It is confusion all around. And mind it, confusion always comes in with a sufficient degree of unaccountability – a bliss for the unscrupulous, who thrive and prosper in the absence of any checks on their tyranny and despotism. Blame it on the prolonged political turmoil, Kashmir has steadily morphed into a state wherein nobody wants to be held accountable for anything. So the confusion has automatically got the social sanctity of continuity. Those who actually have the requisite knowledge to clear airs of current uncertainty, and wherewithal to unmask the ugly truths, have deliberately chosen to patronize and promote further confusion because it suits them and their politics. This is precisely why nobody is really sure who is killing whom and why. Nor is anybody in a position to anticipate or predict who will fall next victim to whom, when, where and again, WHY. So the dance of death which has been going on here is unlikely to end anytime soon, because we all have collectively failed to send a clear message to the faceless killers about our ‘outrage’ — if at all we really feel outraged by anything!
Obviously we didn’t feel outraged when a minor boy is pushed into the militancy; nor when he is killed in an encounter with the security forces. Instead this barbarity seems ok because it comes wrapped in an aura certain of politics for the people on any side of the conflict! People here have not been incensed by the worst pornography of violence Kashmir has seen in its bloody history of nearly three decades. Had there really been anything called public outrage, then obviously people here would have long ceased to be a faceless, disoriented mass. They would instead have put a bold face to confront and condemn the cruelty as it deserved to be condemned and confronted, without compartmentalizing tragedies on the basis of political and other lineages of the victims. But people of this land have failed themselves. Like them, their condemnations too are selective and politically calculated. And as long as it continues to be like this, not much is actually going to change here.
Recall that famous statement and provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power and the subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. “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.” Today Kashmir too has become into a place where people of different hues, political leaders included, simply avoid looking in the face of ugly realities, leave aside coming out to openly criticize anything. The entry of minor boys into the militant ranks and their subsequent neutralization in security forces’ action is a wake-up call for the dehumanized and de-sensitized Kashmir.