Between Bullets and Pellets

Between Bullets and Pellets

Soon after the Supreme Court of India’s observation that the use of pellet guns concerns life and death, and its appeal to the Government of India(GoI) to consider effective means other than the use of these to quell protests in Jammu and Kashmir, two people have been killed in the Kashmir division of the state. Two young men , at the peak of their lives, were shot dead in what has become a pattern in Kashmir: after cordoning after areas where militants are believed to be hiding and then basically attempts to kill them, people come out in droves  in support of the militants. In the ensuing melee, people are either injured or ,as  has been witnessed at Chadoora, killed. What is happening here? Is the Government of India and its allied security agencies and apparatii working at cross purposes with the Supreme Court? Or, is the reason more prosaic? That is, the value of life in Kashmir does not amount to much. Whilst the nature of the observation and the attendant appeal to the GoI  followed by killings in Kashmir and the dichotomy thereof cannot be second guessed but it appears that powers that be appear to view the these killings as “collateral damage”. But life is life: a supreme value in this world and snuffing it constitutes a supreme injustice. Moreover, in terms of Kashmir and the state’s attempts to snuff out both insurgency and squelch protests, both pellets and bullets are the same: they kill. Apparently, during the 2016 protests, it was pellet guns that exacted a toll both in terms of lives lost and people injured. Pared down to essence then, the issue is not pellet guns.  The real issue is the conflict in and over Kashmir which powers that be appear to be happy in merely containing.  What inheres in the containment approach is the numbers game: kill militants and hope that the condition(s) in Kashmir improve. But, as has been observed worldwide, in placed defined by insurgency, coercive approaches underpinned by “neutralization”- a euphemism for killing- do not end conflicts. These merely mutate and transform into, at times, something more deadly. Is the state then , in its zeal to kill militants , setting up Kashmir for a mutated conflict? This is not a rhetorical question; it has real world implications and connotations. Instead of a “containment” approach , which can provide statistical comfort to the state, what is required is resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir- the sooner the better.

One Response to "Between Bullets and Pellets"

  1. SKChadha   March 29, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    The editorial is nothing but to generate more passion and thereby more bloodshed in valley. The Media is required to educate public not to be in way of Armed Forces acting against militants. The fallacy of this editorial requires clearing doubts in following manner:
    a) The Supreme Court clearly ruled that it is for the administration to decide what force is to be used on ground including guns, pellet guns or any other mean to maintain law and order. None of the force person worked at ‘Cross Purposes’ with Supreme Court;
    b) The deaths are not caused by pellet guns, it is by direct action of armed forces to quell the sponsored protests by aiders and abettors of crime at gound zero;
    c) Those killed are ground supporters of terrorists and confronting forces and hence equally responsible to face action (read sec. 120B of Ranbir Penal Code).


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