By Shahid Ashraf
Neither do I support the violence that made my people cry for decades, nor do I favour their silence on the vicious and ruthless acts committed by the state. The monstrosity of violence compounds with complicity by the people from the suffering land. Worryingly, the gross human rights violations in Kashmir; massacre after massacre; long and incurable blindness, is overlooked by such compliance to the state violence. In this battle, the suffering masses go unheard and under-represented.
Now what should I think sitting here in New Delhi pursuing a degree in Law? Sometimes I wonder if I am right to think like the protesters in the Valley. There is a churning deep inside me that pushes me to stand by them, to speak for them, and to articulate their grievances. But the question remains, “How?” On deep thought I delve into the question, “What exactly is justice?” If a democratic country like India upholds the atrocities in Kashmir as nationalism and patriotism, then I question the very basis of her constitutional justice that has never seen the light in Kashmir.
As the last quarter of the year has experienced turmoil in the restive Valley, justice seems elusive. Every mother’s peaceful and blissful womb gives birth to the child who craves for their sight and vision for Azadi. While we enter the New Year, the voice of justice fades away into oblivion. The dagger of censorship hangs over the freedom of press and the sentiment of freedom. How many more Khuram Parvez need to be detained to attain Justice?
Even though the current situation in Kashmir is undergoing ‘normalcy’, the scars on the body of people hold witness to the state-led barbarity on a people who are caught between the territorial claims of two nuclear armed countries. Here, the body bears witness to violence. From the children on the streets with stones in their hands, to the old with prayers in their heart, the Valley resounds with the slogans of Azadi. The struggle of the octogenarians is carried forward by the youngest generation in the Valley.
With each new statistic of violence, rises another. The protests in the Valley remind us of our revolutionary hero, Maqbool Bhat. Though he sacrificed his life for the Valley two decades ago, his ideas are cherished by every individual residing in the valley. His ideas are considered an edifice on which the whole body of freedom struggle exists. The state is using all mechanisms to curb the freedom movement. However, the excessive use of violence has hardly had any effect on the thoughts and vision of the rebelling Kashmiri. The last series of violent state reaction reminds us of the 90s and it is this violent history of Kashmir that stirs the passion of freedom fighters today. Since the beginning, every oppressive attempt by the state has been resisted.
While the struggle appears to be unending, the resolve to fight back is even stronger. As the state touts ‘normalcy’, the memories of the “last quarter” will resonate, once again, in the new revolutionised context of Azadi.
Shahid Ashraf is currently pursuing Law from University of Delhi . He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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