JAMMU: It seems all problems confronted to Jammu and Kashmir, like corruption, rising prices, lack of accountability in administration, nepotism, favouritism dilapidated infrastructure, poor roads, mismanagement in service sector etcetera have been solved and if any issue is left unresolved for the last session of the current Legislative Assembly that is granting amnesty to stone pelters. National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are in competitive mode to score points on who did how much for stone pelters. The villains of yesteryears are being projected as today’s victims.
Stone pelting has been glamourised in Kashmir to such an extent that a few computer savvy amongst the pelters and their invisible supporters had created Facebook accounts- ‘I am a stone pelter’; ‘Kashmir-the Intifada.’
Legislative Assembly witnessed ruckus for 40 minutes on Tuesday over the issue of granting amnesty to stone pelters. Peoples Democratic Party brought a motion in this regard and demanded suspension of Question Hour to discuss the amnesty. Heated arguments ensued between the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker, which in itself is unique in the Legislative history. The tempers were high. The government side gave an account of cases withdrawn against those booked in various offenses, mostly stone pelting.
In the Valley, thousands of people have died during the past two and half decades. Most of them died for pursuing violence as means to achieving political objectives; many became victims of Jihadis for their assumed sin of being informers or symbol of India; several were caught between the roaring guns and splintering gun-powder and a significant number of soldiers got martyred during call of their duty. Incidentally, the dead included some stone pelters as well. And, this has become bone of contention between the political opponents in Kashmir to score point, with an eye to win the upcoming elections.
A strange argument is being forwarded in support of withdrawing cases against the stone pelters, who have virtually taken over the Kashmir scene after gun lost its relevance due to international condemnation. The terror regime, working overtime across the borders, in conjunction with Pakistan lackeys devised a new mechanism of stone-pelting to keep the pot boiling as also to draw the international attention. The ploy has worked. Action against stone pelters is being highlighted as the biggest human rights violation across the world. Let’s not forget what B. Raman, a former head of counter-terrorism for India’s intelligence service had observed in Outlook Magazine when stone-pelting became new mantra of anti-national elements in 2008-09, saying: “What we are witnessing in certain areas of Jammu and Kashmir is the beginning of an Intifada.” Intifada, an Arabic word literally meaning “shaking off”, though popularly translated into English as uprising, resistance or rebellion. It is often used as a term for popular resistance to oppression.
The stone pelting has been glamourised in Kashmir to such an extent that a few computer savvy amongst the pelters and their invisible supporters had created Facebook accounts- ‘I am a stone pelter’; ‘Kashmir-the Intifada’ etcetera. The ploy was to portray Kashmir as a disturbed area, if not a terror struck region-a red rag for the US and West-front runner states in global war against terrorism.
The stone pelters are not darling of some mainstream political leaders only. Kashmiri hawk and a Pakistani lackey Syed Ali Geelani defended stone pelting at a time when youngsters were getting killed in scuffles with the security forces. He precipitated the menace saying: “It is expression of anger by our youngsters towards oppression. They fail to control their emotions on seeing men in uniform”. On an earlier occasion, he had stated that several European countries have witnessed such incidents (of stone-pelting), where people express their anger by throwing stones.
This being the support level for stone pelters, mainstream leaders are only walking into the trap to own them, forgetting what terrorism brought to the land once known for its serenity, peace and tranquility. Despite being sufferers themselves, one way or the other, political expediency is pushing them to the opposite side of the fence which is overcrowded by separatists and secessionists. Have these leaders, who few years back occupied or are presently enjoying the loaves of power, forgotten the scenario were pelters used to virtually take over Ammoured Personnel Carriers and raising anti-national slogans. Had it been a case in Pakistan, the troops would not have hesitated for a split second to open fire. However, Indian forces have always maintained restraint. This has unfortunately been taken as license by the law breakers to indulge in India-bashing and engaging them in Intifaada. Those encircling APCs with criminal intent cannot be termed as innocent youngsters. They are criminals; a perpetual threat to the civilised society.
Now it is for the lawmakers to draw a distinction between a criminal and a victim. Let it be left to their wisdom to show mercy or leniency to criminals. Democracy is all about numbers and if count goes in favour of criminals, nobody can help.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper