The fate of probes in Kashmir that follow the Killings and Rapes

Kashmir is an abnormally normal state. World’s largest Concentration camp. It is controlled by India due to its huge militarisation. For the fact, Kashmir has been listed in Guinness World Records for being World’s Highest Military zone.
Keeping this thing in mind, everything is viewed differently here. Things seem normal or they are made to look normal when they are totally out of order.

They make a desolation
and call it peace

January as locals call it the month of massacres has brought days of bloodshed again. This time blood has been spilt in streets of South Kashmir district Shopian where Indian army has killed three young Kashmiri youth and injuring more than a dozen people. This unfortunate development comes shortly after India celebrated its Republic day yesterday in a garrisoned valley confining locals to homes by enforcing restriction and snapping telecommunication and internet services.

While police administration has filed an FIR against army personnel, the state administration has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident and the probing officer has been asked to complete the inquiry within 20 days. On the contrary, spokesman from the army has termed the shooting as self-defence from the army to prevent the lynching of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) by a mob. According to locals, army unleashed the terror just to vent their anger against people for taking part in republic day celebrations.

Let’s come to the probe. It is a term that conflict has induced into our daily lexicon. The conflict has a lot of effect on daily vocab of people. We have here terms that came to fore due to this conflict e.g., Curfew, Safety Act, e-curfew, Probe, there are many more.

So what actually is a probe?

According to the Oxford dictionary, probe means, “an investigation, a surgical instrument, a small device for measuring or testing something”.

Normally when something abnormal thing happens (firing on protestors, any scam, scandal, or any untoward mishap) in Kashmir, the state orders a probe. This is done in order to ascertain facts on the ground that lead to a particular incident but it is on record in recent past no probe ordered by the state government has yielded any results. According to a report in a leading daily of Kashmir, the state government has ordered over 450 magisterial probes and investigations into civilian killings in Kashmir.

It has been a routine exercise of state government to order probes without taking any serious efforts to yield any substantial results. To my understanding state government uses probes as a device to buy time, to control the public rage.

Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has been every now and then terming these probes as mere eye washes, terming the tall claims of serious investigation by state agencies a hoax.

It would not be wrong to say there are more probes ordered in Kashmir than in rest of the world combined.

What happens to a probe? Maybe the following course of events happens, (writing this for no probe in recent past has yielded any results). It is rendered lifeless within one week of the incident. The probe files are shelved, left to dust and serve as a breeding ground for swarms of silverfish. Usually, an old probe comes to fore only when some journalist or a journalism intern is writing up a story. Usually, unattended probes make stories in newspapers and rounds in orations of opposition leaders. It becomes nothing but jugglery of words.

The institution which is to carry the investigations in a probe is dependent how the main preparator behaves. Like quoted in a report in a leading daily on 19 April 2016, the ADC Pulwama said while referring to a probe ordered when firing by the army and state forces led to the killing of two students in Pulwama district, ‘I could not complete the exercise as the statement of the army is pending’.

Probe Probe Probe…. #Kashmir #HandwaraKillings

A post shared by Mir Suhail ( ﻣﻳد ﺴﮩﻴﻞ ) (@mirsuhail) on

In some cases, the army does not submit its report/statement and in others, case’s probe investigations get halted due to pending post-mortem report as the said reported has quoted ADC Jammu Rehan Batool in regards of a probe ordered in Jammu division.

The fate of probes ordered here is known. Usually, a probe is a diagnostic tool but state governments in J&K have been using it as a therapeutic too just to pacify public outrage and buy time till everything returns to an abnormal normal again.

The other term used with probes is ‘impartial probe’. This term is mostly used by Hurriyat camp and sometimes opposition camp (the same opposition that ordered hundreds of probes while in power and those probes are yet to yield a result). An impartial probe is an oxymoron keeping in view the approach of state government regarding probes. The state cannot act against itself for most of the times it is the state forces that are preparators of the mishaps and killing spree, so demanding impartial probes from the state is nothing but absurd.

When the public rage and anger cools, people get back to normal life forgetting the gory incidents and here in Kashmir every day something happens that makes to charts of news and social media.

PS: People should demand a probe for why probes do not yield results. It will be worth knowing the result of this probe.

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