Truth and Justice Commission

Having been rejected by people in the recent assembly elections, the former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, has begun to shed crocodile tears over the plight of Kashmiris and come out afresh to demand a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (T&RC), something he had promised in 2011 after the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) issued its historic decision on unmarked graves.

The Commission had been told in clear terms not to pursue the graves issue further as, according to the government, this would be done by the yet-to-be formed Truth Panel. But instead of establishing a T&RC, the government rendered the SHRC defunct, and the body is today not only headless but member-less as well

A four-member empowered committee headed by the then Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, was supposed to meet in August last year to appoint its chief, but the meeting – the committee was comprised of the then speaker of the legislative assembly Mubarak Gul, the then chairman of the legislative council, Amrit Malhotra, and the leader of the opposition in the assembly, a position fallen vacant after Mahbooba Mufti’s election to the Lok Sabha – had been postponed “till further” orders, with senior officers of the Law Department and the GAD citing the Chief Minister’s packed schedule as one of the reasons.

A senior functionary of the General
Administration Department had assured that the appointment of the SHRC chairman and members would be made before the beginning of the autumn session starting August 25, 2014.

In his capacity as the state’s home minister, Omar Abdullah had dealt a severe blow to the SHRC by restraining it from digging deeper into the unmarked graves issue, and the T&RC he had said would investigate the case further is nowhere in sight even after so many years. His demand now, when he is out of power, therefore, makes little sense, except as a bid to take people for a ride.  But this, as the former Chief Minister ought to know, is wishful thinking. He cannot go about making empty noises about some notion that may never materialize when he has already snuffed out an existing institution beginning to fulfill its mandate.

How can the former CM expect a rape victim to reconcile? People have been demanding a Truth and Justice Commission, and will not relinquish their demand for justice under any circumstances.