A scan through numerous reports about rights abuses committed by government forces on the people of Kashmir through decades reveals a history of crime against. The crimes range from making people human shields, inflicting collective punishment and enforced disappearances to premeditated murder and deliberate destruction of civilian property and natural resources. Average Indians may have remained oblivious or ignorant to this history of crimes committed in their name and in the name of ‘democracy’, but the world capitals have known all along; global leaders and those who had a voice chose to ignore the utterly unacceptable conditions an entire people have been and continues to be subjected to, an extreme of militarisation being just one motherload of them.
Now, with young Kashmiri citizens, armed with the understanding of what they have been made to silently endure and modern communication technology (although access to it is suspended at crucial times) it is hard to ignore what continues to be perpetrated inside Kashmir. The world may still choose to remain silent, however continued silence will now be considered equal to complicity.
Just when internet services were resumed following the latest elections a video surfaced over the social media on Friday showing a civilian man tied to the front of an army jeep leading a convoy through a poll-bound area of Budgam. The authenticity and contents of the said video may be investigated and the truth may or may not be acknowledged, but for an average Kashmiri this is just a tiny proof of how the State and its forces see and punish a people for not agreeing to give up basic political rights. Just last month a shocking photo of an 11-year-old boy encircled by paramilitary troops wielding guns and batons and making him do sit ups on the street as humiliating punishment. Officials had announced then as well that the matter would be investigated, but no one knows if the troops were punished or identified in the first place; although their faces are clearly visible in the photo and the place and date of the photograph is well known.
Such things have happened in Kashmir throughout the 1990s and 2000s but one incident has always been used to paper over the earlier ones and thus a ‘humiliating’ existence of average Kashmiri citizens normalised. As long as politicians, who have refused to see or acknowledge what they help perpetrate on the common masses, continue to play the politics of misrepresenting ‘their’ people such crimes cannot be stopped. Mere outrage by anyone or all of them is treading a step more on the beaten path.