Kr Swarn Kishore Singh
As a young man born in early 90s in one of the most treacherous terrains of Jammu & Kashmir, I realize my first feeling wasn’t a feeling of love of my mother or affection from my father but of fear of terrorists emanating from the gunshots. Ideally every Indian mother scares his kids with a fear of Bhoot or Baba but I am of a generation when kids were frightened of the fear of so-called “ugravaadis” (as the mothers named them). Instead of experiencing delight due to the noise of a hand toy, my childhood passed with hearing sound of cocking the trigger of three naught three rifles. I remember my fellow older villagers who worked full day to earn their livelihood had to go back to nearest police station for a night sleep abandoning their own houses due to fear of getting killed by terrorists. I have had a childhood hearing tales of murder of a young man named Bhabhishan Singh getting killed in installments for 15 days on the go. I remember as a 10-year old kid, I heard of a massacre at a place not far from my home, wherein 22 persons were killed in one night that too when a marriage was scheduled there. I have grown up with feeling of terror that when 22 dead bodies of Hindus were lying in a house in Pogal,Ramban; no one dared to pick the dead bodies to perform their last rites unless army reached the spot along with the then Union Defence Minister. I have memories of childhood counting the bullets for the rifle and fixing them in the magazines of the rifles as the bullets were more necessary commodity for ensuring life than the grains. Many people migrated and rest became rebels with rifles living a sub-human life. I remember when the kids should have learnt how to sing, how to dance, how to write, how to paint and how to speak in public, they were learning how to crawl, how to cock the gun, how to clean the barrel, how to load the magazine in the rifle and how hold the gun close to the shoulder to minimize the impact of its backward push.
Imagine a life, for a whole day a person works like a machine to win bread for his family and then during night hours he had to wake up in a bunker with a rifle and 100 bullets to protect his family. Imagine the terror among the kids when the cross firing used to take place and the gunshots hitting their vicinities. Then one day a news came; the Hindus who used to migrate to higher terrains with their cattle for abundant, green and nutritious grass for the cattle were murdered and a fatwa was issued not to visit these places ever again. When the people forced by the huge amount of cattle in their household were forced to send someone to higher terrains carved a strategy to send their women preferably older ones considering the fact that the terrorists used to call themselves jihadi and they were supposed not to attack the women. But while juxtaposing this stance came an instance when the terrorists killed an old Hindu lady in higher reaches of Doda; with another fatwa which sent shivers down the gut of every Hindu living in the terrains of Jammu; “Humkosirf Hindustani khoonchahiye; mard, aurat, budha, jawaan se kyamtlb”. Imagine the savagery!
Apart from the savagery of the radical jihadis, the most disappointing thing was that no criminal trial ever took place in most of the massacres in the region. It never happens that a massacre can be effectuated without local help but the State Government never ever took pains to investigate any of the massacre or killings. Imagine the tyranny, when almost 40 terrorists led by a local militant who was identified as well; kidnapped and murdered a young man named Bhabhishan Singh. A FIR was lodged and all the formalities took place and what police did finally? They filed a closure report in the matter; meaning thereby no one killed that young man, no one had cut his tongue, no one made a slitin his throat, no one mutilated his ears, in short the whole blame goes to no one. The things get awry when a son can easily identify the killer of his father but now the killer is uniformed and hence protected. This is Art. 370 for a 3-years old son who had to lit the pyre of his father brutally murdered by the terrorists and the state stood in silent privy to the aggressors. Leave aside justice not even a criminal trial took place against the killers for the merciless murder of his father. The villagers even knew the local aid of the terrorists who killed 22 persons in one night and in one single room, but police never bothered to investigate and subsequently prosecute him. This is Article 370 for us, the people living in the terrains!
And when I reached my college, I started seeking opportunities to sneak through some recruitment exams and live a comfortable life. What I encountered was the fact that jihad wasn’t only with Klashinkovs but through recruitments as well; majority of names, almost 80% in every recruitment list belonged to Kashmir and whenever someone was caught, just the names were changed while the discrimination always grew stronger and stronger. This is Article 370 for a young man living in terrains of Jammu!
Then one day when NarendraModi led Government abrogated Art. 370, why won’t we rejoice this revolutionary decision? Leave aside the international repercussions or constitutional ramifications; we are glad about the fact that now instead of Gupkar people, the people sitting in North block and south block will decide what needs to be done and what not! Then Ghulam Nabi Azad says this is an attack on Muslims; one very conspicuous questions need to be answered by him i.e. How were Muslims specific beneficiaries of Article 370?
Mr. Chidambaram, who had said, ‘If Kashmir would have had been a Hindu majority state, Art. 370 would have never been abrogated”. Let me tell you,Mr. Chidambaram, if Kashmir would have had been a Hindu majority state, Art. 370 would never have had been even imposed on us. Think about this aspect as well, Sir!
(The author is an advocate and a political and legal analyst)
Kr Swarn Kishore Singh