What the lynching foretells

  • KI Correspondent
  • Publish Date: Jul 7 2017 10:26PM
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  • Updated Date: Jul 7 2017 10:26PM
What the lynching foretells

The lynching of the DSP Ayub Pandith generated some cautious outrage in Valley, where people otherwise benumbed by the exposure to the extreme daily violence tend to take violent incidents in their stride. On social media, people disapproved of the incident but a significant number has not done so without contextualizing it with references to the prevailing Kashmir situation and some recent violence.

 Some people juxtaposed the picture of the lynched officer alongside that of the charred bodies of the three militants killed in an encounter in South Kashmir. Some have rationalized the lynching as a case of mistaken identity with people suspecting the officer to be an intelligence agent as he was in his civvies and carrying a pistol. 

“The lynching is disturbing and it cannot be justified. We cannot compete or become like our oppressor. They cannot be our teachers,” tweeted the activist Mohammad Faysal. He, however, added: “The deceased person was armed and in plainclothes. He was not part of the Mirwaiz's security detail as is being reported”.

The famous Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed wrote: “Awful, awful news coming from Kashmir where a policeman has been lynched to death. This is utterly reprehensible”. However at the same time Waheed slammed the media outrage about the incident: “If your first response to the reprehensible lynching in Kashmir is to categorise Kashmiris as a barbaric people you've got major issues”.

Similarly, the Whatsapp groups were abuzz with the contentious argumentation among the members about the incident, even though the drift of the conversation was against the lynching. 

For Kashmir watchers, the lynching has come as a symbolic representation of the deterioration in the Valley situation where the daily spectacle of the extreme violence has brutalized the society and turned it violent.

“Look at the suspicion, distrust and hate that has now become the daily lived experience of the people. The state has perpetrated the disproportionate violence in response to smaller provocations. The state discourse has become hostile, unsympathetic and indifferent to the humanitarian tragedy in Kashmir,” says the columnist Naseer Ahmad. “Now society is aping the state”.

And this conflict between the state and the society has put J&K Police in an unenviable situation. “We are seen as part of the society and also against the society,” said a police officer not wishing to be named. “So, we become the targets of much of the hate directed against the state”.

In this year alone, J&K Police has lost 16 personnel to the ongoing violence, making them the majority of the 29 security personnel killed so far.

Other major target of the public anger are the mainstream politicians who are popularly called as “pro-India” leaders. And when they take a position on a politically charged violent incident, they are booed and heckled on social media and a position contrary to theirs is taken.

Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah became the target of such social media fury after he tweeted that the DSP’s death was a tragedy and “the manner of his death a travesty”.

“May the people who lynched DySP Pandith burn in hell for their sins,” the second part of his tweet read. 

“Ameen and those too who kept this bloody conflict alive (Abdullahs and Mufti khandan),” posted Mudassir Wani in response. Wani was among the very few Kashmiris who chose to reply to Omar on Twitter.