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Summer of Summary Dismissals

A long regime of repression in the form of certain draconian measures, denial of justice, victimisation of dissident voices, a suffocating control over an otherwise vibrant press in Kashmir and above all a complete gag on the freedom of speech have not achieved a zilch in restoring even a semblance of peace, calm and stability to this region over the past thirty odd years.

The recent dismissal from their services of three government employees in the Kashmir valley including a school teacher Idrees Jan of Govt Middle School in a village in Kupwara is deeply disturbing, and for a number of reasons. Not the least because the necessary formalities as dictated by the govt. service rules were followed not in implementation but in their brazen violation before terminating him from his services. The utter disregard and contempt for the due process of law by the UT Administration is evident in the manner in which it has sought to dispense with the employee’s services where as basic a formality as serving a show cause notice to him has not been followed, nor have reasons been given/made public other than a casual reference to his “activities as to warrant his dismissal from service” in the relevant order, and without even providing a shred of evidence to that effect. Equally disturbing is the inexplicable refusal of the Admn. to hold an enquiry into the case while seeking refuge in the thoroughly ludicrous and inane plea: “in the interests of the security of the State” in the said order.

It just can’t get crazier than that, considering that a country as powerful as India would seem to be threatened by a poor, voiceless, nondescript ordinary school teacher who doesn’t have the resources to do more than merely struggle to scrape a living for his family who has been victimised for an act that he may or may not have committed, but that is taken for granted as a fundamental right elsewhere.

Let me pause to highlight one simple but a vitally important issue for the consideration of those who are there, exercising unbridled power and control over this place and over the lives of its people. A long regime of repression in the form of certain draconian measures, denial of justice, victimisation of dissident voices, a suffocating control over an otherwise vibrant press in Kashmir and above all a complete gag on the freedom of speech have not achieved a zilch in restoring even a semblance of peace, calm and stability to this region over the past thirty odd years. Among the greatest casualties of this gag have been the seats of higher learning, the universities, colleges and other institutions as the fonts of knowledge and of new ideas, which have been turned into veritable graveyards where even a murmur of protest could land one jobless and be condemned behind the bars.

But why, after all, have we landed into such a sombre state of affairs? Only because such measures just won’t achieve anything other than that! And that’s because such anti-people measures are inherently structured, ‘programmed by nature’ if you like, not to win, but to lose the hearts, the goodwill and fellow feeling of those who are being dragooned on a path that would bring nothing but doom and despair to them, and sadly not the least to their tormentors in equal measure. Come to think of it, isn’t that a case of total policy paralysis that has failed, and failed spectacularly? Isn’t it plain that persisting with such failed strategies would end up being counterproductive?

Which is why the need has never been greater for thinking out of the box, of devising far simpler, more practical and promising strategies including the option of reaching out, of understanding the mood and pulse and the genuine aspirations of the people through sustained dialogue, discussion and deliberation. Else the people of Kashmir including their “lords and masters” being imposed upon them from above shall be left wailing and whining till eternity. That is certainly no wishful nay saying, but part of the ineluctable lessons of history that we can’t afford to be lost upon us and that we shall ignore, but at our own peril

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by M A Sofi

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