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It seems that ‘we the people of Kashmir’ have made a pledge to ourselves — and are under some hidden and invisible oath, that we are going to remain forever wedded to the self-inflicting behavior. That how-so-important a cause, warranting every reasonable reason to protest and agitate, but we are going to make sure that we turn off and antagonize the common people from that cause through our rowdy and rude ways of protest. That on every false and frivolous pretext we are going to take to the roads for a vulgar public display of our socio-psychopathic ailments. That we are going to train a fist, a stone, and a brick on even the bystanders who otherwise have nothing to do with anybody’s politics. That if we can’t do it ourselves we will still create conditions wherein someone else does it for us – after all it is “still better” if police or paramilitaries brutalize our fellow people after we provoke their rage towards them!

How do we look at it that our children leave for schools, colleges and universities in the morning and then they make it sure that not only their own educational institutions remain dysfunctional but entire life around such centres of learning comes to a standstill. That once we choose to hit roads for whatever reason, we ensure that nobody else is able to reach his/her destination in time. We stop ambulances ferrying critically ill patients towards medical help. We stop people who after weeks and months of debilitating leg-work and pleadings have made it to the select list for undergoing particular diagnostic and medical procedures in our government hospitals on that particular day. We stop people headed for important examinations and job interviews. We do not mind pelting stones and bricks at the school vans carrying little kids, who are our very own children and not some unknown specie from some distant alien land. And after doing all this, we want common people, who are the ultimate victims of our collective nastiness, and the state and its systems to empathize with “our cause” and be appreciative of our right to agitate. Even if someone does understand our reasons and alibi to agitate, but nobody can and would condone the way we do it. This must end the debate.

Coming to the rape of a minor girl in Bandipora – it is every unfortunate, and indeed alarming that an incident of such magnitude should be used by anyone to stoke sectarian tensions or to settle similar scores. The victim needs to be seen just as victim, and not through the coloured glasses of sectarian or any other identities and affiliations. In this case the victim is a mere 3-year-old girl – she is Kashmir’s daughter – who has been brutalized. The perpetrator of this heinous crime deserves no sympathy or concessions, and must be dealt sternly as per law so as to set out an example that would deter further incidence of such crimes in future. All those who have or will try to garner and help for the accused also deserve to be named and shamed. And there are certainly laws for dealing with those who bend and break rules to help the guilty.

While the Bandipora rape incident has brought shame to the entire Kashmiri society, equally shameful is the way certain elements in the society are using it to create communal strife as well as general chaos and disorder in the society. So while everyone is urging police to not spare the one who committed rape on a minor girl, police should also make sure that all those people who are using this unfortunate incident to create lawlessness on the roads and streets too do not go unpunished. They too must be identified and taken to task.

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