AFSPA, the most draconian and the severe of all the impunities, that the security forces enjoy, has once again brought into front, the consequences that we could have to face, if such type of, freedom from accountability, as granted by this law, is allowed, while neglecting the importance of putting curbs on it. AFSPA, not only gives unbridled powers to the security forces, but also enable them to act as per their wishes, in handling any situation. The incidences of unprovoked firing by security forces are no exception to it that often leads to the cold blooded murders of innocent youth. Although these incidents have received serious criticism from all corners of the society right from the very beginning, but until now there has been no such mechanism, that could effectively ensure that such unfortunate and fateful incidents dont take place and the loss of innocent lives is stopped. These are those events that really deserve attention of the authorities, and are responsible for a change in the mental setup of people, that goes right against the security forces and the serving govt. The breath taking and surprising incident of an innocent youth being killed at the hands of security forces, has once again posed a serious question that cannot be ignored. The question of safety and security of the people verses killing them and being unaccountable. If the security forces are meant for maintaining law and order in the society, then why this blood shedding of innocent youth, at their hands, that has drastic effects both on the victims as well as on the society they are associated with. All because they have this act at their disposal, does not mean that they can play with human lives. Has the centre favoured this act, only for the purpose of safeguarding its police personnel or is the ground situation so grim that it becomes necessary to have such kind of devilish and inhuman act at our place? It has become the bone of contention between the people and the govt.
Going with the constitutional rights, everyone has the freedom of expression and holding public meetings. But the scenario in the valley is different, where people seem to have been debarred from almost all of the basic rights granted by the constitution, on account of maintaining law and order. While the mourning over the death of a Kashmiri boy in Hyderabad wasnt over, the un-fateful incident of killing another innocent youth by the security forces led to violent protests by all, who in addition of condemning this event also raised their voices to repeal this draconian act. Further the ambiguity regarding the death of a Kashmiri boy also had its impact on the situation in valley, of which different sources held different factors to be responsible. Whereas the police had its own version of death, but the people being contrary towards it, considered that the death of the boy was a murder for which the accusations were raised against the police who had arrested the youth a few days back. Ever since, the AFSPA was given to the security forces, the situation in Kashmir valley never seemed to have been improved. On the contrary, the cases of injustice and maltreatment of the people were reported every now and then. It wont be wrong to call the valley of Kashmir, as the valley of wolves all because of this special act that has created a hell like situation in the valley, where the security forces are being looked at, as killers, instead of saviours. What was the fault of innocent people who have gathered and were raising their voice against the inhuman and unacceptable practices adopted by the security forces? What was the need to fire indiscriminately on them when they could have been quelled by other means also? Why wasnt any sort of restraint shown by the security forces who are taught to deal with such situations and are expected to follow the laid guidelines while dealing with the protestors? What is the role of the security forces? Whether, it is to save the people or to kill them, so that their voices are suppressed forever. The incident of killing an innocent youth was a clear example of their being more of killers than to be saviours. All this being attributed to the harsh and cunning AFSPA. Incidences like these erode the faith of people from the system and leave them hopeless, with rare chances of expecting something better to see in the future. Had there been no AFSPA, no security personnel could have even thought of doing so. It seems the respect for human rights has been forgotten and there is no place for such rights in our state, How bizzaire!!!!
Now who is to be blamed for the killing of the innocent youth? Whether the security personnel only or the higher authorities that had been given the duty of maintaining law and order but failed to do so? What sort of helplessness the people of Kashmir are in? Neither they are been allowed to raise their voices nor are they provided a safe and secure environment where they can live peacefully. The first thing towards the path of a better future is to abolish this abominable act. Although Chief Minister, Mr Omar Abdullah broke down in the current legislative assembly session and favoured the revocation of the AFSPA, but such lifeless and less dedicated efforts will reap no benefit unless and until there is some concrete effort in this path. Further, the persual of national authorities so as to obtain a favourable response towards revoking this draconian act should be of prime concern if the govt really wants to have an environment where all live in peace and prosperity. It is a fact that the role of govt is to serve the people for their betterment and to help them to develop, but having this kind of act in place, one could hardly hope for a better future. If no accountability is in place, then the option of safety and security that our govt claims of will remain only in its books while the factual situation that the ground holds on itself, will tend to remain completely different. Also human rights should be valued at any cost. Thus, for the sake of humanity, it is the need of hour to bring an end to this act which otherwise would close all the doors of peace, prosperity and development.
Syed Maajid Rashid Andrabi
Lovely Professional University, Punjab
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