Massacres in Kashmir: A Revision of 2018

kashmir funeral

Kashmir and its history is replete with intimate massacres. These massacres were not witnessed after the birth of nation states who drafted the independent nation into disputed territory.

These massacres were also witnessed during Mughal rule, Afghan rule, Sikh as well as in Dogra rule. In the year 1947, when one side the sub-continent of India got their independence from the colonial rule, while as other side, the same people applied colonialism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. On one side, when populace got divided on religious line, while as the other side, it was valley which remained apostle of peace between communities. However, the spark that burned by Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir by massacring lakhs of Muslims in the Jammu region paved an way to the colonial forces to use the same techniques in future policy.

Being neutral in ideology, the Dogra ruler did not survived for too long and at last he signed the instrument of accession along with the young political leader of Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah, who shared same hands in occupation. Soon after the world witnessed rockets, machine guns on the borders of Kashmir and within this war, the valley was barracked with wires from all sides. From 1964-1989, the valley witnessed so many faces. Political rivalry, Islamization and other war tactics took birth in the disputed territory. Within this short period, the valley which stood for peace became a hub of communal violence. The year 1990 was the crucial year in the history of Kashmir. The valley witnessed the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. The ethnic community left all belongings in the valley and run for their safety in the different parts of the India.

Within this purview, the colonial forces claimed them own and opened the machinery on the Muslims of Kashmir. After two days, the governor of valley ordered indiscriminate firing on people, which resulted intimate massacre. Hundreds of people were killed and all were justified in the entire history. However, the discourse changed after the agitation of 2008. New theories were created in the police records, statements and even all people were tagged under the same banner. From past few years, the police statement regarding civilian killings contains the descriptions of OGW (Over ground workers), self defense, Stray bullet, cross firing, weapon snatching, stone pelters and soon.

All these words are being carefully used according to the age and gender. If a child being killed, then it becomes stray bullet and when a women gets killed, then cross firing. The terminology is justified in such a way that the propagators remains free from any legal action. The question arise why stray bullet always targets civilian rather than security force. The justice system in India becomes delayed that even Supreme Court orders that no FIR should be registered against an army major, who was involved in civilian killings.

In the valley, the forces enjoyed the security laws and engaged themselves in the civilian killings. The state authority can only condemn the action, demand investigation but cannot do anything before impunity laws. In 2018, the valley witnessed highest number of civilian killings and all such massacres were done intentionally. From 1st April to December 14, the valley witnessed 05 massacres two in Shopian, two in Kulgam and one in Pulwama. It is overall the absence of law and as per Jeff McMahan that absent of laws and customs in armed conflict, all killings would be murder.

Inamul Haq PhD Candidate, Centre for Gandhian Thought and Peace Studies, School of Social Sciences, Central University of Gujarat


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