I was recently talking to a mother, who is still waiting for his son’s return. Although she was not wailing, but her moist eyes were saying it all. The pain and agony was visible on his face. She has seen her son disappear before her eyes. She has tried everything, from going to army camps to police posts and politicians, and other agencies to trace her son, but all in vain. The mother is still waiting. An endless wait, I could see in her moist eyes. The hope is still there in her eyes. But this battle of loss, hope, wait, belief and doubt has left a mark on her. She has almost lost her hearing power and is unable to hear things properly. She has lost a good sleep of her life, which has ruined her health. She has become old before the age. She celebrates Eid, but not with smile, because her endless wait has ruined her smile. She has gone through that period, through which no mother on earth wants to go i.e. her son disappearing before her eyes. And there are thousands of mothers like her in this hapless land who lost their dear ones to this brutal conflict. In every corner of the valley, these mothers are staring at us with their moist eyes and hope.
The mothers whose sons disappeared in thin air and are still waiting for their return. These mothers who hold protest every month in the Lal Chowk for justice. They simply want to know where their sons are buried. While some have lost hope but some still have hope that their sons are alive. These mothers simply want to know whether their sons are lodged in any jail or are buried somewhere. As there had been rumours during 90s that somebody’s son returned from that outside jail(Rajasthan, UP etc). So such a kind of news or may be kind of a rumour would bring hope to these mothers, whose sons had been taken by forces or any agency or caught during border crossing.
The mothers of my land have felt the brunt of this endless conflict. Their health has been ruined. They need care and they need justice. But justice still eludes them. The deadly war has left them shattered. We have failed our mothers who lost their sons to this brutal conflict. These mothers did not commit any mistake or sin. It is just that this dirty politics has played an ugly part in their life and ruined it. It is just that these are living in the paradise where instead of singing birds, bullets, granades, pellets are flying in air.
The big question that haunts everybody and should haunt us is about those mothers who lost their dear ones for nothing. Is it just that these hapless boys were born in this deadly piece of land, that they disappeared? In an armed conflict the civilians have been made scape-goats. They have suffered but it does not give license to any agency to torture them or harass them. The problem should have been addressed, but left unadressed.
The killers and those who played an active part in these disappearances must also be brought to justice. Also instead of mere talking of repealing of AFSPA and making this mere election rhetoric, something fruitful needs to be done on the ground with this law which is the major impediment in the road to justice and to avoid other mothers to lose their sons to this brutal conflict.
The mothers of those killed in other fake encounters and of disappeared deserve justice and it is their right. They have been demanding justice for long. They are protesting on roads and at every forum. They are crying and wailing on every forum and at every place where they hope that their tears might bring some humanity alive in the beasts. The parents of disappeared are still roaming from pillar to post to know whereabouts of their sons. Some mothers have died without seeing the corpse of their beloved sons or without having a last glimpse of their dead sons. Some mothers died without seeing for the last time the face of their jailed sons. Some have lost hope. Some are hoping against the hope, as there is enough possibility that their sons are no more and buried in un-marked graves. Justice has to be served to these mothers, which can give them some relief. And it will also bring some discipline and accountability in security forces and will set a good precedent for future. Truth must prevail. But there is least possibility of justice now as the killers are getting awarded and poor Kashmiris taken as “mistaken identity” get killed.
Author is alumni of Jawaharlal Nehru University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.