Democracy is all about differences. And people at high places will have million differences with what JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik stands for. But that never means he should be subjected to situations in which he was humiliated and forced back from Chenab Valley along with a few truckloads of relief that he was carrying for the earthquake sufferers. Reports in the media offer details about how cops literally besieged him and his colleagues, damaged the trucks carrying the relief and was given marching orders to head back-home in the dead of the night.

A day after Malik addressed a news conference suggesting that it all happened because Congress party wanted it. While it would require a lot of explanation about how Congress manipulated his visit despite the Home portfolio in the state being managed by the National Conference, Malik, a political activist, must be having his own sources of information.

Regardless of who was behind it, the larger issue is why should it happen, at all? Malik had not gone to Doda for asking people to rise in revolt. He had obviously no weapons with him for distribution. He had gone with relief to the people suffering after their homes and hearths were damaged by the earthquake that had its epicenter not far away from Bhaderwah. This is not something that Malik had done for the first time. In 2005, he was seen collecting relief for Gujarat earthquake victims and prior to that he was seen organizing blood donation camp for the tsunami survivors in Srinagar. In 2005 when the deadly earthquake rocked a vast Kashmir belt on either side of the LoC, Malik crossed the Redcliff divide with symbolic relief. Never ever was he stopped from doing what he wanted because it is part of the larger good that any human being is expected to do in extra-ordinary situation of mayhem and crisis.

But this time, it was a shock and surprise that not only was he stopped, he was humiliated and packed back home with the relief he was carrying. The last instance available on Kashmir front is that of 1990s when in protracted curfew restrictions, the peasantry from the countryside dispatched scores of trucks laden with provisions to Srinagar city. After it was permitted for a few days, the then governor’s administration one day seized all the trucks, confiscated the relief and permitted the trucks to move empty only after they assured the administration that they will never come with any kind of relief to Srinagar. Is the history being repeated?

It happened at a time when the overall debate is about granting space to the people who are outside the system. There are efforts to encourage some of them to use the larger democratic framework to address the short term issues of peace and prosperity. Doda happenings might have shocked the people who are so keen to contribute on this front. The systems in place must stop reading the newspapers and throwing them into dustbins. This incident needs probe and action because it has shaken confidence of people.


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