FIRST DRAFT OF MY OP-ED
This time I have tried to be on time. So I am waiting for comments and suggestions. I missed on that last time so am expecting in double this time.
Exorcism: A term that takes you in ancient times but surprisingly is alive in today’s time as well. Recently the newspapers in Kashmir reported that the legislative complex in Indian administered Kashmir has been exorcised of ‘evil spirits’. ‘After Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s resignation on July 28 and unprecedented scenes of chaos in the assembly, officials of Kashmir assembly organized a religious ritual to ward off the ‘evil’ reported a newspaper. It also quoted an official on the condition of anonymity “Since the new complex was thrown open last year, unprecedented incidents have been happening in the house”.
The new complex held its first session on July 7 last year and the same day the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was forced to resign over the Amarnath land row. The assembly was dissolved soon after. After the new elections in November-December last year the new government had its sessions in the winter capital Jammu.
After that when the house met for its Budget session on July this year in Srinagar, it began with chaos and confusion.
On the first day the leader of the opposition Mehbooba Mufti attacked the speaker snatching his mike. She was protesting against the rape and murder of two women in Shopain, and wanted a debate on the issue.
On the second day, the Chief Minister was linked to a 2006 prostitution racket. In protest Omar submitted a resignation which he later withdrew.
The third day saw the same disturbances so the officials took a break for holding the ritual to bring back peace.
In Kashmir this is not the only incidence. An infamous torture Center PAPA 2 was exorcised before converting it into a guest house. Since 1990 hundreds of thousands of Kashmir youth and militants have been bought to PAPA 2 by security agencies, and tortured brutally, some to death.
When the PAPA 2 was two converted into an official guest house, its first incumbent, a top state officer, got it exorcised by priests. It now houses a top politician.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s government ran into crisis this summer after rape and murder of two women in Shopain township of Kashmir. The administration was seen indulging in a cover up of a crime that was blamed on security agencies.
While the officers think they can exorcise some buildings to ward off the impact (haunt) of the events, I wonder will anyone go on to exorcise my land too. After all it is the injustices in this land that the offices try to get immune of.
My land has seen death and destruction rule. It is land of thousands of orphans and widows. It is land of Dardpora village which has some 300 widows alone. It is a land where 8000 people are missing whose parents and relatives sit every month in a public park asking for their whereabouts. It is a land where unmarked graves were discovered in 2008 and countless more lie buried unclaimed somewhere in some unknown graveyards or forests. It is a land of people living in mental trauma. It is a land of massacres. A land where a small boy mistook her mother for a murderer because he saw his mother coming out from a room drenched in blood where his father and brothers lay dead. The boy was too young to understand that his mother was in shock after security forces killed three of their family that night.
A land where one can be arrested, tortured and even killed by the security forces (whose security they are there for I haven’t yet understood) and the perpetrators won’t be even questioned. A land of Kunanposhpoara, where troops raped women inside their houses all night after summoning the men outside for identification. The Press Council of India then called the victims lairs accusing the women of trying to defame security forces.
It is a land where people are killed for protesting peacefully. A land where little boys with stones in their hands are showered with bullets and smoke canisters aimed strategically at their heads. A land where civilians are picked and killed in staged gun battles, to be passed off as insurgents. Then policemen share the booty for killing an insurgent. A land of inhuman torture which have left some dead and others scared for life. A land of custodial killings. A land of divided families.
It is all these things that tend to haunt its rulers occasionally and they respond exorcising their mansions. Noone ever thinks of exorcising my land.