And the Saga Continues….

And the Saga Continues….

On February 11, 1984, Maqbool Bhat, co-founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front(JKLF) was hanged. On the 9th of February, 2013, Afzal Guru was hanged. And in January, 2017, Muzaffar Ahmed Rather was awarded the death sentence by a West Bengal sub divisional court. All the men , in one form or the other, were deemed to have been working or having committed acts of subversion against the state. Bhat was hanged in connection over a murder , Guru for the 2002 attack on the Indian parliament and Rather’s apparent guilt is having been in some form of a conspiracy against the state. What binds the trajectories and fates of the three men besides having been deemed as subversives against the state is that all are/were Kashmiris.  Is there some kind of discrimination at work here- implicit as well as explicit? The onus lies on the state to prove that there is not. However, if parallels are drawn with other cases of a similar nature- albeit in different permutations and combinations- it does appear that when it comes to Kashmiris , a different yardstick is employed. The perpetrators of the 2008 Malegaon blasts, the lynch mob killers of Mohammad Akhlaq- killed for mere suspicion of storing and consuming beef-, the killers of the Kashmiri trucker at Udhampur, spring to mind as egregious examples here. None of the perpetrators have been awarded the death sentence. Moreover, there appears to be a bit of a travesty at work here. Consider the example of Rather who was apprehended in 2002 when he was in eighth standard- a mere juvenile. Could not the adjudicators consider his childhood of juvenile status when delivering a sentence to him? Obviously,  given that the death sentence has been awarded to him, these important nuances did not matter. The obvious inference that can be drawn here is that different standards of justice and law are applied to Kashmiris. This has implications and consequences beyond the awarding of death sentences. These pertain to the general feeling and sentiment that obtains in Kashmir. Kashmiris do not feel themselves to be part of the Union. The acts by the constituent parts of the Union validate this sentiment for most Kashmiris. In this feed back loop, validated and revalidated, often times by the state, the prospects for conflict resolution look dim but what looks like a prospect is the intensification of the conflict- something that should alarm powers that be? Do they care? It does not seem so.

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