There ought to be a human face to justice
Wonder how things alter overnight over here! You sleep down in a seemingly peaceful ambience and wake up to see the desolate street outside. The stray barking dogs, few men in uniform and a moving police vehicle warning people to stay indoors—you rise to find your place under siege. This is no dreadful dream. It can happen and it happens with us. Occasionally.
So, imagine how fragile our ‘peace’ is! Just a single event tips over the situation in Kashmir. People are caged, media is gagged, info is blocked. The phony peace is shattered into pieces. Thousands of flanking tourists; mega events and festivals; rock bands and solid banquets; tweeting rulers and flying leaders: everything appears so flimsy. You just cannot help but sneer.
And then, all this vindicates the fact that Kashmir continues to be the boiling pot whose lid gets opened as and when required by the stakeholders. Someone from Kashmir, being convicted and hanged, is not just a plain incident. There is a profiling of people, community and faith involved. The trail of history, as such, is not supposed to be fair.
However, what pains is the way the course of law is turned into a political act. Justice is linked up with politics of opportunism and pretense. The death penalty of a convict from Kashmir is timed in a manner that sends a strong appeal to the votebank. More than six years after the Supreme Court verdict, the man is hanged so clandestinely. Even the family of the accused is not given a chance to have his last glimpse.
There ought to be a human face to justice. Justice can be blind but it can’t be brute. Some respect for human sensibility is to be guaranteed under Universal Humanitarian Law. State cannot rebuff mind-count and reflect upon only head-count in its lexicon of justice. There is a need to mull over the very basic notion of justice and re-visit what Amartya Sen termed as the “tyranny of ideas” that actually shapes the delivery of justice. The balance of justice cannot shift as per the state’s understanding of its internal and external domain because as the dynamics change, the perspectives and responses on justice are prone to become situational.
Moreover, one is perplexed over the sudden selective swiftness in executing capital punishment in India. Within three months of Kasab’s execution, another death sentence has been carried out. If the justice is proclaimed to be balanced and unprejudiced, the same response ought to emerge for the cases/situations where State has to be accountable and conscientious. Of late, in the wake of brutal gang rape and murder in Delhi, the state’s response to the recommendations on AFSPA as put in by Justice Verma Committee’s report drew a flak. The silence over AFSPA review exposed the state’s record of its slippery trajectory of “justice” by denying the right to legal redressal to victimized people of areas where AFSPA rules the roost.
Apart from contradictions, the execution of a Kashmiri native also reveals the validity of intentions of the system for concretizing the real stability over here. All such occurrences have proven to be the preamble of a simmering discontent and growing alienation. Over and again. Unfortunately.
Besides, the role played by the ‘national’ electronic media in such episodes has always been dismal and biased. It has again proved that media usually associates with the mind of the state, and joins in the jingoistic chorus loyally. Since the execution, the non-stop coverage of the event has been bloated up by vain talking heads and ‘jubilant’ politicians. No layman voice from Kashmir has been through in the air, except the long shots of desolate roads and patrolling policemen. Perhaps, this is no Pragaash, there is no propaganda stuff to be reported (rocked!) from here. It is all dim and dark.
(The columnist teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 9 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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