THE CRUEL ‘SHOPIAN’ STREAM

ALI SUKHANVER

 In the second week of the last December , the Central Board of investigation , India (CBI) issued its 66 pages probe report into the alleged rape and murder of two kashmiri women Nilofar Jan and her seventeen years old sister-in-law Asiya Jan . The dead bodies of these two women were found in a stream on 30th May 2009 in Shopian. According to the details these two women were kidnapped, raped and murdered by the Indian troops deputed there in the Shopian town. After the discovery of their dead bodies the Shopian town observed a 47 day long shut down. The worsening law and order situation after the incident compelled the state government announce an inquiry commission to probe into the matter and four security personals were arrested. But unfortunately the commission gave a clean chit to the four arrested officers and said that the death of these two women was nothing but an accident and the basic cause of their death was drowning into the stream.

 Delhi-based Independent Women’s Initiative for justice (IWIJ) has protested on the findings of the CBI commission and said that the Commissions report is a useless effort of pacifying the people. The IWIJ had sent its team to the valley on a fact-finding mission after the incident. This team had made a visit to the stream from where the dead bodies had been recovered. The team found the water in the stream only an ankle-deep not enough for any body to drown in it. After the Commission’s report had come to the surface, the Indian newspapers started a well-planned propaganda movement blaming the so-called Militants for the murder of these two Muslim women. It seems that the Indian media and politicians are following the west in the usage of the term ‘Militants’.

 ‘Militants’ is in fact the term coined by the West for the freedom fighters. Be it the blood dripping valley of the Indian Held Kashmir or the miserable state of Palestine, the brutally exploited mountain ranges of Afghanistan or the oil-pouring  lands of Iraq ; militants are always there as pointed out by the Western media.. What is the philosophy behind; what is the logic; certainly difficult to answer. Militancy has been made an allegation and blame. What should the people do when their basic human rights are continuously violated and they are deprived of their natural privileges? In such a condition they are left with a very limited choice; either to bear all these atrocities or to raise a cry of protest. Unluckily when they raise their voices, they are named as Militants and at some later stage, as the terrorists.

 The Indian social and political set up has got into its blood the habit of following the western attitude in every walk of life that is why this term of militancy has also  become very popular there in India . Every day one finds a lot of criticism in Indian newspapers regarding the Militant activities in the Indian Held Kashmir. The Kashmiris are at present looking towards the so-called compassionate and considerate western world for remedy and consolation, for help and support; but they find no one to take care of their miserable plight. Their lives, their properties, the honour of their women and the future of their youth, in short each and every thing is at stake. The brutal Indian troops have snatched away every moment of calm and peace from these innocent people of Kashmir. But in spite of all these bitter realities the Indian media and the politicians are calling them with the name of Militants. It seems that the West and its disciple India both have deliberately or unknowingly prescribed this term for all those Muslims who are fighting for freedom. As far as the misuse of this term Militants is concerned, we never find it used for those Hindu activist organizations which are continuously in a state of war with the central government of India. There are so many separatist movements ongoing in different Indian states for a long time but these movements are never called the militant movements. 

 Militants, freedom-fighters and the terrorists have nothing in common. They all belong to different states of being and are reactions of different actions. The Naxalites, the Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban and those struggling for freedom in the India-held Kashmir could never be measured with the same yard-stick. If militancy means struggle for freedom; the Naxalites must also be called the Militants; however it would be better if this term is modified a little by referring to the caste and creed of the Militants. If it is done so, we would find the Hindu militants, the Christian militants, the Sikh militants and the Jew militants along with the Muslim militants because militancy is the name of a mental approach not of a religion.

 Although the Naxalite movement is getting its roots deeper and deeper into the soil of Indian society and causing a grave problem to the stability of India yet the Naxalites are never called the Militants. This movement represents those ethnic minorities which are being continuously crushed and maltreated by the upper–caste Hindus. The Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, FICCI has recently stated that Naxalites are posing a grave threat to Indian’s economic development. Naxalites influence is growing in rural and urban areas and they are building inroads in Punjab. The government of India has uselessly tried to crush this movement by introducing an artificially designed and state sponsored counter movement Salwa Judum. A  Norwegian analyst on regional affairs, Professor Johan Galtung said in one of his recent statements that force is not a solution to any problem and Salwa Judum can’t stop the growth of Naxalism. He said that Indian government can only solve the problem by finding what led to the growth of the Naxalite movement.

 Be it the freedom movement of the Kashmiris or the Naxalite struggle , it is no solution to call them with the titles of Militants or Terrorists and crush them by use of force .The Naxalites and the Kashmiri freedom fighters both have a  legitimate and  justified  cause. That is why they are enjoying popular support in the public; particularly the Naxalite movement in the poorer areas of rural, central and eastern India. But the Indian government is criminally ignoring the realities. It is of the opinion that all such movements can be made silent through military actions. According to the reports the Indian government has decided to deal with the Naxalites in the same way as it has been dealing since long with the freedom fighters in the occupied territory of Kashmir. Preparations are in process to launch full-fledged anti-naxal operations at three different areas, considered tri-junctions of worst Naxal-affected states.  The government of India is closing its eyes to the daylight fact that any such venture will be a greater challenge to the Indian security establishment.

 Indian atrocities against Naxal-affected states and other ethnic minorities as well as against the helpless people of Kashmir are deplorable and appalling. These Indian brutalities uncover the true face of Indian democracy. The situation could be changed into a better scenario by listening to the voices of these wretched and miserable people who are on one hand claimed to be the part of the democratic India but on the other hand are deprived of their basic human rights. According to the Indian claim, Nilofar Jan and Asiya Jan were also the citizens of India but they were treated as strangers simply because they were the Muslims. Just like the west, India has a different set of rules and regulations and a separate dictionary of terms for the Muslims but even then it claims to be a secular state.  

 The writer is a Pakistan based bilingual analyst on national and international strategic and defense affairs.’

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