Putting Your Foot Into Your Mouth!

Published on Countercurrents.org, by Firdous Syed, 10 August, 2007.

The growing incidents of heinous crimes against women in Kashmir irrespective of intent and origin are not only a worrisome factor but a matter of grave concern for the whole society. The recent barbarous murder of a fourteen year old girl of Batapora, Langate in Kupwara district has shocked one and all. Tabinda Gani’s rape and subsequent murder evoked sharp reactions and widespread condemnation from all quarters of the society. Though perceptibly a swift action by the police in apprehending the culprits helped to cool down the tempers of the agitating masses of the vicinity, but people will like to see a swift disposal of the case. The culprits need to be punished adequately and justice delivered speedily to act as an effective deterrence against the criminal elements in the future. While people were busy pressing for a speedy trail to punish the guilty, this dreadful incident was politicized thus generating another controversy.

The presence of two nonlocals among the four accused arrested raked up a different kind of issue. The migrant labourers were blamed for the rising crime graph of the valley. Some even went to the extent of viewing it as a concerted effort and design by Indian agencies to push the criminal elements into the valley to morally corrupt and criminalise the young generation here. Addressing a public meeting at Langate in Kupwara district on Tuesday the 24th of July, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said “majority of non-state subjects were professional criminals and they should be driven out of Kashmir in a civilised and dignified manner”. As if taking a cue, militant organisations also joined the fray, and taking a step further, issued dead-lines and ultimatums to the migrant labourers to leave Kashmir. Some of these groups even advised the local population that, “Who have rented out accommodation to non-State Subjects, to see them off in a decent way and thus help in the eviction of outsiders from the Kashmir valley” …

… During the first years of Bush Presidency, an American top level intellectual while on a visit to India was asked during a TV interview by an Indian Journalist, to explain a difference between President Clinton and President Bush’s policy on Kashmir. His reply was “in President Clinton’s time Kashmir was seen as a problem related to rights, and now it is viewed as a problem associated with terrorism.” The changed geo politics and events after 9/11 might have contributed in building present policy of Bush Administration towards Kashmir, but there can not be denial to the fact that the irresponsible behaviour of a section of the separatist leadership has also contributed in building of such an international opinion towards the Kashmir problem. The separatist leadership should ponder over and decide that, by such actions whose cause they are serving. One can tell from a distance that at least not of a genuine rights movement …

The writer is based at Srinagar, Kashmir, writes regularly for national and local newspapers, can be contacted by E-mail.

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