In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act, so goes the saying. Within a span of a few days five innocent lives were lost. It included a lady teacher and a pharmacist, who had preferred, instead of fleeing, to remain in Kashmir and serve his fellow citizens.
Who did this? It is known only to those who have ordered it. Truth may not be known. It can only be guessed. Even in the worst day of militancy it was very rare that the Hindu Pandits were killed. The militants fought with the military men, but not with their fellow citizens, with whom they always maintained excellent and cordial relations.
The range of speculation is very very wide. Some analysts in Kashmir allege that these murders are the “handwork of agencies” who, they refer, had killed 35 innocent Sikhs in Chittisinghpura at the time of the then US President visit to India. Some others say that it is a reaction to the way their leader Ali Shah Gilani was treated even after his death. He was virtually given a beggar’s funeral. He was not allowed to be buried in the Martyrs Qabristan. His relatives, some of whom are said to be around his deathbed, were not allowed to attend the funeral prayer, which was arranged in his mohalla Hyderpora mosque, with only 25 persons, surrounded by 150 military personnel. His son-in-law Zahoor, an activist of Hurriyat, was near his deathbed but was not permitted to attend the prayer. Another son-in-law Naseem Gilani, professor in Agriculture University, also was in the house but he also was not permitted. His son is behind high walls of Tihar jail in New Delhi. His attendance was simply unthinkable. His burial was done, under the order of administration, by the masjid workers. His body was taken away from the family and the customary bath was also given in the mosque premises.
On my recent visit to Srinagar, I saw that bunkers have been created around his grave. The presence of military surrounding the grave gives the impression that he is more formidable after death than in life.
What a Kashmiri commented on the heartless attitude of the administration demonstrates the anguish of common Kashmiris, “The Duke of Wellington said of his opponent, Napoleon: His presence in the battlefield was worth 40,000 fighting men.”
“If a 92-year old man’s body needed mobilisation of the entire state machinery, imagine what his presence was worth. Imagine what his legacy is worth.”
The permanent solution of Kashmir does not lie in continuous suppression which fuels more resentment. Unfortunately the powers that be have failed to win the hearts of Kashmiris and thrown them on the path of resistance and agitation. This problem should be addressed with truth and justice, otherwise it is bound to remain a thorn in our national life.