Saturday, June 26, 2010

Red is my orchard

There is mild rain in Sopore. This is a small borough with lots of apple orchards and apricot trees, that are salmon pink this time of the year. There is shrieking this evening. The distant wails come to me in mockery of the pounding of my heart. Two kids, ages 14 and 17, too young for beards, were put to death a few hours ago. Shot dead from point blank as they attempted to knock themselves out with cops. Irrational exuberance – the government press release shall in all probability suggest. Instant martyrs – the townspeople have already picketed in.

A bunch of kids attacking a CRPF/SOG vehicle is a good enough alibi for the jackboots to open fire on them. Standard operative procedure can be thrown to wind when harsh non-indulgent laws exist. In case of extreme provocation there is an option to aim at legs or in the air. Like today in Sopore, and last week in Srinagar, the guns are targeted either at chest or in the head. If the idea is to instill fear and intimidation in people by firing live ammunition with an intent to kill, then apparently it is not working. There should have been no Sopore today after what happened in Srinagar a few days back.

Clearly the government has got it awfully wrong in Kashmir. Cornered like a wild Chimp, it lunges at little boys who chase it. The official version notwithstanding – any confrontation between stone-holding youngsters and massively armed troopers – is disproportionate. As a result any death resulting out of such a face-off puts a serious question mark on the government’s cavalier attitude. It becomes a savage cycle thereafter and incidents such as these further provoke the hostility of people. The separatists simply tap the alienation.

As I blog it is evening time in Sopore. Two more homes are chopfallen in the cursed paradise. Little sisters’ running barefoot after an irate mob that carries their dead brothers’ is nightmarishly painful. Their eyes were like alien moons. They are simple, poor people and they don’t deserve to die like this. I don’t have an exact expression for my regular journalist friends in New Delhi or London as to why these kids fell today. I don’t know what frenzy is this. Is it a jinx around our necks or have we become somewhat unhinged in our heads? I can’t fathom.

Pray just don’t tell me there is yet another probe. That sounds like an expletive now.

© Sameer