.:.Editorial of “Rising Kashmir” is on Ramban Massacre.:.
Srinagar July 18: The firing incident in Ramban has come as a grim reminder of the situation in which the life of a commoner is not safe. The rain of bullets that claimed lives of six civilians and injured nearly 30 did not come from a militant group but from the men of Border Security Force (BSF), which falls in the larger apparatus of state called “security forces”.
Killing of civilians at the hands of these forces is not new in Kashmir but this time it has crossed the Banihal tunnel and reached a remote area of Gool in Ramban district. The reports coming from the area suggest that apparently there was no major provocation for BSF to reach Dhadam village and enter into an altercation with the Imam of the local mosque. But they chose an odd time and went to the area at 10 PM under the garb of “search operation”.
It is not known what for the searches were to be conducted in the mosque and nearby madrassa when whole world knows that it was time for special (Taraweeh) prayers of holy month of Ramzan. According to local administration the “so called” Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) was also not followed, as the forces did not inform the local police. The result was that the Imam objected to their entry into the mosque and the reaction from local people is well understood. When the sentiments of people are hurt in such a manner, it is expected that more people would converge to register their anger.
Instead of putting a mechanism in place to prevent a volatile situation neither the BSF nor the local administration woke up to the challenge. And the worst was in store. The BSF men went berserk and mowed down six civilians. The action by BSF speaks volumes about the unbridled powers the forces have been enjoying for long time now. Only two weeks back Army killed two youth in Bandipora district. There could be two reasons for the action that started with the search to be conducted by the BSF and later on culminated with the firing incident. One that they are trigger happy men and have thirst for blood or they are working with a vested interest only to justify their presence and not let the atmosphere to become conducive for what government claims to be normal.
People have umpteenth time shown their urge for peace but it has always been defeated by these trigger-happy people. The main reason for this is the sense of unaccountability, which has set in deeply in their minds. They know they will kill a civilian giving it the name of “self defence” and then go scot-free because we have scores of such examples. Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is a boon for them and they enjoy it with impunity. The state has a set up at the top level, which is called Unified Headquarters, and it is responsible for setting the procedures for operations and making the erring forces accountable. But it has failed to infuse confidence among the people that a civilian government was in power.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah always takes refuge under the smokescreen of a debate whether AFSPA should go by inches or by feet and invariably blames Delhi cautioning them about unrest but it won’t work all the time. Either he should quit as UHQ chief or make them accountable. How many such people have been punished so far? If that would be the case we might not have seen Markundal or Gool and you never know how many such incidents are in store for us. We are again on edge. Gool is bleeding so is entire Kashmir.
-Courtesy Rising Kashmir.