Kashmir graves: Where is the humanity India?

Published: September 4, 2011

Someone, somewhere in Kashmir, a mother or father, a wife or a sister, is grieving and desolately wondering whether those numerous unmarked graves hold their flesh and blood. PHOTO: REUTERS

Ongoing famine in Somalia; the Libyan rebels capturing the world’s imagination as they oust Qaddafi; Israel bombing Gaza after Hamas lashes out and more violence in Karachi. After one week of news in our world, I am reeling. These tragic events that I have touched upon do little to explain the sorry state of our world.

It’s been one hell of a week; one hell of a month; one hell of a year; one hell of a decade.

You might know it and I might know it, however, most of the world’s screams fall upon deaf ears.

Nevertheless I am going to raise my voice.

Someone, somewhere in Kashmir, a mother or father, a wife or a sister, is grieving and desolately wondering whether those numerous unmarked graves hold their flesh and blood. This image is terribly sad. However, it is the Indian officials’ statement to the discovery of those bullet-ridden bodies that has made me feel sick:

“Indian officials have repeatedly claimed that those buried in unmarked graves were militants – most of those Pakistanis – who were killed in clashes with security forces.”

I’m not contesting India’s right to deal with supposed Pakistani militants, nor am I supporting militancy. However, both Indian and international human rights organizations have shown that the people being killed by security forces are not always militant. Surely that is not the point? How about some common decency and respect? Where is India’s humanity in all this? 

Militant or not, these people are lost to loved ones who have been pining for them and desperately hoping for their safety. These nameless bodies were human beings with families, and they deserve more than the official Indian response thus far. What the Indian officials have said is a potent remark about their take on the value of human life.

Surely, India would not be so crude so as to allow this to be another number to be added to the many numbers that already exist in the Kashmir dispute? Dispute- this is such a mediocre word that does no justice to the on-going nightmare the people of Kashmir now wake up to along with graves holding people they just might know.

It would seem that to them that, these bodies, these lives mean nothing – that they are mere targets to gun down in the name of security. This is just wrong. Journalists down-playing this by claiming these graves should not come as a surprise to us, equally shocking and horrible.

Do these bodies not deserve an ounce of respect? Do they not deserve to be laid to rest? Do the families living in limbo not deserve to know what happened to their loved ones?

So I will say the thing that I am not supposed to say- If this was the other way around and countless unmarked graves had been discovered in Pakistan – the world would raise havoc, and they wouldn’t be wrong in doing so. I, in no way mean to imply that Pakistani officials would do anything about it – they are just as useless as the Indian officials are. What I’m pointing out is the whole world would be incarcerating us and would be right to do so. I’m sure at the very least; we’d be apologizing to someone if not to the world. Why is more pressure not being put on India?

The people buried in these graves, regardless of what they’ve done or haven’t done should be dealt with more humanely. They deserve our respect and certainly something more than to be an unexplained corpse in an unmarked grave. Every single person in this world deserves more than that – but sadly millions and millions will never get it. The bodies discovered in India are a poignant and explicit testimony to the character and calibre we lack.

Therein lies our world – our godforsaken world.

Sahar Aman

Sahar Aman

A freelance writer who has previously worked in Pakistan as a broadcast journalist and blogs at confessionsofasuicidalprincess.wordpress.com.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Abhi:

    If you read similar article in indian news paper about Baluchistan you will also respond in the similar way.

    There is a big “if” in your statement, and am not talking about “ifs” , am talking about “facts” .

    Our concern for Kashmir is not only humanitarian but national and strategic as well, secondly you must learn why the referendum is done ,a referendum is done where there is any resistance put forward by the people, or where there exist any confusion about state laws or people are opposing the rule.
    Asking for referendum in Azad Kashmir is similar to asking for referendum in Karachi Lahore or Islamabad, so its the most stupid thing 2 say, and correct your knowledge regarding the word Azad, its is called as Azad Kashmir , because it gained “Independence” from indian occupation , it is not referred as Azad because its “Azad” from Islamabad, secondly there are different parts of Pakistan with different laws, like Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and FATA , and LOL at you calling UN for referendum , if Azad Kashmir is not a troublesome area, there is not dispute within then what is the need of UN there ? Tell me the “reason” of the referendum in a state where the writ of the government is fully established, and working fully without even a single protest or anarchy . and Look at Jammu Kashmir, you cant deny that indian forces had been facing stiff resistance since you occupied it , there had been protests, killings, rapes , abductions and in 2008 some parties boycotted the elections due to all the same reasons, so there exist a number of reasons of why a referendum should be done in J&Kashmir and not a single reason to do that in Azad Kashmir, and one thing more you call Azad kashmir as Pakistani occupied and we call Indian kashmir as Indian occupied so there is no debate on these termsRecommend

  • Hammad

    Our concerns should be bigger than ‘what if it was Pakistan who did it?’

