In the midst of a working summer, after three years, Kashmir is confronted with an issue that is highly sensitive. A young housewife from a remote hamlet in DamhalHanjipora has alleged she was abducted, and confined to a jungle hut for two days and gang raped by two soldiers she claimes she can identify.
This time the government has been very responsive. Within hours of the newsbreak, a minister and state police chief were seen flying to the spot to cool the tempers of the masses genuinely hurt by the incident.
The young lady narrated the entire story to the political leaders and police officials and a case was registered immediately. A high level team of investigators was set up and a probe put on fast track. Within 24 hours the medical report was out and immediately made accessible to the public by releasing it to the media.
Compared to the inertia that the government exhibited in last two years, it has been an ideal start to manage a crisis. Even the armed forces registered their concerns towards the issue and assured of cooperation and support to the efforts of investigating the case initiated by the civil administration.
The situation in which Kashmir has been surviving for over two decades now has witnessed some of the grave incidents of its recent history. These never excluded the women who have been, in fact, suffering more than the males.
The society has always been registering their concern and the government has always been assuring of due actions and fair play. But these assurances are rarely implemented. This has impacted the credibility of the system that has, over the years, reduced to a tool of management rather than an institution of respect and responsibility. System’s careful carelessness has metamorphosed into a question mark that haunts the institutions and the individuals.
Kulgam incident has come at a time when the government and its various appendages can prove that the system does care for the people it claims are its own. Let there be no accusations about who is involved. It could be anybody, even a civilian criminal. Only a fair, transparent and honest investigation in the case can help. A criminal is a criminal regardless of his attire or the ideology he practices.
Investigations in cases of civil liberties have usually remained processes of managing the public anger. Shopian murders case was handed over to the CBI and closed but Kashmir still harbors suspicions. Even as one complete year has passed, the prosecution is yet to offer a first case in which it has taken action for a single civilian murder in 2010 summer. Let Damhal case be a test case for the larger good of the society and the system.