We are humans; we abhor violence. That’s in our nature and that’s how we have been programmed. Some unlucky people like us-Kashmiris, face so much violence all our lives that we get desensitized to it. It’s true that some odd 130 men amongst us have taken violent recourse by choosing to be armed rebels. However, what we forget is that Delhi has set this precedent as they used violence to try to achieve its objectives in Kashmir. The state killed about 100,000 people here, the majority of whom were civilians. Our rebels ask us if state forces can kill unarmed protesters, what right it has to condemn their gun. This is worrying because we do not have an answer to this. And if we can not convince them to come back, it will turn Kashmir into a graveyard for sure. If the state muzzles all forms of expression of dissent, with an aim to impose ‘normalcy’, this energy of anger is bound to sprout out in different manifestations. Yes, it will result in a surge in militancy and violent protests. This is simple physics, which people at the center, trying to be muscular, fail to understand. They do not realize that to show machismo, at the expense of their poor soldiers stationed here, is cowardice.
Coming onto the incident where a Kashmiri RR officer was killed, during his vacation in Shopian. There are apprehensions that this specific incident might have been an inside job, but even if it weren’t what’s the rationale of condemnations of some people.. Our role is not only to be moirologists (Rudaali). Is that the only role we have been left with? We need to hypothesize two scenarios. One, If it’s true that Kashmir supports militants because they think they are the ones who take the bullets for the collective dream of Kashmiris, then why condemn their action of going against their combatant adversary? From the militant point of view, this Kashmiri officer was a traitor who instead of opposing Rashtriya Rifles, famous for their role in Kunan poshpora mass rape incident, joined the same regiment. To them, he was a legitimate target, even more than the non-Kashmir ones, exactly the way they treated Kuka parray who was also an MLA & unarmed, except that he didn’t have a tainted personal profile but then wars don’t know individuals, it knows groups. The moment one joins any force which is at war with the other force, in guerrilla warfare context, he can be attacked. The internal administrative issues like ‘leave’ etc do not mean much. It is not a war in an isolated battlefield but whole Kashmir has been turned into a battlefield. The army doesn’t see if the militant is holding a gun or is deep asleep when they lay an ambush; the same is reciprocated. To the militants, the Indian army’s presence here is illegal exactly the way militants are an illegal entity for the Indian state. If any HM commander announces to come on an approved ‘leave’ from Hizbul Mujahideen headquarters in AJK tomorrow, to attend his cousin’s wedding, will the Indian army honor that ‘leave’ and let him have his way? Now, I’m not here to justify it. I have a larger point to make, which is why it was imperative to explain the militant perspective.
The second scenario; if some of us feel it was wrong on the part of militants to kill this officer, then we should decide to disown militants completely. Or maybe dissociate ourselves with the movement. We can’t encourage both camps to kill & get killed and then compete with each other in crying over their dead bodies. We can’t keep everybody happy. This is hypocrisy. I am not here to tell people which side to choose, but my point is to highlight our double-standards. Now, some are hurt because this army man was a Kashmiri as if we are fighting an ethnic war and not for the right to self-determination. Are Kashmiris a superior race that their death needs to be mourned more than the poor Bihari or somebody from UP who is also here to support his family? Being sad on any killing is human but condemnation and sadness can be mutually exclusive to each other. If we ask militants to stop killing own people because it will be khanajangi or a civil war, their supporters counter by asking if Badr was also khana jangi where Arabs fought Arabs; in fact, Quraish fought Quraish and same clan/tribe fought the same tribe, Uncles fought nephews and what not. They cite the same from Vedic literature in which the Kauravas and Pandavas who were cousins and still fought each other giving us a lesson that it’s the truth v/s falsehood and that the ethnicity or even familial ties don’t play a role in it. The authorities should concentrate on this reasoning and try to come up with a counter to it, rather than talking about tunnels, terrorism, and tourism. They have to come down from their high horses and dirty their hands on the ground to see how a solution can be arrived at and how peace can be achieved with dignity and honor. Ram Madhav’s ‘everything is fair in war’ will prove to be disastrous. The display of bravado is to be divorced for the sake of people- which is the trait of statesmen, not a sign of weakness- and guns must stop blazing from all sides. The negotiating table is the place to solve this. Egos need to be overcome and talks be held with those who you do not agree with. That’s precisely the whole point. There is no need to talk to those who already agree with you. That would be a plain hogwash.
(Mehboob Makhdoomi is a Harvardian & an MBA from Pennsylvania University (IUP) United States with a Research degree from Cardiff University, United Kingdom.)
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position of Oracle Opinions.