors of the government of to eradicate terrorism has fallen flat rather the terroristic activities have increased many folds with a spree of civilian killings including businessmen, teachers ,public representatives ,outside laborers has gone unabated despite increase in military deployments. This sort of trend of civilian killings was never seen in Kashmir which consequently led to exodus of migrant laborers who otherwise had been earning their livelihood for decades together in Kashmir.
The hyderpora encounter a couple of days has unfolded another chapter of alleged human rights abuse and impunity granted to some sections. the locals and kins alleged that the civilians including a doctor ,a businessman and his associate were killed in a cold blooded murder and later dubbed them as associate of militants who were allegedly working as their over ground worker. The dead bodies weren’t returned to the families and instead buried in a secluded place in Handwara, a township 70 kms away from the summer capital of Srinagar. The families staged a sit in protest in press enclave who too were detained for demanding the dead bodies of their kins,later the police admitted that the civilian were killed in cross firing .As the pressure mounted, the authorities exhumed the dead bodies of the doctor and business man and returned to families who did their last rites. The dead body of Amir Magaray, the third civilian killed in the encounter hasn’t been returned to the family yet. Apart from families, PDP chief and ex chief minister Mehbooba Mufti led a march towards Raj Bhawan demanding an apology from the LG office and return of dead body Amir Magray.
Interestingly, Amir margay’s father Abdul latief Magray who killed a terrorist with stones in 2005 in his home town Gool in Ramban district has been awarded by government of India, army and state government for his valor and gallantry. He has been given the security by the government for his brave act but still latief is running from pillar to post for the return of mortal remains of his son.The police and army say he was working as OGW of militants and providing them logistic support. The conflicting claims led the LG administration to initiate an inquiry in to the encounter and assured strictest action, if anybody is found guilty. The government had claimed that abrogation of article 370 would lead to progress and prosperity but all seems to have gone to winds. The families weren’t demanding justice for their loved ones in the press enclave protest in Srinagar but their vocal and vociferous demand was the return of the dead bodies of their family members. it seems that justice has got the burial in the empty, unmarked and waiting graves of Kashmir. The situation has gone from bad to worst in the preceding years which has alienated every single region of the erstwhile state. The government has miserably failed in its own tall claims and hollow promises.
The Hyderpora encounter isn’t an isolated case but there are hundreds of cases in Kashmir where fake encounters were staged to get promotions and rewards by the men in uniform. The macchil encounter, the unearthening of unmasked graves where scores of youth were killed and buried in forests and pastures. The Recent example of this murky blood trade was seen in shopian where an army officer kidnapped three innocent laborers from Rajouri from a rented accommodation in shopian. They were taken to an orchard ,killed and guns and ammunition staked over bodies to declare them as terrorists . As soon as the matter took ugly turn and families began protesting, the civil and army administration initiated the enquiry and indicted the officer. The victims of mass rape of Kunan Poshpora allegedly by army personal is still waiting for justice to conclude even after elapse of more than two decades.
The region is suffering from the grave unemployment crisis which has gone to 22% and has become highest in the country. The business is hit, the youth are directionless, prices are sky rocketing, drug abuse has increased many fold which has alienated the common man beyond measures .Infact ,every day a new order is issued by the government which puts curbs, shocks and silence in disgust. The region is without an elected government for three years ,bureaucratic high handedness is all time high ,people are running from pillar to post for the redressel of their grievances and politicians are only crying their throats out with empty claims and fiasco. The region of Jammu and Kashmir is suffering badly due to apathy of government who considers and this time we are waiting
Junaid Malik is a freelance journalist and writer .