Rehabilitation of "Internally Displaced" Persons
by N.C. BaliDemocracy is being restored by the democratic set-up that has taken over the administration of the state of Jammu and Kashmir after an election that was prophesied as never possible. History has a passion for repeating itself and so the cub of Kashmir has again occupied the seat of power held by his father known as the lion of Kashmir.
There is nothing new or innovative about it. The cabinet is old wine in old bottles with the exception of Dogra scion of the royal family joining the fray and successtully also. Bedfellows of today have been antagonists of yesterday. That is politics.
Amongst the proclamations of the new government is "the rehabilitation of the internally displaced (ID) persons", (Thank God, the blatant lie of their having come out of their own accord for green pastures promised by the former governor has finally been nailed).
All those that have read of "Return of the Natives" with dignity and honour have expressed satisfaction that the government is seizcd of the issue and is considering discussing the package schemes with I.D. representatives. This is, however, taken with a pinch of salt. First because nobody, not to say of any party, condemned the forces that killed, maimed, looted, burnt and dismembered the bodies, gouged the eyes, heart and entrails of the l.D. victims. Statistics can, in such cases, never be verifiably accurate but the consensual data collected shows 2000 dead, thousands tortured and scores of rapes, hostages and abductions.
Besides, the loot has been universal and arson has claimed over 25,000 thousand dwellings and houses. Those of the houses that have been left untorched have the structures ol dilapidated walls only with gaping holes for doors and windows and are shorn of all fittings, including electric and watertaps. As for household and personal effects, these are conspicuously absent. Personal libraries and collections of books, audio and video tapes alongwith televisions, video and audio tape- recorders, music systems, stereos, kitchen ranges and kitchen gadgets, all have been pilfered. Recording details of this rampage and loot will be ludicrous, bizarre and emotionally painful. Those who fled from the internal tury of the bigots left even their holy books, photographs of their deceased nears and dears and other cherished mementoes of remembrances. Yet no one showed any sympathy, shed a tear or uttered a word of consolation at this outrageous exploitation of the religious system. It was not uncommon to hear from your Muslim friends that all those of the minority community, who were killed were informants and traitors, duly judged by Islamic courts of the Mujahids.
Who can forget the Doomsday of 19-20 January 1990, when every loudspeaker and every sound system fitted in each and every mosque was hurling unprintable, blasphemous calumny coupled with threats and intimidations yelling for the blood of Pandit kafirs who were forced to assemble at Lal Chowk at "Dooms-nighfs" midnight hour.
Pretext of Pakistani Hand
Now the million dollar question is - were all the mosque sound systems operated by the ISI or the Pakistanis: were all the killings, rapes, arson and loot perpeterated by Pakistanis; were all the atrocities and tortures carried out by Pakistanis and ISI; were the daily processions comprising students, women, professionals, lawyers, teachers and transporters, shouting, "V for Victory" and asking wayside people to reciprocate, taken out (in lakhs) to their local U.N. Observer friends, by Pakistanis? The answer is an emphatic and uncontrovertable 'no'.
The memory of this nightmare which has claimed untimely deaths of the ID community in exile in hundreds' more for psyctlolotical maladies than of physical, more for unbearable climatic and acclimatization problems than for lack of victuals; more for poor conditions of living in tents and poorer conditions of lack of prompt medical aid; more for lack of resources and money than for any other reasons is still stealing the sleep of the Kashmiri Pandits.
Their sons and daughters have become unemployed vagrants and their scholistic career has been shattered by an irrational educational policy and the biased Kashmir University. An I.D. student does not complete his graduation or post-graduation even in twice the stipulatd time frame of the course. One can reconcile with death by taking it an act of fate or destiny or the will of the Almighty. What about the missing. Take an example: D is an I.D.P. whose son had to flee the valley as his family was attacked twice by vested interests who wanted to grab his precious and idyllic estate at Srinagar. He came over and joined his department in Jammu but one day he was called out of his office at Jammu, abducted and since then he is missing. His young wife and two children are languishing while his parents have lost their balance of mind. Numerous representations to the government of India and other quarters remain unresponded to date.
Deluge By Militancy
Did the deluge and militancy come like a thunder clap or a cloud-burst? Do you believe if? Years of careful planning and preparation had gone to stage it. That the influx of smuggled arms from across the border to such a colossal extent went unnoticed cannot be believed. The shooting that took place in the Rajbagh house of a police top brass. The coming to Nagam bypass stand of a V.V.I.P.'s daughter in a public carrier (Matador) on the particular day when she was abducted, instead of her daily used family car cannot be dismissed as a chance or a casual event. It is unbelievable. The plugging of the leakage of the dam of militancy could have been done easily on that occasion but the freeing of an undisclosed number of hardcore militants is still not explained and remains a mystery.
Let bygone stories be not retold. We are happy that election was successful and democracy has been restored but we will have to be cautious, vigilant and in a state of high preparedness for unforeseen eventualities. The tiger of militancy that has tasted human blood and turned maneater is yet on the prowl.
Rehabilitation and security are twin issues in which security, and that too foolproof, has naturally a priority. Rehabilitation will automatically follow even voluntarily once it is seen that violence, militancy and terrorism are finally buried and eliminated. When we see that our elected representatives, ministers, lawmakers and law enforcers move freely in the state, particularly in the Valley, without a posse of security personnel and blackcats, the special squads and other such armed guards around them; when gunfire is not heard, grenades are not thrown and boobytraps and landmines are not laid, people will surely think of going back.
Return and Rehabilitation
Till then any talk of return and rehabilitation of I.D.P.s is a dream of imaginary wishfulness. Till then any persuaded "return of the native" may turn to be the rehabilitation of the "Jews" at "the Auschuwitz Nazi Camp" in which the code word lor elimination by gas chambers was "rehabilitated". Readers will find this in the 20-year old research classic work by William Schirer on World War-II which was named "The Rise and Fall of Third Reich". The daily telegram from the Auschuwitz Gas Chamber chief to his boss, the Fuerher (Adolf Hitler) was "... thousand 'rehabilitated' today".
This situation can be saved when the cub of Kashmir will follow his father's footsteps and take steps that were taken in the Kabaili (tribal) raid of the Valley in 1947. The giant poster showed a Kashmiri peasant killing a long, coiled, head raised for kill, black cobra with his "liven" (Kashmiri spade). The caption read: "This is a Pakistani spy/ agent. Kill it".
Secondly all the anachronistic draconian and ante- diluvian religious laws enforced between 1989 to 1996 on the minorities should be scrapped and finished. Thus alone can we say with ''Alama Iqbal"
"Sultaniye Jamhour Ka Aata Hai Zamana.