An Industry of Violence

graphs of the Valley and its people. A keen enthusiast of post modernist socio-psychopathic behaviour theories, this man told me that Kashmir would develop a mafia of its own while the armed insurgency would de-escalate with the passage of time. He was of the opinion that the acceptance of armed rebellion as a form of resistance by a people was only the starting chapter towards the eventual ideal of freedom followed by more characteristic chapters involving the refinement and distillation of a population by the medium of human pain and suffering. He told me that a peculiar kind of fiefdom often stole in between the consecutive chapters that desecrated the near sacred character of all human resistance against oppression. Following this misalignment of very pure ideals the very moral fibre along with the paraphernalia of the movement are led towards crime in a reticent manner and eventually become manifest as local mafia.
For the past few years, I have been surveying the landscape of Kashmir for any signs that would confirm the ‘beliefs’ of my old friend and cursory glances tell me that everything is fine. Perhaps the wisdom of my old friend was too sharp for the years to come or maybe we never even completely wrote the first chapter of our ‘book of emancipation’. But then when I look closely I find the words of wisdom of my friend hanging by the denuded branches of our very existence. A mafia has crept up in Kashmir but it does not bear any characteristic semblance to an organized culture that could be specifically identified as mafia.
Mafia for your and my general knowledge also known as the “Cosa Nostra” is a Sicilian criminal society which is believed to have emerged in late 19th century Sicily, and the first such society to be referred to as a mafia. Leopoldo Franchetti, an Italian deputy who travelled to Sicily and who wrote one of the first authoritative reports on the mafia in 1876, saw the Mafia as an ‘industry of violence’. The Mafia has controlled everything from the street corner drug trade to the highest levels of government. The Mafia at its core is about one thing — money. The Mafia is oppression, arrogance, greed, self-enrichment, power and hegemony above and against all others. It is not an abstract concept and today the word mafia is held synonymous with organized crime.
Organized crime most typically flourishes when a central government and civil society is disorganized, weak, absent or not trusted. This is known to occur in a society facing periods of political, economic or social turmoil or transition, such as a change of government or a period of rapid economic development, particularly if the society lacks strong and established institutions and the rule of law. All of these hold true for Kashmir and so does organized crime.
Organized crime has swept across the Valley. There are shady drug peddling networks operational behind the scenes pumping opium and other deadly substances into the youth of Kashmir; piracy is ruling the roost – from video and music piracy to piracy of major food and clothing brands, there is no looking back; sex-trafficking has come off shore many a times now but corruption and highhandedness have swept the whole issue under the carpet; from poaching down to land grabbing issues are melting is thin air. Every other day some innocent is murdered and we believe that it has to do with militancy operations, leaving little to doubt. But then Mafia is an ‘industry of violence’.


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