By News Desk | Kupwara, Kashmir
Stating that the prevailing peace in Kashmir valley is superficial in nature, renowned human rights and civil liberties activist, Gautam Navlakha today cautioned the state and central government against “explosion of a lava building up in Kashmir.”
“Apparently everything seems normal as traffic is plying and schools are open but it is silence not peace. The lava is building up as people’s emotions and aspirations are being suppressed with force. This lava can explode any time,” said Navlakha, while talking to Kashmir News Service, a news agency in Kashmir.
He said that the reason for the ongoing strife in valley is the Kashmir dispute which needs to be resolved as per people’s wishes for real peace to prevail. “Aap logoon ke diloon se khof ke zariye azadi ka sapna nahin nikal sakte (You cannot make people surrender their aspiration for freedom through intimidation and suppression),” he said.
Navlakha said that the hanging of the Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru has further alienated the people of Kashmir. “Afzal’s hanging has sent a wrong message across to the people of Kashmir. They (people) have lost all hope in the state and the government. They no longer expect good things from it,” he added. “How long can you buy time through interlocutors and parliamentary delegations? People are losing patience and hope,” he said. Navlakha was also accompanied by another activist Sahba Hussain and Ahsan Untoo during a visit to Lolab in Kupwara district on Wednesday and returned to Srinagar via Kupwara today.
Calling Jammu and Kashmir a Police state, the noted activist and author said that the proposed Police bill was aimed at legitimizing the police state. He said that the state government had no authority or powers to act on its own. “There are only two powerful institutions – police and army. What authority does the government have when the police has even taken over counselling of youth and is interfering in working of educational institutions? One fails to understand what role the civil administration has been left with when police transgresses its limits,” he added.
Navlakha castigated the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for what he called contradictory statements on the issue of unmarked graves. “First he said that parents should come forward and DNA profiling of those buried in the grave will be done. Then he contradicted himself saying the state has no infrastructure to do it (DNA testing). Once again he later said there are foreigners in the graves. He contradicts his own statements,” he said, adding, “FIRs have been lodged in the cases of those buried in the grave but hundreds of them have been labelled as foreigners. Now the parents have to fight against establishment. How would prove that their children and kin are buried in those graves.”
Expressing his views over the arrest of a Kashmiri, Liyaqat Ali Shah by Delhi police, Navlakha said that Shah’s arrest by Delhi police could scuttle the whole process of surrender and rehabilitation policy.
Supporting Navlakha’s views on unbridled power and impunity of police and forces, human rights activist and the chairman International Forum for Justice, Ahsan Untoo, cited the example of a Kupwara man who was allegedly beaten up by police and got his eye damaged. “House of Gh Nabi Bhat son of Late Gh Mohiuddin of Shlagun Lalpora Kupwara aged 70 plus was ransacked and window panes broken after a stone pelting incident in the vicinity. He was mercilessly beaten up by police and his left eye go damaged. Despite his three sons working in Police, CRPF and Army, they have failed to get a FIR registered since March 8, 2013. What would be the fate of other people,” said Untoo and added that a complaint in the case has been filed in the State Human Rights Commission against three police officers.