Editorial: Another tragedy of justice

JK Bank
Relatives of Pathribal fake encounter victims.

The Indian Supreme Court decision, last week, which gives the Army privilege to choose the form of trial- whether military court martial or civilian courts- for the gruesome murders it committed 12 years ago, has strengthened army claims and impunity to them under Armed Forces Special Powers act (AFSPA).

The decision, however, did expose the stand of the judicial system toward the grave human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Kashmir in last 24 years and its ability and capacity to deliver what it was supposed to deliver- the justice.

Kashmir is not a case of denial of justice, it simply began as a basic form of occupation- where a monarch asked his sympathetic neighbour to send boots on the ground to quell rebellion against him, though there are other alterations of history too- and went on to become a sophisticated occupation over the decades.

But, the Pathribal murders- five men were hounded from their houses, taken to a spot and shot dead in cold blood, their bodies then burned and mutilated- has exposed that to whatever extent forces will go on in Kashmir, justice will be delayed till it ends at denial. This has shown what has rotten over the years- the ignorance of a common Indian to the crimes its forces have carried out in Kashmir. Common people only see a happiness tinted glass house of Kashmir where people prefer KFC over the justice and right to self determination. Media has played a role in it and often ignores the fact that this glass house breaks into pieces when a single stone is thrown which becomes the statement of the sentiment.

And what does Pathribal murder case’s Supreme Court verdict tell us. It is a proof that it is no longer the common man only who has given his willful acceptance to Indian crimes, but it is the ‘blind lady of justice’ which has approved the Indian right to kill Kashmiris.

The Indian Supreme Court decision to allow Indian army to choose the form of trial for the murders of five Kashmiri men it committed will harden the belief of a common Kashmiri that he is living under an occupation where laws of “common sense” do not apply to him. The longing for justice will vanish.

The Pathribal verdict is just another tragedy of justice, the another prominent one being the Afzal Guru verdict when he was sentenced to death to satisfy the “collective conscience” of the Indian nation. Sounds more like a tribal ritual of “dark ages” when a goat, or in some cases humans, were offered to man-eater deities.

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