Editorial: Shopian bleeds yet again

Srinagar: Sunday evening proved no happy weekend for the residents of Pahnoo village in south Kashmir’s Shopian district. The village saw six young men falling to bullets of the army men who claimed that they were attacked and in retaliation a militant and some Over Ground Workers, who were his associates were killed.

Though it proved out to be that the OGW’s whom the army men had targeted were civilians and the number was not restricted to three but four young men had been killed and one youth was killed as far as some 400 meters from the actual site of the gunfight.

Shopian and its adjacent Pulwama district have been on the fore front of the anti government and pro freedom demonstrations since the past two years now. The twin districts famous for its horticultural produce erupted soon after Hizbul Commander Burhan Wani died in an encounter in July 2016. Since then, there has been no looking back for these twin districts as protestors virtually ruled the roost and the government machinery including the security apparatus was put to tatters.

The situation turned so ugly that the armed forces had to initiate an operation ‘all out’ to get their grab on the twin districts. Shopian and Pulwama witnesses hundreds of search operations since then as troops made it a point to cordon vast areas even during the dead of the night and carry out searches of the houses and frisking of the men folk.

Though the pressure tactics failed to yield any dividends as the situation remained grim in the area, a casual approach by the authorities to deal with the situation led to various aberrations that have proved disastrous to the very essence of maintaining the human rights of the people. 

The killings in Shopian are not new. This year this is the second such incident when young men fell to bullets for no fault. On January 27, 2018 three youth were killed by army men after they alleged stone pelting in the area. However, the bullet marks of the killed youth proved it beyond doubt that the intention of the army men was not to disperse the protestors but to target them.

Though an official enquiry has been announced but the report that was to be completed in three weeks time is yet to see completion. Besides, the government’s efforts to lodge an FIR into the incident also backfired as the process was stayed by the Supreme Court. Even today the state government told the Supreme Court in New Delhi that Major Aditya Kumar has not been named as accused in FIR in Shopian firing case in which three civilians were killed.

Shopian and Pulwama alongwith several other southern districts have been witnessing the worst of times as young men have been killed with impunity and the government’s role has been limited to mere condemnations. 

It’s high time that the government comes out of its denial mode and try not to act cynical and do a politically convenient reading of the situation. What kind of a political discourse would defend the killings of the unarmed teenagers by the security forces. What kind of a political mentality would encourage more such killings and if if continues to be like this then such disregard and contempt for the civilian killings only lends greater legitimacy to the cause that animates the lingering discontent in the state.


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