A losing proposition


With the partition of the sub-continent and the birth of Kashmir dispute there started an era of injustice, which took different shades under different regimes and dispensations. The situation divided Kashmir on ideological lines. And its people had to pay a price for it.

After pro-India leadership gained power, it started banishing people to the other side of ceasefire line (now LoC) at the outset as comparatively ‘lesser evils’ started filling the jails. Gradually the ideological divide led to the creation of a section of the society that finds itself always in trouble with the authorities.

From the tactics of creating fear-psychosis among those who would listen to Radio Pakistan during Bakshi regime to the booking of protestors during the latest crisis, the indexing of people who’s opinions and aspirations differ from the rulers, has been an institutionalized practice in Kashmir.

The security apparatus here, over the years, has specialized in isolating a targeted group of people, who it believes keeps the pot boiling. Voices of dissent during early years of the conflict were muzzled by forcing many a families to migrate to the other part of Kashmir. In the last two decades many more families have fled to the other side.

With the onset of militancy, the targeted group of people increased manifold. More than seventy thousand people were killed – civilians and militants. A sizable number of Kashmiris were subjected to enforced disappearance. Many were imprisoned for long periods and many are still languishing behind bars within and outside the state. Those released after completing their jail terms continue to remain hounded. They are regularly called to police stations and army establishments for maintaining a constant psychological pressure over them.

These men, with a negative character record in police stations and investigating agencies can neither avail a government job nor a passport.

With the turn of the century, as separatist leaders and independent commentators believe, the youth opted for non-violent modes of resistance. Instead of expecting some more liberal means of keeping the protestors at bay, the security apparatus continues to stick to the old fashioned system it has evolved.

In the last two years alone 15000 people were added to the indexed population that already had 60000 families listed. Even the tech-savvy youth who would register their protests on social networking sites were not spared. By traumatizing their lives through denial of employment opportunities, passport facilities, and other avenues, the government is actually creating examples out of a section of people to serve as a deterrent for others. In the long run the government is the loser. By alienating people, it can’t win.


About Author

A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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