[Reader-list] More on little kashmiri boys

Junaid justjunaid at gmail.com
Mon Mar 1 20:44:42 IST 2010

Hi Sonia,

Thanks for sending in Ahmed Ali Fayaz's interesting report on "Bacha
Khour" gang. It surely does complicate our understanding of how
"stone-pelters" have  developed multiple connections. At 12 and 13
years' of age these hardened criminals seem to be quite savvy and
entrepreneurial, enough to play around with the politicians, the
police, the separatists, and even the CM! These ruffians with very
terrifying names: Meena Kumari, Itchguard, the lowest of the urchins,
seem to have suddenly become a pain for all the above grandees, but
above all to the "silent majority," the "99 percent of the
population--which according to the article is constituted by an
"influential businessmen", " a "trader" and the "Beopar Mandal
president"--who is also a "Jammati-Islami rakun."

It is surprising that the silent majority of old town Baramulla was on
the streets not too long ago. In the protests against Amarnath land
grab, old town Baramulla's silent majority was the first one to come
out to protest. The first major rally started from there. More than
60000 people from Old Town and adjoining villages came out for the
"Muzzafarabad Chalo" march. It was people from this place who were
killed, around 5 of them, when Indian troops fired at the rally in
Sangrama, which also killed Hurriyat leader Sheikh Aziz. Overall,
since 2008 around 20 people have been killed in the town by the CRPF,
and one by the "bacha khour" stone-pelters. The unfortunate death of
Irfan is uncondonable and those responsible should be brought to
book--yet in all likelihood it looks like it was accidental, if you
heard what the mother had to say.

Accident or whatever, it was cruel. There are only very few deaths and
injuries in Kashmir that evoke "aahs" and "uffs" of our Dilliwala
bleeding-hearts or stir media houses into a frenzy to sip to the last
dregs "tragic human stories" (which, for them, are actually feel-good
stories--"well, see, we are not the only ones doing the
killings"--even if we do most of them!). So, I am not surprised about
the media "reaction" to Irfan's death. It is the same media which just
celebrated CBI's criminal report on Shopian rape case. There is a fine
line between objectivity and nationalism, and Indian media is not only
unaware of it, but has placed itself at the unethical end of
right-wing nationalism.

Old town Baramulla has always defied government control and it is not
a new  feature. These old towns and the downtowns are the working
class hubs in the Kashmir valley, but they are also centers for
small-scale artisans, who don't care about government jobs.
Businessmen, really, do not form the silent majority there.

Geelani sahab and his Islamist followers are worried that these
stone-pelters are on their own, that they don't listen to them. Which
is kind of the opposite of what he wanted at the Eid Gah rally in
2008, where in front of a million people he claimed to be the sole
leader of Kashmiris, amid boos and eewws.

I understand that your earnestness in posting these news-reports is in
good faith, and it is not a feel-good thing for you. I, like you, hope
that those who were involved are punished.


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