Bring them Home

Bring them Home
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The kith and kin of Kashmiri inmates who were assaulted brutally in Tihar jail have suggested that their relatives should be brought to Kashmir. This is an eminently rational and prudent suggestion. It amounts to stating the obvious that hundreds of Kashmiris languish in jails in many parts of India. It is , then, not only in Tihar that Kashmiri inmates linger in grey zones of incarceration and penal infrastructures. The suggestion of bringing them home is rational because of many reasons. The primary one is that their very ethnicity makes them vulnerable to hostility in prisons. This accrues largely from a climate of hostility created by the media against Kashmir and Kashmiris, among other things. The animus that has been created can potentially- as was demonstrated by the assault in Tihar jail- lead to violence against them when they are most vulnerable. Moreover, besides the potential of violence implied in Kashmiri prisoners being incarcerated in unfamiliar milieus, there is also the issue of being imprisoned in strange and culturally different milieus. This context adds another layer to the miseries of Kashmiri prisoners besides the deprivation of their liberty. It then is exigent that these prisoners incarcerated in various prisons be shifted back home to Kashmir. There is the potential issue of the legality or finding legal ways and means for their repatriation to Kashmir. The corpus of law governing these cases must allow for this. Lawyers pleading the cases of Kashmiri prisoners must trawl their law books and even find precedents that allow for the repatriation or return of Kashmiri prisoners to Kashmir. Generally speaking, prisons are places where hostility becomes a part of the penal infrastructure. This is lent poignancy, in case of Kashmiri prisoners, by their incarceration in places other than Kashmir. Given this condition, the rights that prisoners have are susceptible to either abuse or being curtailed- both in subtle or overt ways. The remedy to this, at the risk of repetition, is to bring Kashmiri prisoners to Kashmir. Here, they will be at ease psychologically and emotionally. Furthermore, their families and relatives, who also have to bear trauma and emotional vicissitudes, can visit them , without incurring massive logistical and financial burdens. The suggestion of the relatives of prisoners from Kashmir to bring them home then makes eminent sense. It is about time that these are taken on board and repatriated to Kashmir.

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