(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 29, 2010
From June 11 to August 22,
young people have died in police firings ranging from the age of 8 to
25. Crowds of stone pelting
young men confront the CRPF pickets and the
result invariably has been firing,
leading to deaths and injuries. Every such death has led to further mass
protests and hartals. There is a
sense of alienation and deep anger against the
I had visited
The way the central
the state government have handled the situation is truly appalling. First of all, there has been no distinction
made between tackling mass protests by youth, most of them teenagers,
operations against the militants and terrorist violence.
In incident after incident, the central
paramilitary forces have resorted to firing on stone pelting crowds. Apart from the young boys who have died,
there are hundreds who have been injured and are in hospital with
injuries. If such brutal methods had
been adopted in any other part of the country, there would have been an
and outrage. The Kashmiri people see the
callousness of the central government and the silence about the
inflicted as further evidence that
There is no justification
for the methods adopted by the police to
suppress the protests by the stone pelting crowds, nor can the
imprisonment in jails of juveniles be
condoned. Some of the young people
arrested under the Public Safety Act have been shifted to jails in
Significantly, the Amarnath yatra with 4.5 lakh people participating was held peacefully during this period of mass protests with the cooperation of the locals. This attests to the tolerance and goodwill inherent in Kashmiriyat which is a marked feature of Kashmiri society.
It is wrong to characterise these protests as the handiwork of the LeT and other extremist groups. The outpouring of anger and the intensity of protests are marked by a self-propelling momentum. To miss this and to see it as an engineered movement will only lead to further blunders in handling the situation.
The immediate steps which are required to be taken to bring about a return to normal life and also allow peaceful political activity are as follows:
1. The administration should immediately put a halt to the use of police firing as a means to curb protests. Other methods of crowd control should be utilised. Security forces entering houses during curfew and harassing the inmates, particularly women, should be stopped.
2. All those who have died, or, are injured belong to the poorest sections of the working people. There should be adequate medical treatment and compensation for all the injured in the hospitals. There are a number of injured who will be permanently incapacitated. A programme of rehabilitation and means of livelihood for the sustenance of their families should be worked out.
3. All juveniles held in jails should be released. Cases of a minor nature against them should be squashed.
The draconian powers
conferred by the
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should be curbed.
Our Party has been demanding deletion of the
draconian powers in the Act. Immediately, the
Disturbed Areas Act applied in places like
5. Due to the prolonged economic standstill, many shopkeepers and small enterprises have been ruined. Steps should be taken for reviving their trade and business enterprises and providing financial assistance for the same.
6. Not only is there rampant unemployment among the youth, the daily wage earners have been deprived of their livelihood in the past three months. The government has to urgently initiate steps to generate employment and to compensate those who have lost their livelihood.
7. There is a need to have a credible probe into all charges of police excesses. This must be done speedily and anyone found guilty should be brought to book.
One of the sore points with the people is the failure of the
The history of
The UPA government has a
as far as the political initiatives for
promoting a dialogue are concerned.
What was required was a dialogue which would involve all
sections of the
state. Instead, in the first tenure of
the government, there were the round table meetings held in
The CPI(M) has been
provision of maximum autonomy for the state and
autonomy for the three regions of