Anarcho-environmentalism allegorised

The name Anaarkali in the present context has many meanings - Anaar symbolises the anarchism of the Bhils and kali which means flower bud in Hindi stands for their traditional environmentalism. Anaar in Hindi can also mean the fruit pomegranate which is said to be a panacea for many ills as in the Hindi idiom - "Ek anar sou bimar - One pomegranate for a hundred ill people"! - which describes a situation in which there is only one remedy available for giving to a hundred ill people and so the problem is who to give it to. Thus this name indicates that anarcho-environmentalism is the only cure for the many diseases of modern development! Similarly kali can also imply a budding anarcho-environmentalist movement. Finally according to a legend that is considered to be apocryphal by historians Anarkali was the lover of Prince Salim who was later to become the Mughal emperor Jehangir. Emperor Akbar did not approve of this romance of his son and ordered Anarkali to be bricked in alive into a wall in Lahore in Pakistan but she escaped. Allegorically this means that anarcho-environmentalists can succeed in bringing about the escape of humankind from the self-destructive love of modern development that it is enamoured of at the moment and they will do this by simultaneously supporting women's struggles for their rights.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Extra Judicial Killing

Extra judicial killing by security forces continues in this country despite several hard rulings against it by the Higher Courts. Burhan Wani, the commander of the Hizb ul Mujahideen insurgent group in Kashmir fighting for Kashmiri independence, could have been apprehended after he was surrounded by just laying an indefinite siege but the trigger happy security forces, possibly angered by the recent killing of eight CRPF jawans in an attack by the Lashkar eTaiba, another cross border armed group and also by the killing of Col. M.N. Rai by insurgents earlier in a similar situation when after agreeing to surrender they came out firing at the forces, decided to go for the kill. Revolutionaries, militants and criminals may not have much respect for the law but that does not give a licence to the security forces, who are charged with maintaining the law, to break it.
After Burhan I am sure somewhere in India some Indian citizen has got killed by some security personnel or other as this happens regularly across the country. According to National Crime Records Bureau statistics on an average there are about 4 custodial deaths by the police alone every day in India!!!! if the paramilitary and military are taken into account this figure will be even higher. This is because there is a culture of impunity for state forces and they frequently take liberty with the law. In practical terms there will be some extra judicial killings because of the situation in which an encounter takes place between a militant, armed revolutionary or criminal and the security forces which are tasked with snuffing out armed resistance to the might of the State. However, to ensure that this kind of killing does not get out of hand, as it is bound to do given the huge power of the State vis a vis the citizen, there are clear provisions in the Constitution, other statutes and Supreme Court and High Court rulings to regulate them. There are clear provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which clearly lay out the right of accused to a due process of law regardless of the nature of their crimes which is the basis of a liberal democratic and just dispensation and India is a signatory to this.
Secondly, there is the important issue of the legitimacy of the State in the eyes of the citizen. If there are too many extra judicial killings then the State begins to lose its legitimacy and the citizens tend to take the law into their own hands which is a very dangerous situation. Especially so in insurgency hit areas and even more so in an area like Kashmir where Pakistan is funding the insurgency. One does not know how many Kashmiris support the call for freedom from India but definitely there are a significant number of Kashmiris who don't including the whole of the Kashmiri ruling class regardless of political colour. However, there is enough evidence to show that the security forces in their over reach have struck against civilians indiscriminately and many innocents have been affected and this has led to mounting disaffection and anger against the Indian State. Indeed Burhan himself was motivated to join the insurgency after the security forces needlessly brutalised his brother Khalid. The situation today in Kashmir, from the point of view of the Indian State, is not as bad as it used to be in the 1990s primarily because of a huge military and security presence which has more or less hobbled the insurgency on the ground. Even though this heavy military presence is primarily directed towards preventing a recurrence of the kind of plannned intrusion into Indian territory by the Pakistani military in Kargil in 1989, it has also wiped out the armed insurgency with the number of active armed militants coming down from several thousands to just over a hundred or so. However, this has come at a huge cost to the exchequer. If the insurgency could be eliminated then the military presence would only have to be on the border against Pakistan and there would not be the need for such a heavy deployment. Insurgencies can never be eliminated by the use of force alone. There has to be a dialogue also and for that the State must have some legitimacy in the eyes of the insurgents and their supporters. The insurgents are like fish in a pond. if there is no water in the pond then the fish will die. there is obviously a lot of water in the pond as was demonstrated by the huge flare up protesting the killing of Burhan recently and which is still going on with determined resistance to the Indian State by citizens demanding independence for Kashmir. Admittedly Pakistan has had a hand in supporting both the insurgency and in fanning the protests after the killing of Burhan but why is it that there are so many people in Kashmir prepared to listen to Pakistan rather than India? So even if Burhan was a dreaded militant who had the blood of many on his hands and he was constantly urging more people to join the insurgency, nevertheless, not only from the human rights angle but also from the tactical angle there should have been a visible attempt by the Indian State forces to apprehend him and bring him to trial rather than kill him out right. Instead the security forces followed the Israeli strategy of killing at the first opportunity which has not really helped Israel in any way in snuffing out the Palestinian Intifada. Israel can afford to follow such a strategy because its military adventurism is funded by the USA but we have to fund our own security from our own taxes and that means that we have less for development work if that security bill escalates as it has done in Kashmir and other insurgency hit areas of the country due to a hawkish policy.

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