THOUSANDS attended the funeral prayers of Arshad Ahmad Mir, 25, a police sub-inspector, who was killed by militants at Khanyar in downtown Srinagar on Sunday. In his native village at Kalmuna, a large number of people went to his house to pay their last respects. According to Police, the officer was killed when he had taken a detained person for a medical check-up to a hospital at Khanyar in downtown Srinagar. Mir had been recruited as a sub-inspector in J&K police only last year. He had been posted at the Khanyar police station only recently. The killing has been caught on CCTV. A militant can be seen coming from behind and firing at the officer from point blank. He falls down. Subsequently, when rushed to the hospital he was declared brought dead.
One more Kashmiri has died, an addition to thousands of lives lost in the last three decades. Most of these killings don’t make an international or even a national headline which a single death in other conflict spots like Palestine does. But it does affect the people in Kashmir who are angry about them.
More tragically, the deaths in Kashmir mean little beyond the Valley. Let alone in the rest of India where the media largely pretends as if nothing has happened – unless it could use some killings to polarize the public opinion – even around the world. This raises a larger question about the truth of the diverse unfolding realities in the world: that is, their interpreted truth and the intrinsic truth. More so, in the domain of news. Whether we like it or not, the news follows its own caste system. News about a particular issue, subject or a people is more a function of power than the reflection of reality. And Kashmiri lives matter least here, on every side of the ideological, political or religious divide.
In an environment of impunity that prevails in Kashmir, it is unlikely that such killings will ever stop. If at all this vicious cycle has to be stopped, something fundamental has to change about this place. We need to grapple with the demons of history and put them to sleep. But as of now there is little hope that things are going to change. Least of all now. All we can do is hope against hope. Sooner or later New Delhi has to wake up to the suffering in Kashmir, see it for what it is rather than through political lens only, and then go about sincerely addressing it. This alone will usher in durable peace and prosperity.
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