The local government may have ‘apologised’ for banning publication of newspapers in Kashmir as the forces at its command (or, are they?) kept serving death to protesters by firing live ammunition and the deadly pellets, but it cannot erase the most shameful aspect of the ban that was to somehow send out an impression that people were dying because newspapers reported their deaths! The government failed in that attempt not because of any onslaught of moral outrage against the unacceptable act, but because its apprehensions were borne out of utter powerlessness to morally confront the political content of the protests themselves. Be that as it may, the local administration absolutely abdicated its prime responsibility of safeguarding the lives of Kashmiri citizens by all the other measures it took to ostensibly curb protests.
An unprecedented communication blackout was imposed. Forget snapping mobile networks and Internet, it suspended even landline telephone services in largest parts of Kashmir valley endangering the lives of people further. The people, poor hapless residents were left without any means of seeking medical help or counsel as they were caged inside their homes without any means to communicate medical emergencies! As if military lines of control were drawn across mohallas, neighborhoods and districts disconnecting communities. It looks like some sudden cataclysm has brought back the Stone Age in Kashmir.
While handling the horrific emergency dealing with thousands of injured, hospital authorities have said they were preparing for a bigger emergency once restrictions on public movement and communications blackout were lifted. They expect a huge rush of patients who could not get any medical care amid the unrest to descend to hospitals in worse conditions. It has been true in the past as it is now, that all that the neurotic and securitized administration is concerned about is how to wrest control rather than ensure welfare of the largest sections of the population. The suspected local government, this time run by the (ironically) Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, it should be clear, only attempts to hide the elephant in room rather than even articulate the political truth of Kashmir. They tragically always work only for the history to repeat itself in cycles of horror and deceit.
As the “people’s representatives” hide from and fear the people themselves for reasons they best understand and know, all that the government, again, could think of is to pit school children against the accruing situation. As if having already abdicated the responsibility to safeguard lives was not enough! A certain familiar calm will surely return, but the political morality of those who claim to act in the interest of the people appears like an unending desert.