The case of the minor girl from Handwara, protests against whose ‘alleged’ molestation led to the murder of five more Kashmiris, is becoming a study in blatant state perfidy. Probably nowhere else in the world can such a situation even conceivably exist: an act of molestation leads to protests, to deaths, there are, as usual, no perpetrators, a minor’s ‘statement’, in violation of every possible law, is made public, and then the minor is basically cut off from her family and kept in police custody. In the first instance, every single person with a modicum of knowledge about juvenile laws would stress that those responsible — and it beyond doubt representatives of the state who are — for putting out a video ‘statement’ of a minor girl need to be taken to task. Then again, when a minor’s life, among others, matters little in Kashmir, destroying a young girl’s life to save the Indian army from blame is but a natural consequence.
Let us assume for a moment that the version put out by the state, and sought to be ratified by recording and making public a ‘statement’ made by the girl while in police custody (where, predictably, anyone can be made to aver that the Copernican theory is a blatant lie, for example) is right: that she was not molested by the army man. What does that prove except the fact that militarisation is so intense in Kashmir that soldiers pervade our children’s lives? What else does the continued incarceration of the child prove other than she has, not to put too fine a point on it, been kidnapped by the government machinery? Why are the repeated pleas before the courts, made by the mother of the child, that she be set free, being ignored? Why is the police claiming that the child is under ‘protective custody’ when she, and her family, are not being allowed to move to Srinagar or appear before a court? Who is violating basic laws here?
Human rights groups following the case aver that all this is a ploy to prevent the truth from being made apparent, and is part of the attempt to elide the culpability of government personnel and agencies. How is the government going to respond to these charges? Then again, this becomes another illustration of the fact that Kashmiri lives are hostage to the whims and workings of a police state; a state where killings are passed off as the result of a baton charge, where bullets make their way into heads and hearts after being shot into the air. Orwell hadn’t a patch on this.