But no trial when he kills Kashmiris ?
Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat | File photo
Constable Sanjeev Kumar of 15thBattalion Border Security Force (BSF) deployed in Nadia district of West Bengal was punished by his officers for “disrespecting” Prime Minister Narendra Modi by not mentioning Shri before his name. 7 days salary of this solider was cut as a form of punishment when Constable Sanjeev Kumar referred to an event that he attended as “Modi programme” while briefing his seniors during aZero Parade. The order to cut the salary was later on revoked as Prime Minister “Shri Narendra Modi” personally intervened and directed the BSF to withdraw the order.
In a similar incident around 2 years back, BSF dismissed a soldier Tej Bahadur of 29thBattalion who had uploaded his video on Facebook wherein he complained about the poor food being served to soldiers at a camp along near LoC in North Kashmir. I as a Kashmiri would have been great admirer of BSF or any other security agency including Indian Army had they been honest in punishing and prosecuting its soldiers involved in several massacres and fake encounters during last 28 years in Kashmir. But when it comes to punishing them the strategy Government of India adopts is highly unappreciable and imperceptible. For an ordinary Kashmiri the situation has not at all changed. The security forces during Congress lead UPA Government were enjoying impunity against human rights abuses and continue to do so in the present BJP lead Government as well.
Recent Shopian killings
The killing of 4 civilians by Army in Shopian on March 5th is a fresh case of human rights abuse in Kashmir. As a responsible civil society group Jammu & Kashmir RTI Movement has filed a petition before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) over these killings, but in view of the past experiences we have very less expectations from NHRC. We have infact demanded a probe to be conducted by a serving judge of Supreme Court , will this happen ? Even if the matter is probed will the culprits be really punished ? Incidents like Shopian has further aggravated the problem. How can Govt of India claim to be restoring peace in Kashmir ? Such incidents will not suppress the people, infact these incidents will further aggravate the problem as more and more youth who have remained by and large peaceful till date will definitely turn violent in future. Thus the cycle of death and destruction will continue. Fake encounters, civilian killings will not bring peace in Kashmir , but this creates a huge vacuum between Indian establishment and Kashmiri people. There have been several magisterial / judicial inquiries in past over the civilian killings, but not in even 1 % of the cases Government has prosecuted security force personnel. How can they be prosecuted ? they have a legislative impunity under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
Civilian Massacres in Kashmir :
From 1990 onwards there have been hundreds of civilian killings in Kashmir which have been authenticated by several international human rights groups like Amnesty International and Asia Watch . On the other hand security forces and Government of India calls this a mere propaganda. Around 50 civilians were killed and hundred others injured, when Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel fired at civilians in the Gawkadal area of Srinagar city on January 20th 1990. The civilians were peacefully protesting against the security forces who had molested women in Chotta Bazar area of Srinagar a day earlier during a search operation. Instead of addressing the issue and initiating a probe into molestation charges , the so called security forces murdered 50 civilians. On May 21st 1990, 56 civilians were killed near Hawal area of Srinagar when Indian Security agencies fired on a funeral procession of Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq who was killed by gunmen at his house in Nigeen. On January 6th , 1993 around 55 civilians were killed by Border Security Force (BSF) when they came under attack from militants in Sopore town. 15 persons were killed inside a passenger bus alone. In Bhejbehara South Kashmir 50 civilians were butchered and 200 injured by BSF on October 22nd 1993 when they were peacefully protesting against the Hazratbal Mosque siege. There are dozens of other similar incidents wherein two dozen , one dozen , half a dozen civilians were killed by Indian troops but not even in a single case Government of India prosecuted its solider.
Things in Kashmir have worsened since BJP took over the Government in New Delhi. Where is Agenda of Alliance that was signed between PDP & BJP before forming a coalition Government in J&K in early 2015 ? What happened to confidence building measures (CBMs) ? Revocation of AFSPA or at least amending it would be the biggest CBM that Modi Government can do ? If BSF can punish its own solider for not calling PM Shri Narendra Modi , why can’t the same soliders be punished for indulging in rape of 50 women in Kunan Poshpora of district Kupwara in 1990 ? When I read the interview of the then District Magistrate, I was shocked. The way he was threatened makes it ample clear that beating the drums of democracy and Beti Bachao Beti Padaaw are mere hollow slogans. If “ Shri Narendra Modi” really respects women ie Beti, let him punish the culprits of Kunan Poshpora ? If he really means business , why not order for a probe into all the massacres that took place in Kashmir during last 28 years ?