The people of Jammu have always accused Kashmiris of taking the lion’s share of everything, from allocation of funds to political attention. Last year, Sheru was surprised to learn about yet another concern the Jammuites have. A newspaper had published a story on a custodial death that took place in a Jammu police station. Condemning the police, the newspaper had said that Kashmiris die martyrs while Jammuites die like insects.
The newspaper had further written that in Jammu, the bereaved family gets peanuts as compensation and temporary employment but in Kashmir the next-of-kin get a handsome amount and a permanent job. The newspaper even went to the extent of cursing Maharaja Hari Singh for joining the Indian union in 1947.
Khuda Ki Panah! This was too much. As far as Sheru knows, the deceased’s family got Rs 1 lakh as ex-gratia relief, and two of its members, including the victim’s widow, were given employment. What else could the government do? Agreed, the government was headed by a Kashmiri, but he has always given concessions to the people of the Jammu region. Recently he gave eight per cent reservation to those belonging to the scheduled castes category in Jammu where such classes are treated like insects. They cannot go to a temple. They cannot get water from the village well. But the generous Chief Minister shared the Kashmir quota with them. Big-hearted Kashmiris did not even register protest.
Kashmiris have been telling the people of India and the people of Jammu that the armed forces resort to extra-judicial means. Some people in India did take note, but the Jammuites have never uttered a single word. Now, people are getting killed in Jammu lock-ups as well. And suddenly, the `poor’ Maharaja has become a culprit for going with India in 1947. Isn’t it high time for the Rahbar-e-Inqilaab, and all other inqilaabs and toofans, to approach the Jammuites and try to hook them! This is exactly what the people of Kashmir have been saying for the past six decades. What the Kashmiris perceived six decades ago has dawned on the Jammuites now. Yes, the Jammuites will accuse Sheru of discrimination. But, do they know that Sheru does not care?
Sheru expresses sympathy with the people of Jammu because he condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Custodial death is something which Sheru cannot tolerate. It is inhuman. And mind you, death, especially when it is extra-judicial, cannot be compensated by any means. Not by ex-gratia relief, and definitely not by appointing members of the bereaved family as special police officers (SPOs).
Sorry for the bitter salad. But Sheru has to react when somebody points fingers at Kashmir.
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