Repression is bound to further alienate the people and lead to more unrest
PUCL press statement on situation in Kashmir
-- by Prabhakar Sinha, PUCL President and Pushkar Raj, General Secretary, 18 August 2010
The PUCL strongly condemns the continuing killing of unarmed protesters in police firing in the Kashmir valley even if a few from the crowd might have pelted stones at the police or the security forces. The policy of bullets for brickbats followed throughout the country is inhuman even under a dictatorship and is totally unacceptable in a democracy. The government should have by now so trained and equipped the police and security forces as to ensure that in dealing with unarmed angry protesters in the country no life is lost on either side.
The PUCL would also like to draw the attention of the nation to the significant fact that the people of Kashmir had remained peaceful from 1947 to the end of 1980s and shown no inclination towards terrorism despite wars having been fought against Pakistan over Kashmir and Pakistan’s efforts to foment trouble there. The present situation in which a large number of people are alienated and disaffected is the consequence of the mishandling of the situation and a callous disregard for the feeling of outrage of the people against the killing and disappearance of a large number of innocent persons. Had the government policy been to punish the guilty policemen or members of the security forces perpetrating these crimes instead of protecting them by subverting the course of justice, people in such a large number would not have risen in the unarmed revolt to which we are a witness today.
The PUCL urges the government both at the centre and the state to protect the life and liberty of the innocent persons rather than protecting those who are guilty of unjustifiably killing them in fake encounters, mysterious disappearances and indulging in the unacceptable practice of bullets for brickbats. It is only by guaranteeing the rule of law and winning the confidence of the people in the governments’ commitment to fair play and justice that lasting peace can be ensured. Repression is bound to further alienate the people and lead to more unrest. The PUCL strongly urges the governments concerned to adopt a humane approach to end the shedding of blood and to work for winning the confidence of the people who have been alienated as a result of their wrong policies.