Right to Dissent

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By Mir Liyakat

Mir Liyakat

Mir Liyakat

The recent Handwara firing horror added yet another dark page in the bloodied history of Kashmir, when five unarmed civilians were killed in cold blood after they were protesting against the alleged sexual molestation of a teenage girl by men in Khaki.

The unabated cycle of killings will continue in the valley till the trigger happy forces enjoy impunity and legal protection.

No inquiry or commission can prove them guilty or punish till draconian laws like AFSPA are not completely scrapped.

These draconian laws have virtually turned Kashmir into a killing field where people are brutalized, terrorized and killed in the garb of law and order.

Those who were responsible in legislating and implementing such inhuman laws, at the behest of their masters, remained complicit in unleashing hell on people.

The Unionist power politics is always conditioned by the treachery and hypocrisy. That is why they never bother to take up these inhuman laws seriously with New Delhi.

They stage dramas and fool people during election rallies by promising lifting of all such inhuman laws.

Their paramount interest is to get power.

Words like, duplicity, backstabbing, flip-flopping are too narrow to connote the height of deceit of Unionist political forces in the state.

The mere hollow slogans of ‘autonomy’ and the thoughtless theory of ‘self rule’ are consistently been used by them as a regurgitated food to perpetuate power at the cost of collective interest of subjugated people.

Agitation that followed Handwara incident for removal of bunker shows how new volcano of resistance is simmering albeit tried to tutor it by the language of violence.

The more you keep people in the chains of black laws the more they will respond with high voltage resilience and massive outrage. These laws have strangled the justice system, which gives government forces free license to use force, to detain a person without a trial for two years and trample the sanctity of life, honour and property of the people.

These laws are not only against the basic system of justice but stained the face of humanity.

We saw it during the mass uprisings of 2008 and 2010 when more than 136 boys were killed and hundreds other injured in the brute police action. Not even a single person so far has been arrested or punished. Many Human Rights groups and legal luminaries have spoken in unison about the dark repercussions of these draconian laws.

But unfortunately the world’s “largest democracy” believes that these colonial era laws are effective and imperative in a disputed territory like Kashmir to run its show of democracy.

Twenty five years have passed, when these inhuman laws were implemented in the state, but apart from debates and promises by the Unionist  political parties, to revoke them, they continue to play havoc with the lives of people. Those who claim to be the elected representatives should hang their head in shame when the minister of state in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh said, “Last word on AFSPA would only come from the security agencies and not from the political parties”.

This tells of their importance and political credibility in Kashmir, where they often bailed India out of its turbulent times. When in power, they waste no opportunity to legalize oppression and act as collaborators in decimating, diluting the “constitutional and autonomous status of Kashmir”.

Meanwhile, the current government has ordered another probe in Handwara incident. It will meet the same fate as other previous cases, thanks to presence of these black laws.  To deny justice, choking the dissent of people, may have serious implications, which can prove potentially dangerous for all the stake holders.

Time is ripe for both state and Union governments to take a final call over these draconian laws before situation gets out of hand.  However, to revoke AFSPA and other black laws from Kashmir is no victory till it remains a disputed territory.

We know it won’t make any huge difference, but at least it can bring some respite particularly for the state judiciary to function freely.

Ironically, in India, constitution is demonstrated by judiciary, but in Kashmir it is defined by the men in Khaki through the barrel of gun.

The Trojan horses in the camouflage of democratic robes in Srinagar also need to show some semblance of respect for the besieged people and help restore justice and dignity.

If the demand for revocation of AFSPA is not heard and addressed immediately, it will certainly escalate chaos, violence, mass agitations in future.

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