By Aasif Wani
The seventieth independence days of India and Pakistan have recently passed but Kashmir continues to be stuck in the warp and woof of a warped history. In the twenty-first century, Kashmir is caught between these two nuclear powers. Both the countries enjoy immense power and on important days of both, these countries witness some celebrations across J&K. However, the fact is Kashmir still screams for a just solution. The fear, and injustice Kashmir goes through, is altogether ignored by the global community and Indian media depicts a distorted image of the situation and ignore issues of the main concern.
An analogy here might illustrate the larger point. A child having roasting fever gets wet cloth doses, but fever immensely intensifies, and yet we keep on giving him the same antidote. No matter, home remedies to some extent are fine, but can prove dangerous as well and no sane minds put their children in danger. Anyways what else could we do given the conditions?
Independence Day is widely celebrated across India, but it unleashes (un)freedom for the people Kashmir. Kashmir witnesses barricades, blockades, frisking, and annoyance of the mighty military, prior to the independence or the republic day of India. Unwittingly, if you do not dim the light of your vehicle, on reaching a checkpoint or an army camp or if you forget your I Card, or unintentionally you do not stop when a cop signals you, it all adds up to you being suspected or having tempted fate: a chance of being hurt, chance of being harassed and perhaps even worse.
In the deadly dark night, danger red lights beams through your eyes, liquor aroma spreads out when an angry troop talks to you. I recently witnessed the Naka horror, when we were stopped near PHE division Baramulla, on (Srinagar Baramulla highway), I had no Identity Card with me but I thought their call is affable. The trooper asked “Gaadhi main kya hai” (what you are carrying in the vehicle?). I smilingly answered “Gaadhi main maal hai” (There are goods in the vehicle). To be honest , I smiled because I had never faced such a situation before. Ours is a small village in the district Varmul which remains calm no matter what happens around, so we have not felt heat of the conflict- especially after nineties.
A Ladakhi cop smiled back and inquired “kya maal hai”. I replied and we got a go nod. As we geared up, another cop (probably annoyed by my friendly attitude or the way I answered) rushed to us, and asked to show him our identity proof. He started checking cards, that he could not read and I was not carrying along. The smile vanished and the shivering started, as he directed us to step out. I disguised myself with all innocence and applied polite melody to haul down his anger, and to prove my legitimacy (legitimacy of being a civilian). The way he talked was horrific, who knows what was he cooking inside; he was at his utmost rage, and we were fearful thinking what would be the next.
Another checkpoint in this conflict torn place taught me a different lesson. What I observed was that documentation does not matter. What you have to be careful about is their ego and hurting that, amounts to hefty sum that you have to disburse for none of your fault. Go friendly with them, you are caught, keep stiff mood you are still caught, you do not know how to react. Simply you are between devil and the deep sea, where you have no place to unless devil is sympathetic. Cops are left unbridled to rule the streets of Kashmir and they do it the way they want. The tall claims of higher officials prove husky on the ground; their men float every law and misuse what they are equipped with, they ignite anger among people and that leads to what everyone is acquainted with, concluding with saying that cops are the motivational forces behind every arm taker. Are not they?
—The author is a student activist and studies law at Kashmir University. He can be reached at:email@example.com