Srinagar: The savage violence unleashed on Kashmiris during the past fortnight, a statistical nightmare, most of 50 deaths and 2200 injuries occurred during the first 72 hours, is matched in obscenity only by the statements of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and her masters in New Delhi.
A chief minister, party to the murder and blinding of children, some as young as five years old, invites a few victim families to a fortified office and the massive PR department releases a few pictures of the Operation Condolence to the press.
The sanitised press release will never let us know how the meetings were arranged, how the poor, hapless families were persuaded to meet those responsible for the killing of their kin. But the elaborate mechanism of preying on the miseries of these people is by now very well known, thanks to two similar bloodbaths in 2008 and 2010.
The only window to Mehbooba’s meeting with the families of firing victims in Kupwara is the information department’s press release.
It says: I am pained to see that all these victim families belong to the poorest of the poor sections of the society
This cliché now makes people puke. These “poorest of the poor people” came out to mourn the death of a militant who was not from “the poorest of the poor” strata but came from a middle class family and could have had a comfortable life. At least you acknowledge they are “victim families” but whose victims? If they are the victims of state violence, what does it mean that you are “pained” because are you not head of the apparatus that killed these “poorest of the poor” victims?
Violence has only brought destruction to our state and left behind a trail of tragedies in the shape of hundreds of orphans, destitute and widows who are living a miserable life because of the lack of any institutionalized support. The elements who are glorifying these killings and playing politics over the graves of these poor youth, never bother to look back at the plight of the victim families once the things settle down.
One could have taken these words seriously if only they had some sort of moral permanence to them. If Mehbooba were not in power, she could very well be saying something totally different. Therefore these words are as reliable as Arnab Goswami’s analyses. And what shamelessness to mention the plight of orphans, destitute and widows only to wriggle out of the mayhem of your own creation. Have you ever visited the orphanages where orphans are being taken care of? Have you and your masters allowed any institution to flourish that doesn’t conform to the politics you practice? What do you mean by glorifying these killings? The troops you command beat to death a boy who had just finished school. His grandfather says he was not throwing stones. How do you want people to react to his murder? Or the murder of a girl in Damhal Hanjipora who had ventured out of her home only to bring home 12-year-old brother who she thought had probably joined the protest and might be harmed? What specimen of an imbecile advices you to broadcast these words to a battered population? If tomorrow the resistance leadership decides to crowd fund the rehabilitation of these families and the treatment of those who have been crippled for life by the forces you command, would you allow them?
Mehbooba said it has always been seen that many internal and external forces gang up to destabilize Kashmir once there is some semblance of normalcy in the Valley. Whenever the economic activity starts picking up in Kashmir with the encouraging increase in tourist arrivals as had happened this year, several quarters with vested interest in Kashmir turmoil seem to have ganged up to orchestrate another spate of deadly violence and push the people towards further economic deprivation. She said and added that violence hits every aspect of the local economy with tourism and education being the main targets.
If your advisors had been a little imaginative, they could have at least altered this overdone explanation of an uprising. You are following in the footsteps of Omar Abdullah, who is now apparently “regretting” what he did. Here is the challenge. Name two of the “many internal forces” that “have ganged up to destabilize Kashmir”. I guess by external forces you mean Pakistan. Like your masters in New Delhi, you can flog that horse for eternity. But why don’t you name the “internal forces” that, you imply, are indirectly responsible for the bloodbath.
There are reports that another round of educational migration has already started from the Valley with many affluent families preferring educational institutions outside Kashmir for their wards. People have to ponder over what’s going on and who is getting hurt the most because of such situations. If there is peace, there will be development, tourism, employment and people will lead a happy and prosperous life. And if God forbid, there is no peace, it is only our people who would be the worst sufferers.
This is hilarious. This should be the masterpiece of political rhetoric. Why shouldn’t “many affluent families” prefer educational institutions outside Kashmir for their wards when the boys from the “poorest of the poor” families are being led, like automatons, by “internal and external forces” into the “vicious cycles of violence” to “disturb peace and hurt local economy”? Why is the educational migration of a miniscule affluent population a parameter for gauging a political situation? What has “another round of educational migration” to do with a spontaneous uprising over the killing of a militant? When the first wave of educational migration happened in the early 90s, people who could afford and who desired to sent their children for studies outside Kashmir did so in huge numbers. Those who went outside enriched their own lives and contributed towards the state in myriad ways. Why should somebody’s decision to leave the state for studies be juxtaposed with yet another uprising for political rights? Affluent families have a tradition of sending their children to outside institutions in all seasons. What is surprising about it?
It is immaterial whether Mehbooba’s desperate attempt to resurrect her former image of an empathetic woman politician succeeds or not. In 2010, barring Tufail Mattoo’s father, families of all firing victims received ex gratia money. The blood money provided to them, in fact, remains the strongest testimony of state terror. There is nothing surprising in the state providing money to the victim families. This is how pro-India political parties work. What would Mehbooba Mufti (or Omar Abdullah before her) sell to these “poorest of the poor” families except money? However, a politician who deligitimises an uprising for long pending political rights by calling it violence sponsored by “internal and external forces” and in the same breath calls for an “inclusive engagement” is already a spent force good only for what her alliance partner Arun Jaitley said—“containing separatism”.