An Open Letter To The Protestor

Another bloody day draped in melancholic haze knocks Kashmir as usual; investing dead sons of the soil beneath the ground for a cause sacred to most of the Kashmiris. Three militants and two civilians have been killed by the brawny military men in two blood splashed encounters in twin districts of Pulwama and Bandipora Jammu and Kashmir, India.

Rebels, we all know, are out to fight the Pro-India cum pro-government forces for a cause which they ostensibly consider dear to them. We all know they (militants) want Indian Army to vacate Kashmir; this is no hidden reality but an open secret like the light of the sun. Army, well acquainted with this chaste reality understands that they can be attacked anytime by the militants, anywhere and everywhere in the valley of Saints.

So, in order to avert the imminent threat, they always remain in a jiffy to hunt down suspected militants and engage them in the perilous firefights. These spine-chilling firefights are not a new thing to Kashmir and it’s masses. We all have been all along, right from 1989 till this date, witness to this notorious saga of unsolicited bloodshed. Sometimes militants are successful in inflicting damage/casualty on the forces and sometimes, in fact on most of the occasions the pro-government forces turn the table over and kill militants, mostly in infamous house encounters.

Being a chap in 90’s -I was born in 1990- I could hardly make out of those harsh crackdowns, what was happening around. I vividly remember whenever army would raid our village, not a Militant bastion even during those days, all villagers would be asked to gather at a suitable place for frisking purposes. Women at certain occasions were asked to sit in their homes, but out of fear and danger of getting molested, perchance; they would themselves gather in the lawns of houses in groups.

Houses would be frisked and if anyone dared to Melo quote a word against the forces or showed a little discontentment to the Army’s crackdown, he might land in trouble; possibly humiliated in front of everyone or taken along by Army personnel putatively for interrogation. My bleak memory remembers pelting of kangri’S(fire pots)-whenever any excess occurred- on the then government forces, stone pelting was still uncommon those days or not considered as a powerful weapon of resistance as it is now considered.

The intensity, with which stones are pelted on Army and other security personnel by ebullient people mostly youth during encounters nowadays has no parallel in the history of Kashmir. A vast majority of Kashmiri youth is ready to get killed just for the sake of Azadi, courtesy recurrent violent protests.The anger precipitated due to India’s belligerent ignorance and overlooking of the Kashmir issue -that has been yearning for an amicable solution since 1947 AD-has ascended to such a level where there is no fear of death or getting maimed by the lethal weapons.

This is an alarming situation not only for the allegedly callous Central government but essentially also for the responsible Kashmiris. Our elected representatives should take cognizance of this atrocious trend where people mostly teenagers pelt stones on the forces to avert their encounters and in return get either maimed by pellets or killed by bullets- and demand the central government to concede some placating measures, to assuage the seething anger of the people of Kashmir.

The rate at which the Kashmiris are getting killed, it comes out, a slow and steady genocide is in full swing.

And on it, the recent warning of the Army Chief has been taken as a challenge- it seems so- by the zealous more youngest Ladd’s. That could possibly explain the rise in public protests on the encounter sites posts his warning. On the other hand , it comes along that, forces are religiously emulating the orders of their chief, that could justify the post warning killings.The rate at which the Kashmiris are getting killed, it comes out, a slow and steady genocide is in full swing.

Simultaneously , as a common patriotic Kashmiri ; particularly as a resident of the South Kashmir that has taken nerve of the armed movement for some time now; feeling the pain of this blood splashing saga, unfolding every other day before us, I fervently request my fellow Kashmiris not to go too close to the encounter sites; knowing that the barrel of gun of the purported for is anxiously gestating with bullets for you.

Knowing that as well, after getting hit; no one would come to your rescue, albeit for a short duration few people may help you; some cosmetic words to placate you, but we have seen in past, how we forsake our hero’s who lost everything in this political conundrum; lingering for many years now.

The sentiment is there please don’t blame me for treachery, don’t misconstrue me- alive and flourishing, but tell me if we loose the count of dead and maimed ones like this who will carry the flag of Freedom forward, our leaders?! My concern comes out of my insecurity, care, love, haplessness and worry; to be honest, but there are methods to protect an encounter. You may assemble and raise slogans outside the encounter site without risking your lives by foraying the encounter site by breaching the antipathetic security grid.

While as rebels still have guns to fight with, you have nothing except symbolic stones, which if thrown with full force would seldom reach the forces who are at a distance, but their bullets reach us; penetrate our chests and thighs; main and kill us. Your stone protest is just a symbolic one against the obstinacy of mighty India; nothing less; nothing more. Remember my brother’s, you are not fighting against just another military personnel with a gun in hand, on the contrary, you are fighting against a flagitious mindset.

(The views expressed are author’s own)