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Jan 2, 2011
Open Space

How PDP failed Kashmiris

Naseer Ahmad

Staged gunfights are not new in Kashmir. People can differentiate between genuine and a staged gunfight. This year the police brought to fore killings of three youth in Machil sector of frontier Kupwara district by Indian army men. The investigation shocked the residents once again.

Three young men from a sleepy Nadihal village were picked up by informers, sold to Indian army men in lieu of INR 50,000 each and then these Army personnel killed them in cold blood passing them as foreign militants to get promotions. Last time a similar racket was unearthed in 2006. It is straight trade.

But worst was yet to come. From June 11 to October 2010, some 112 boys were killed by police and paramilitary troopers. But not a leaf moved. There is no need to provide minute details how the cycle of violence consumed 112 people mostly young and teenagers.

They were simply shot on their heads and hearts, with the aim to silence them. And in some cases where bullets did not work, ruthlessly beating did the job. Through beating they silenced eight-year-old in Batmaloo forever. We thought these gruesome murders would shake earth. But they did not.

Then, we thought, at least it will shake the conscience of pro-Indian political parties. But here too we were disappointed. Instead of raising this grave issue of human rights abuses, the pro-Indian political parties maintained sphinx like silence.

Thus nothing changed on the ground. Not a single policeman or a paramilitary trooper was arrested. Instead a teacher who had set examination paper asking students to translate a paragraph from Urdu to English over what has happened in past five months was arrested and taken into custody.

The judiciary described his action as sedition and war against the state. It said he tried to pollute impressionable minds of the youngsters. It is same judiciary whose directions on the Public Safety Act are trashed by police.

Another teacher who had set examination paper asking students to translate a passage from English to Kashmiri about human physiology (woman physiology) was booked under obscenity.

Does it mean we have to say what state wants us to say and write what it likes to see in print? The state here is now proclaiming that right is what, it thinks is right, rest of all it considers sedition. This is nothing but a process to control the thought.

But the question is why there is silence on the part of main opposition particularly Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on killings and suo motto cognizance’s of police. In contrast to National Conference (NC) and Congress party, PDP should have been vocal. It should have raised these issues vigorously.

NC and the Congress have repeatedly stated that the State Assembly has no role in resolution of Kashmir. Instead, they insist, that bilateral talks between India and Pakistan would resolve Kashmir. But PDP has been saying that the State Assembly is not corporation and its leaders have stated that the State Assembly has role.

If the Assembly has role and opposition has locus standi, then why PDP did not use Assembly platform in summer session this year to protest against the killings of 112 people. If the political party has role in the resolution then why it is silent over everything that is taking place here for past few months.

In the Assembly, it could have as a strong opposition sought answers, asked questions. It could have stalled the House proceedings had the government been irresponsible in responses.

This way at least PDP would have carried message forward that farce of democracy is at work in Kashmir.

The PDP instead preferred silence.

A sermon on the first day of the Assembly session by Mehbooba and then boycott of the House is what PDP did. Why? Was it pact between New Delhi and PDP that House proceedings should move uninterrupted?

And the boycott of the session was only way to do that. This way the PDP allowed Chief Minister Omar Abdullah a room to speak and gave him much required space to say something. He said and he talked about the accession, “the State has accessed but not merged”.

Abdullah was back on front pages of newspapers and back to the discourse, courtesy PDP.

It should not be construed that anyone is against Abdullah returning to front pages of newspapers or Abdullah speaking in the House. No. The question is why PDP facilitated the process and why it did not fulfill its role. Why it traded blood of 112 persons and kept silent. Not only that.

The PDP president left for England after the session and spent over a month there. The PDP patron did not issue any statement during this period. And party’s other senior or junior leaders disappeared into thin air. A report should have been lodged to know their whereabouts.

The silence of the party in 2010 that in 2009 did not miss an opportunity to talk about Abdullahs speaks loudly of something. Some trade off. Some assurances from New Delhi and some promises from NC. Why otherwise opposition stops talking when it should have been most talkative.

On 2 G spectrum scam the BJP and the Left did not allow the parliament to function for a month. It was adjourned without conducting any business. No one spoke in the parliament. No one was provided chance by the opposition to clear the air. The opposition had point. That everything is so clear that it does not require the statement of the Prime Minister or of Sonia Gandhi. Here too everything was clear. But still PDP allowed the House to function and restored credibility of the government that is accused of murder. Not of one person but of 112 people. They were people not numbers. In a way PDP sided with the accused on right assumption that victims (Kashmiris) do not matter when it comes to power. Power lies with New Delhi and it gives it to one who opens and shuts mouth on her (New Delhi’s) directions.

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