By Ikram Ullah
There is more red color in Kashmir newspapers these days. Obituaries have replaced the classified Ads. Summer in Kashmir, a season of marriages and festivity, has turned into a season of mourning and gloom. With each passing day, there is news of more blood splattered in the streets of Kashmir, more deaths, more injuries. A growing restlessness and a sense of helplessness have taken over the psyche of people. Is the International community ever going to wake-up and condemn our killings? Or are we not human enough that we get killed and maimed by the weapons designated to shoot birds and animals? Where is the ensemble of Nations, champions of Human Rights, advocates of civility, propagators of dignity? Or are their values selective within their confines. Is it that our sufferings do not strike a chord with-in the conscience of our so-called brothers in religion – Arabs?
Would it take genocide of my people to make a notice of our existence? The political resolution of our dispute is not a pre-requisite for condemning our killings. It sure is not an obstruction for speaking against the siege that is called “curfew” in my land or against the troops attacking ambulances and firing tear-gas shells inside the hospitals. Your moral compass should be question to conundrum if it does not suffice beyond the economic and political fault lines to condemn darkening the future of our 5 year olds, 10 year olds. How can anyone’s political ideology prevent him or her from openly denouncing, and in fact, mourning the cold blooded murder of a 21-year-old ATM guard, who had been killed by pumping into his body a full cartridge, containing 450 pellets, into his abdomen. Or have the contours of nationalism and national interests transcended the values of human life to the extent that sadism is becoming an acceptable part of peoples’ lives?
Or does our identity crisis, which has been in limbo for over six decades now, make us less human; that the right to dignified life and freedom of expression should not be extended to us? The warriors of basic human rights, including those championing free speech, have let us down by choosing to not question enough and sternly, the gagging of our social and news media, besides, our means of communication, which remain suspended. Or is it to play safe to not side with the minions in a battle between minions and the powerful? We thump our chests while we ask “kuni chu na kanh (Is there no one out there?), that our lives also matter.
We feel helpless that apart from a few vague statements of being ”concerned” about our situation, the International community and the rights groups have not put any pressure on India to stop using violent force on un-armed protestors demanding right to self-determination. The lack of any accountability is resulting in serious consequences. It encourages or at least does not discourage the Indian government from using the brutal force to quell the protests, to the extent that in a single day on Friday, 5th of August, 3 people were killed and 674 were wounded with bullet and pellet injuries. Over the last one month, which has seen a brutal clampdown on the protestors, after the killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, 67 unarmed protestors have been killed with over 6,000 injured, including kids as young as five years old. Of the injured, nearly 150 have partially or completely lost the vision.
After nearly over a month, when I spoke with my family few days back, my parents said “suoon kus boz’e” (who will listen to us). There reflected an emotional and psychological trauma the people have been going through by seeing our young kids dead and thousands maimed for life. A reminder for the victims as well as those who remain unhurt, thus far, that our defiance will be crushed so bad, that we end up in the qualms of hopelessness, without anyone in the world blinking an eye.