On the eve of Eid, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as a goodwill gesture announced his government had decided to give the youth involved in the 2010 unrest a second chance. He said though there were around 1300 cases registered, more than one thousand youth booked for stone pelting would be set free and cases against them withdrawn. The rest, however, may not be freed because they stand booked for major offences including arson.
Opposition to the statement by the PDP and separatist groups notwithstanding, it is the initiative that could have been taken much earlier. Better late than never. Chief Minister is on the right track, if this initiative is an indicator.
In fact prior to the statement, the police did set free a number of detainees including Qazi yasir, who was repeatedly booked under Public safety Act for his activism on internet. Many others including some aged separatist leaders were also set free.
A lot of population is directly affected by the continued incarceration of the young men in Kashmir. It is a major issue with the separatists who have called for a strike this week. There is an urgent requirement for looking at other detentions including those booked under Public Safety Act.
At the same time, what is required is that the deaths that have taken place in 2010 are still not accounted for. While the system was totally responsive to the extent of granting them special ex-gratia compensation, there has not been any serious move in brining to justice the people who were responsible for these killings.
The government did set up a commission to investigate some of the killings that took place in south and north Kashmir districts. While the commission members have visited the spots and interacted with the people involved, a report is yet to be submitted. Though the government has a right to accept or ignore the recommendations that the commission would make, the inability of completing the investigations is a problem in itself.
Some people are still fighting to get their cases registered. In fact, the Tufail Mattoo case that actually stoked the fires in Srinagar is yet to be investigated. Though an FIR was registered under court directions, nothing has been happening as far as investigations are concerned. Even the court has recorded its displeasure with the government and pace of investigations in the case.
It is high time that all such cases be thoroughly looked into and those responsible for the killing brought to book. Justice delivered to the families can be a huge step towards building the confidence among the common people.
The need of the hour is to win back the trust of the common people by delivering justice in all the cases of deaths and injuries. If these people are not brought to justice, giving amnesty to a handful of youth would not serve the purpose.