Death is inevitable; eventually, every living creature has to die and leave this world. In our part of the world, the news about unnatural deaths has now become the order of the day. On some occasions, we even lose the count of deaths. We are not in a war zone where one considers death a daily routine affair. Instead, we live in the world’s highest militarized zone where we have around one million troops, equipped with high-tech imported weapons.
The killing of combatants is to some extent understandable, though a matter of concern and worrisome too. However, the elimination of non-combatants for having a certain political ideology and opinion should be unacceptable to the state, security, people of opposite views and common masses at large.
The fresh victimisation of such political extremism is the killing of lawyer and activist Babar Qadri, a vocal voice and outspoken young personality whose assassination has surprised people from different walks of life, which is reflected through condemnations and obituaries.
This killing is reminiscent of the assassination of renowned journalist and intellectual Shujaat Bukhari in 2018. It is among the chain of incidents in Kashmir wherein assassinations of thinking brains have become a norm. Instead of combating their arguments using sound counter-arguments and logic, such extra-ordinary people are permanently silenced through the barrel of the gun.
Every person is autonomous to believe in a certain ideology and has a viewpoint, and that ideology can be a dissenting one. This dissent has its stakeholders and followers. Further, the ideology survives the death of its protagonist.
We Kashmiris have been exemplary in condemning the political extremism given such occasions, which though is a healthy sign for a temporary period, however, with the person’s elimination, we unfortunately also bury the ideology. This may be due to the fear psychosis, but to overcome this would be a real tribute to the deceased.
By exploring specifically these assassinations, particularly in the context of Babar’s death, we saw people posting pictures on social media of his two daughters as a mark of solidarity. At the same time, the discussion regarding the ideology of Babar for which he sacrificed his precious life and made the two angels orphan remains untouched. This is indeed the irony; we keep confining ourselves in utilising our energies to mourning, condemning and sympathising, as a result of which the path shown by the victimised person is lost. In a way, we unknowingly waste one’s supreme sacrifice.
I will not touch the other part of the story where the ruling dispensation time and again fails to spare such voices, especially Babar, who would deal with state crafted laws. For stable democratic institutions and a free voice for different ideologies, the responsibility lies upon the state too. If the state fails to stop such killings in a place like Kashmir, it will lead us to further damage.
We lost a person for his unique ideology. It could be me next or you for your ideology and at the end of the day we will be sermonised only by idiots and self-styled illiterate socio-political leaders. This would be very brutal for our coming generations. As such, there we need to spare ideology while burying the deceased.
The writer is a Kashmir based journalist