Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed promised to play nurse soon after assuming office, and started with implementing the Supreme Court ruling on Masarat Alam, whom he released. But this did not go down well with hawks in Delhi and the state’s ruling coalition partner, and the process of releasing political prisoners was put on hold. But justice cannot be made hostage to the whims of hawks. The state has to move forward, and the criminal justice system has to function properly.
Successive state governments have been ordering probes into excesses to quell public anger. Very rarely have their findings been made public, and justice has always become a casualty. When the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), referred to as a toothless tiger for long, finally showed its teeth around three years ago, the state government cut it down to size, and barred it from investigating the unmarked graves issue further. The then Chief Minister had said that the issue would be investigated by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But, not to speak of anything like the latter, Omar Abdullah rendered even the SHRC defunct by delaying the appointment of its new chairman and members.
The new dispensation appears to be serious in reviving the SHRC, which is a good sign. But something more needs to be done to address the grievances of the people. The people of Kashmir are averse to the very idea of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. How can the government expect a rape survivor to reconcile? There have been demands from the people for a Truth and Justice Commission. The world knows the truth of Kashmir. All attempts to strangle it by various agencies have failed. Governments here may have restrained the SHRC from digging deeper into the unmarked/mass graves, but the European Union has passed a resolution on the issue, much to the embarrassment of the Government of India.
During his previous tenure, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had promised to probe all enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir. If it could not be done then, it must be done now. The families of disappearance victims deserve this, at least.