Stop these senseless killings!

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Kashmir has turned into a killing field. Everyday there is news about somebody getting killed, either from the security forces, from militant ranks or civilians. Killing of any human being is condemnable however when it comes to combatants – be those from security forces or from militant groups – they are the ones who have picked up arms of their own choice and are engaged is, sort of a war, where killings are inevitable. However, when it comes to the killings of unarmed civilians, people need to raise their voice, loud and clear, saying no to such killings. Though people do so when any civilian falls to the bullets of pellets of security forces, when the same civilians get killed by militants, nobody raises voice in protest. This silence has emboldened those who indulge in such killings and that is why Kashmir has witnessed thousands of such killings during past three decades and of late the ugly trend has started yet again.

On Monday, during an encounter in Pulwama district, two militants got killed and two troopers sustained injuries. A civilian too got killed during protests that followed the encounter. The joint separatist leadership didn’t miss a minute and asked people to observe strike on Tuesday to protest these three killings.  Yes, when it comes to the killing of a civilian, people have every right to protest and express their anguish. But same even three unarmed civilians were killed by suspected militants in Baramulla and there has not been a single word of condemnation or concern from the  separatist leaders. Unfortunately, it is not the separatist leadership alone that maintains a ‘meaningful’ silence over such brutal killings but the so called civil society and champions of human rights too try to avoid making any noise about such killings.

The separatist leaders, the so called civil society members and champions of human rights may have their own reasons to remain silent over such barbaric killings and they may continue to legitimize such killings through their silence, the Kashmir society as a whole, can’t afford to remain unconcerned. These are our own people who are mercilessly being killed by those who claim to be “fighting our war”. It may be politically correct for separatist leadership to shut their eyes to such killings but doing so doesn’t, in any way, help Kashmir and Kashmiris. It is time that people desist from justifying such killings and come openly out and ask questions. When it is the concern of life and death of a society as a whole, no one should be granted the status of a Holy Cow. Let people also question the silence of separatist leadership which continues parroting that it is fighting for the freedom and rights of Kashmiri people. If this leadership can’t speak loudly about the rights of three Baramulla youths who were killed Monday afternoon, who can it be trusted as an advocate of entire Kashmir nation.

People of Kashmir need to be reminded of  Martin Niemöller’s famous quote:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Let us wake up today itself because tomorrow may be too late.

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