In what has come as an abject reversal of its principled stand over the killings of the three youth in Shopian last month, the state Government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it hadnt named Major Aditya Kumar in the FIR on the incident. Major Aditya is alleged to have ordered the shooting that killed the civilians. Earlier, the government had given an impression that it had specifically named the Army officer and would take the case against him to its logical conclusion. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has called up the defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to seek action against the army personnel. But then the coalition partner BJP went against the government position and defended the Army, with one of its MLAs Ravinder Raina even justifying the killings of the youth calling it an act of self defence, for the security of the nation and as per law. Other senior BJP leader and the union minister Jitendra Singh said nothing should be said or done that would lower the morale of the Indian Army.
This discourse whipped up sympathy among the people in India for the Army than for the slain civilians who were branded Pakistanis. Major Adityas father later approached Supreme Court against the FIR in the case pleading that the Army convoy was on a bona fide military duty in an area under the AFSPA but was isolated by an “unruly and deranged” mob pelting stones, causing damage to military vehicles. Supreme Court has since stayed the FIR. And far from strongly defending the case, the state government has now even denied that Major Aditya has been named in the case. This has cast an unflattering light not only on the state government but also on the operation of democracy in the state. The CM has looked helpless. And helplessness is something people hate in their leaders. It is demoralizing for the people if the leader they democratically elect to rule them turn out to be unable to lodge even an FIR against the security personnel responsible for the killing of three civilians.
This example, a very poignant one at that, serves to put in sharp relief what has been an abiding problem of the successive state governments:: their apparent powerlessness to deliver not only on their commitments and convert their passionate public rhetoric into a responsive governance but also sometimes get a petty FIR registered. This has put a big question mark on the way the democracy functions in J&K. Far from representing people, this democracy distorts their mandate. Far from resolving the sensitive issues, this democracy complicates them. And far from empowering people, it creates a profound sense of powerlessness.
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