Kashmir’s Invisible Victims

Kashmir’s Invisible Victims

Kashmir’s pristine beauty is lacerated by scars and blemishes. A statement of the obvious, it may, however be dismissed as a rhetorical one. But it has a searing resonance for the victims of the conflict in and over Kashmir- especially the forgotten victims of the conflict.- the people, who have been incarcerated and live out their lives in prisons. As a society, a collective obligation is owed to these victims of the conflict. But, alas, Kashmiris collectively are remiss here. While the reasons for abrogating what may be even a duty, are many but one major reason that stands out is that we have become a self absorbed society. Our collective self absorption- despite the still peacable nature of Kashmiris, by and large- renders us uncaring for hapless victims of both the vicissitudes of life and the conflict in Kashmir. But conflict is conflict: it can exact and make victims of any of us anytime. But so strong is our self absorption that, we fail to recognize this fundamental and existential aspect. To revert to the prisoners’ dilemma, most of them, on account of society’s remission, can be said to be the invisible victims of the conflict. They are on nobody’s radar. It is not only the prisoners that suffer but also their kith and kin – emotionally, economically and psychologically.  Examples galore can be cited to corroborate and validate the sufferings of Kashmir’s prisoners but this would render them a statistic. What is needed is a sober appreciation of the plight of prisoners and then devising mechanisms to , in the least, ease their suffering. This cannot and should not be left to the state. This is a societal responsibility. The legal system in this part of the world is a Kafkaesque maze and labyrinth and even negotiating this maze can be a nightmare. One area of intervention can be helping in legal aid to these victims of the conflict. Another could be assisting their families financially. Both call for and warrant and institutionalized approach to dealing with and helping Kashmiri prisoners. This institutionalization can only happen when society collectively introspects and gets sensitized to the issue of prisoners’ plight and owns it.  Kashmir and the conflict in and over it has and will continue to exact victims. Till the issue is resolved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, this will be thematic in Kashmir. Society and shades of the political spectrum owe our invisible victims an obligation to help them and ease their sufferings.  Remission or omission here will constitute a dereliction of duty.

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