By Adil Rashid Bhatt
Once again, perpetual gloom reverberating with a melancholic rustle draped the skies of Kashmir on Saturday night, the 16th December, 2017. News broke out that a youth of Kralpora, Kupwara had fallen to the bullets of the Army. I expected the same old “stray bullet theory” from the forces but feeling abashed or approximating the mood of locals this time, perchance, as a lady had been killed in the same district a couple of days ago, and her killing justified by the “stray bullet theory”, the Jammu and Kashmir police, this time toed a different line. They explicitly declared that the killing of youth was a case of mistaken identity and an investigation would be taken up.
However, the army’s statement contradicted the version of the local police. According to it, “there was some suspicious movement of militants at the spot of the murder and when challenged by the army, unknown gunmen fired towards us and, in retaliation, the army fired back and in this exchange of fire, the youth fell to bullets”. This seems like pure enigma and warrants a credible investigation by any immaculate agency or commission as this is not for the first time that contradictory statements have been issued by the concerned parties. Such cases are galore in Kashmir but, the saga continues.
After every blunder, their statements contain a few conciliatory words and an assurance of court marshals, But, these statements are so routine that they resonate with a certain meretriciousness.
All of us are well acquainted by now, how easily they exonerated the “Pathribal fake encounter guilty” in their so called “court marshal”- by dismissing statements of people and evidence as unsatisfactory. Kashmiris don’t believe in their so called “Court Marshals” any more.
The peaceful people of Kashmir are fed up of this torn what-aboutry. Just eight months ago, a driver got killed in the same area and there are contradictory statements in his case as well that also warrant impeccable investigation by any impeccable agency. Another example that strikes the mind is the case of Shahid Ahmed Mir-a college going student who, in the month of August this year, was gunned down in the forest and later passed off as a foreign militant. Had it not been for the hue and cry of his parents, Shahid would have been buried in an unmarked graveyard along with the truth.
According to locals, the young sumo driver was about to start his vehicle to ferry a patient to the hospital but the army without any provocation or justification murdered him as they know that black laws are always at their disposal to dispel the truth.
May we have the gumption to question the army and it’s allied agencies as to why on earth, in this part of the world only, stray bullets hit people and people get killed owing to myopic/hypermetropic vision of theirs and then are later passed off as cases of mistaken identity. The fact is that black laws have empowered these forces to such an extent that, they fire without paying a second thought to the ramifications; people are naive enough to believe them; their media brigade is quite adept in hiding the truth and deluding the world by selling a soft image of theirs and exaggerating return of normalcy to Kashmir by showing “Shikarawalas”, reclining with few tourists on their Shikaras in the Dal Lake. But, we as natives of Kashmir are mature enough to remember the indelible memories of miseries and punishments inflicted upon us through the barrel of guns of different hues. The nagging question is: can blood be wiped out by burying the countless truths beneath the ground? No, the climate can be rejuvenated by restoring the basic rights of people, scrapping the security forces of unbridled impunity and establishing justice.
—The author can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org