Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, cry of pain over ‘every killing in Kashmir even that of militants” is something that is being heard for the first time from the corridors of power in the state. “I am pained over every killing even that of militants’. Militant killings won’t end the real problem of Kashmir,” the governor said while talking to the media on the sidelines of 9th Sat Paul Sahni Memorial Lecture on ethics and the media organised by Indian Institute of Public Administration. He said that his administration was making all efforts for the return of youth, who have joined militant ranks. Malik is widely known for making statements since he was appointed governor of the state in August, last year. His latest statement, however, appears more to be humane than political.
He now seems to have grasped the feel of the people with guns as well. “I think militancy is not in guns but in brains. We are trying to remove the militancy that is hitting the brains. We ask them (militants) to return so that they are rehabilitated and shun the path of militancy,” he said. Governor, at the same moment showered praise on security forces as well for carry out operations against militants in what he said freezing cold and said that “I am doing my best to provide them all the facilities they deserve. When we are sleeping at 3 am, they conduct operations in snow outside”. Around six hundred persons including 252 militants have been killed in the past one year in Kashmir. The Governor, however, appears to be missing one crucial point while saying that militant-killing pains him. “Killing a militant” is a standard procedure approved and adopted by the government for years in Jammu and Kashmir.
Every militant in Kashmir has been categorized in different grades, according to his name, fame and fighting capabilities. There is a price on the life of each militant. The price is not in thousands but in lakhs. Security forces are rewarded in cash and in some cases service promotion for killing of each militant. A huge net of informers has also been set up to gather information about militant movement against financial considerations and jobs. Former finance minister Haseeb A Drabu, in an article in Indian Express, has correctly characterized it as an “employment-generating murder matrix” where even civilian deaths are not a criteria or even a negative consideration. “The only parameter of success is death of a militant”, he wrote. Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat has widened this “murder-matrix” by including those unarmed civilians into it who gather near encounter sites in support of militants.
More than 30 civilians have been killed by security forces during protests at encounter sites across the valley, last year. In Pulwama seven civilians, four of them teenaged school boys died after forces opened fire during an encounter with militants. It was the most savage way of killing as videos circulated on social media showed troopers firing bullets indiscriminately towards civilian residents seemingly with no provocation. Governor Sat Pal Malik needs to have a relook on the procedures of operations security forces opt with. If he is really pained at the killing of every Kashmiri, then the standard operational procedures need to be changed. In the first place, the reward and job company should be closed down and security forces should be told to make efforts to get the militants surrender. Otherwise it would bring no change on ground.