    What we should always keep in mind is that those bodies discovered in the mass graves of kashmir were human beings first. Indians, Pakistanis, militants, terrorists later. The scale of human catastrophe taking place in kashmir is truly eye watering. Who is to blame for this? India ,Pakistan lets just forget these useless arguments which can go on for hours.

    What we should understand is that innocent people die in Kashmir while people in India and Pakistan seem to be incapable of solving the problems between them.Recommend

  • suresh_parashar

    @Dianuj Rafaz Nahk:

    What you say is completely unrealistic. I am sure You know the truth. The presence of armed forces is to protect Indian citizens from those sneaking into Indian side from across the border. These people may be either from Pakistan or locals trained by terrorists’ camps in Pakistan. And its responsibility of any country to protect its citizens any such threat. Recommend

  • Muzaahir

    @suresh_parashar: like i said,the ONLY contry that needs 8 millions troops to “protect” its citizens….India should worry and ponder why it needs this much of any army on its on Land,thats my point.Recommend

  • Abhi

    @Saad

    “Our concern for Kashmir is not only humanitarian but national and strategic as well”
    In that case asking this rehtorical question “where is humanity India” is meaningless. And startegic and national interest of Pakistan are no concern for me.

    “secondly you must learn why the referendum is done ,a referendum is done where there is any resistance put forward by the people”

    So the Baloch demand of refrendum is legitimate in this case.

    ” it is not referred as Azad because its “Azad” from Islamabad”
    So you admit it is not really Azad, you are at least frank enough to admit it and FYI this is not official Pakistani view.

    You are really confused with the UN resolution on Kashmir and probaly not aware that they are applicable to so called azad kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan as well. check with any knowledgeble person if you want.Recommend

  • Abhi

    @Muzaahir
    India is second most populous country in the world but army wise it is third largest. Your all weather friend China has twice the size of Indian forces. Also Pakistan has more troups in proportion to its population (Half the size of India while population and area wise it one sixth). So what is exactly your point?Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Abhi:
    I said its not “just” “humanitarian”, means “humanitarian” concern still exists .,

    So the Baloch demand of referendum is legitimate in this case.

    When did the Balochis demanded referendum ?

    ” it is not referred as Azad because its “Azad” from Islamabad”

    Can you please learn some English ? You said in your prev. post that if its Azad then why it reports to Isl. , so in response I said that we call is Azad because its Azad from India, my statements didnt say that its not Azad . and Why a Pakistani province/state will operate independently , they have provincial Government, and Provincial Government always report to the Federal Govt. ,doesnt it ? All States are linked to capital , arent they ? Doesn’t Jammu & Kashmir report to Delhi ?

    FYI this is not official Pakistani view.

    So can you tell me what is the official Pakistani view ?

    You are really confused with the UN resolution on Kashmir and probaly not aware that they are applicable to so called azad kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan as well. check with any knowledgeble person if you want.

    LOL Is that knowledgeable person you ? Can you tell me what is the UN resolution about these areas ? and how does it applies to this ? Recommend

  • Owais Ahmed

    @Saad: Can’t believe you’re still wasting your time on idols dude.. their hearts are what they worship.Recommend

  • http://Boston Sundeep

    @Saad

    UN resolution is for entire Kashmir not just to the Indian administered Kashmir. Can’t believe you were the one accusing Indians on lack of knowledge!Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Sundeep:

    Do You know that there are over 25 UN resolutions on Kashmir since 1948 , presented by both India and Pakistan , which one would be applied ? the 1971 resolution, 53 or 48 ? how can you possibly apply the decades old resolution in the current times ?

    @Owais Ahmed:

    I just cant digest the distorted facts. Recommend

  • TAHIR

    I think accidentally you have inserted the wrong picture …as I think this is NOT that of Kashmir……….Rather this picture is of RABWAH where more then 60 burials took place in May / june 2010 of Lahore massacre in the Ahmadi mosques………..please check it out.Recommend