Published On: Thu, Mar 20th, 2014

Police Version

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

A police spokesman in the evening on Saturday, 15 March, 2014 said in his statement issued to the press “Situation remained peaceful throughout the Kashmir valley. However, a couple of stone pelting incidents were reported from Hajan and Cement Bridge, Baramulla.”

Farhat Dar was laid to rest, people in parts of Bandipora district could not protest against the killing and were placed under curfew; Hurriyat (G) and Hurriyat (M), Shabir Ahmad Shah headed alliance, JKLF leadership and many others were placed under house arrest. Shahgund -the native village of deceased youth Farhat Dar– was sealed by authorities and nobody was allowed to enter the village. Complete shutdown was also observed in north Kashmir’s Sopore and Baramulla towns. Life was paralyzed in both the towns as business establishments remained closed while traffic was off the roads. If this could be rated as “peaceful”, then one would have to endeavour hard and dread a situation, which the police would conclude as “turbulent”.

National Conference (NC) minister for higher education Mohammad Akbar Lone has threatened to resign if the police personnel involved in the killing are not apprehended and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti has accused the Government of misusing the administration.

Jammu and Kashmir has moved from 24 September, 1931 when Maharajah promulgated a notification to muzzle the popular dissent by declaring any such dissenting people as “Turbulent People” liable to be arrested by a competent authority without any warrant on a reasonable suspicion of promoting disaffection against the authority of the Government. Thousands of people were incarcerated under this proclamation before it was withdrawn after a few weeks.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir have been outsourced to India and Pakistan by the United Nations. India and Pakistan have to carry out the work to resolve the Kashmir question on the basis of the Indian petition made to the UN Security Council. In the year 2014, the Right of Self Determination does not necessarily mean to break away from India for the sake of joining Pakistan in the manner people would have meant in 1947/48, nor does article 257 in the Constitution of Pakistan envisage any such accession, or remain Independent of all the neighbouring countries.

Ruling political parties in Kashmir have been using a narrative which makes it very clear that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is an exceptional case and the interests of United Nations, India, Pakistan are involved in the territorial and political interests of the people of Kashmir. Government of India has on its own accepted to defend the territory, protect life, property and honour of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. More so United Nations has outsourced additional responsibilities to the Government of India to create better conditions for the resolution of the dispute and in fact India retains the credit of petitioning the UN on behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian responsibility in respect of the defence of the territories of Jammu and Kashmir forms the first principal feature of the bilateral agreement that it has with the Government of Kashmir. Protection of life follows as the second most important responsibility of the Government of India. The manner in which life has continued to be decimated since 1990 under a pretext of fighting “Pakistan sponsored militancy” seems to have entered a different phase of intolerance where the law enforcement agencies do not waste time in rewarding a living being with a bullet for any expression of dissent on the road. The habitat and the roads of Jammu and Kashmir have to be administered through good governance and a trusting partnership with the people.

Unfortunately it seems that the political wisdom in Delhi and the elected representatives in Srinagar find it easy to outsource the work of handling all irritants to the police. There is no doubt that we have good and conscientious men and women in the police and other law enforcement agencies. However, there is evidence that the unrest and militancy in Kashmir has been turned around by many into an enterprise to gain promotions and to make money.

The manner in which police and other security agencies continue to make a kill and administer a ‘peaceful Kashmir’ through curfews, restrictions and placing the other leadership under house arrest is extraneous to the elementary norms of a civilised society. Kashmir is an exceptional situation and the law enforcement agencies need to have a full and an extra regard of the issues involved. The leading democracy of the world has given the people of Jammu and Kashmir a written assurance that it would protect their life, property and honour.

Delhi should revisit its mechanism in the Valley and start addressing the core issue of good governance. Outsourcing the principal responsibilities to police and security agencies and managing a process of life does not remain in the nature of the pledges and responsibilities of a democracy. It may not be an exaggeration of any sort and surely not a biased view to point out that police in Kashmir is emerging as a serious concern.

Kashmiri police seems to be living in the land of Lilliputians where they treat the common man and woman with far less regard and respect. It hurts us to see that all our efforts to advocate the use of the jurisprudence of UN mechanism and the instrument of a dialogue in the resolution of the dispute and our efforts to support the common man and woman in the election of his representatives (without prejudice to his right to equality and self-determination) are being frustrated by the use of live bullets to manage peace on the streets and keep people at home.

I fully recall my conversation with Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (he was leading the Indian delegation) after my address to the Plenary of the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June 1993 on behalf of Unrepresented Peoples and Nations and my Press Briefing organised by Michael Kress, President of United Nations Correspondents Association in Vienna on Friday 18 June 1993, that he took a keen interest in my three page written statement circulated at the press briefing during our meeting. On the loss of life and role of security forces, he assured us that if his party came into power, he would ensure that these security forces remain to protect ‘life’, ‘property’ and ‘honour’ in Kashmir.

We have worked hard to convince friends in Islamabad that respect for life is important for any referendum and loss of life is death of self-determination. Kashmiri Diaspora has supported an unbiased, broad and inclusive narrative on Kashmir. Politicians from the main stream in particular Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were facilitated to share political platforms with the top leadership from Pakistan, PaK and GB (Gilgit, Baltistan) in London. All this involved the displeasure of those who had authored militancy in Kashmir and had turned Kashmir into a commercial enterprise and had taken upon a new job as sales persons to sell the four point Musharraf formula and distance away from the UN mechanism.

It would be unfortunate if Delhi and the State Government feel to have come out of the wilderness of early 1990s and disregard the constituency of an enduring concern on Kashmir. It should not pin its trust in the experiment of containment through the use of police force. Police has no role to seek compliance for the Government and quell a genuine popular dissent through the use of live ammunitions or life threatening means. If Government fails to keep the consent of the electorate it does not have any legitimacy. In that case any loss of life entails a criminal liability. Governments can’t tress pass into the ‘will’ of the people. Police versions have no role and no credibility in a situation like Kashmir

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