STATE ON FIRE Apne ghar ko aag lagi apne hi chirag se – Ayaz Mughal – The Northlines – 2 August 2010

The situation of state has been worsening since the day the new coalition took over the affairs of this ill-fated state. With the advent of Omar Abdullah as the new pilot to fly the plane of state-craft into the new horizons of progress, cropped up the fresh hopes and aspirations in the minds of our youth in terms of better avenues and better fields of development. The world of journalism compared him with Anil Kapoor, a famous bolly wood Star for the reasons best known to them. It was a general and proud perception that the command of the state had come into the hands of young generation and a revolution in the field of development was highly expected. All possible entrances and exits were expected to be closed on the lords of corruption in Toto and a responsible & accountable governance was felt to have been bestowed upon our state. Above all, the people of the state took this Youngman as an icon of free and fair governance and the harbinger of a suitable programme to resolve the long pending issue of Kashmir which has almost become a dead horse to flog. But frequent U-turns and flip-flops has sent across a signal to the masses about the desultory attempts of the government. The coalition Govt. headed by Omar Abdullah stands tarnished by the people he depended the most. Life does not seem to be as secure as a few years back. An administrative and law and order anarchy is prevailing all around in the Valley sending across a bad signal of insecurity. The men-in- power are unable to maintain the peace in the valley and men in uniform are reluctant to respect the Human Rights. Fake encounters, custodial deaths, mysterious disappearance and rape and murder cases by the men-in-uniform have become the order of the day in the valley. Whether it is double rape & murder case in Shopian yesteryear or Michel Fake encounter of three innocent boys a few weeks back or death of young boys in unprovoked firing by the watchmen of law and order at different places depicts a crystal clear picture of the failure of Omar’s government as a result of, perhaps, Omar’s inability to understand the language and sentiments of Kashmiri youth. Cops have been left unbridled without any curb and control to make suo moto reaction to the situation which can otherwise be controlled peacefully. Consequently they are making the worst use of the best powers vested in them by AFSPA. AFSPA indeed reminds us of the Rowlatt Act 1919, a similar law imposed by the British Govt. on Indians a century back which empowered the viceroy Govt. with extraordinary power to conceal their cruelty by silencing the press, confining political activists without trial and arresting any individual without any warrant. And now India is free from the foreigner imperialism but the same treatment is being meted out to the people of free India. it is likely to use the same policies against the People of Jammu & Kashmir. An army officer enjoys powers to open fire on innocents with no accountability at all. The Rowlatt Act was termed as a ‘Black Act’ and also the recently implemented AFSPA is rejected by HRW and the masses of Kashmir as ‘A tool of state abuse, oppression and discrimination. The Rowlatt Act banned the media and some thing of the sort has also happened to the freedom of Press during the recent tension in Kashmir. The curfew passes were withdrawn from the media persons and even from the ministers. This is the height of moral and ethical transgression. Where there is no security for the creamy layer of the society, how can the safety of life and honour of a common man be expected? The entire Kashmir was under such duress that the entire Print-media remained suspended for days together. In Jammu also the voice of three well-established Dailies were choked for the truth is always bitter enough to be swallowed. The media was attacked by the CRPF combo. Why Tufail Mattoo, carrying a school bag was shot dead in spite of his non involvement in any protest? Why more than two dozen youngsters who were shot dead by the forces when they were protesting against the human right violations? Why the stones are being answered with the bullets without accepting the fact, known to every body. The spark which could be extinguished at the infantry stage was allowed to become a dreadful fire which has gutted down the entire valley and has consumed thousands of human lives till now and this process is still going on. The Force can never change the radical ideology. And the use of bullet and draconian laws like AFSPA and Disturbed Area Act will do nothing but fan the flames of resentment among Kashmiris against the current system. Omar’s image stand dented beyond repair & failed to cover up killing incidents by firing on funeral procession. Omar and his colleagues did not utter a single note of condemnation against the incidents and didn’t bother to visit the bereaved families. This unfolds the casual attitude of the govt. Instead of decreasing the differences with the masses and visiting the bereaved families Chief Minister Omar Abdullah enforced curfew and deployed army. It was quite contrary to what the people demanded i.e. the revocation of AFSPA and demilitarization. Moreover! Home Minister P Chidambaram holds the LeT and HM responsible operating from across the country for the current situation in the valley. It’s indeed a fact and nothing to say to contradict it, but basic question is that how a handful of people from across the state are controlling the entire system? How can they, through their mentors in this area, rule the minds of the common people and entire India on the other hand is left helpless in maintaining the trust of her people? What is the source of mass communication with the Forces across the border to pass on their ideologies to Kashmiris? Why do they succeed in their motives sitting across the LoC? It is not a revolution which has led this valley to this stage but an evolution of conflict which took birth more than half a centaury before. History is a torch-bearer for the people to remember the lessons and learn from their mistakes. The state is being administered directly by the center which indicates that the current state govt. has utterly failed to withstand the situation and bringing the Kashmiris round. It is tantamount to handing the state again over to the Center what Maharaja Hari Singh did 60 years back. The same mistake has been repeated by the Omar Abdullah. The mistake which is repeated in this way could lead the state to dangerous fallout. Kashmiris do not want violence at all. They are fed with gun culture in the valley. They are in search of sterling peace now and the peace cannot be brought under the shower of bullets. And PDP President Mehbooba Mufti rightly said, “J&K State is at war with its own people.” If incidents like this did not stop, who will save Kashmir?

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