Unabashed Use!

Unabashed Use!
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Kashmir, being a region caught in the vortex of deep and overarching conflict, has spawned categories of instrumental laws that have been employed and used with abandon here. One such provision is the Public Safety Act(PSA). This instrument allows the administration to detain persons under the guise of” posing a threat to security , human life and order”. Many people in Kashmir have been and continue to be detained under the PSA, even if the charges against them neither stand scrutiny nor hold water. PSA then is a supremely political Act meant and employed for supremely political reasons. If a digression might be taken recourse to here, it may be pointed out that the present administration before and when it assumed power, touted unabashedly, the so called “ battle of Ideas”. The subtext of the “battle of Ideas” appeared to be that there would be democratization of political and ideational space here in the public domain. Moreover, the present administration never ceases to underscore its democratic nature and credentials. But, this is actually belied by reality, which is that many people become victims for articulating their political views. The prosaic fact is that ideational space, might be attempted to be squeezed but it can never really be snuffed out. Dissent, of whatever nature, is inherent in political societies and communities. Generally speaking, this observation is borne out by both history and contemporary times. And, dissent is also healthy for it allows suppressed emotion to come to the surface and can , at times, be in the nature of a corrective. But , the administration appears to view it from a different prism and angle. It sees the employment of draconian instrument of the PSA as the response to dissent and diverse ideas. Furthermore, the essence of an organic polity is diversity of opinion and ideas; not merely a homogenous ideational and ideological space. By employing the PSA an instrument, powers that be undercut it. In the final analysis, an instrumental approach to conflict in and over Kashmir will not work. It is part of a conflict management strategy and not a conflict resolution one. It is not only the people of Kashmir but even the whole of South Asia that actually needs peace, not merely for prosaic ends like prosperity but also to re-inject and reinsert the region into the sinews of history and the historical process. A good and prudent place to begin would be Kashmir. This is the broad assertion and end. Among the step that should be taken is abrogation of the PSA instrument.

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