The Collateral Damage.

It is wedding season, and out there in the field of love there are going to be a lot of fatalities. Well, a fatality is perhaps a strong word but you will see what I mean. In the coming months many of us will attend the lovely wedding ceremonies. You know how it goes down: a couple who have been dating since about the end of the university get married, all of their friends are there, and all goes gloomy. Or may be many of such ceremonies are arranged but still the love birds get enough time to understand each other. Marriages, as they say, are decided in heavens and performed on earth. It is an occasion where two souls become one. Many others even go to the extent of saying that the wife and husband complete each other. And many others give religious references that state that the wife is made from the ribs of the husband. Even the duo is referred to as “better-half” of each other. And at solemnizing the marriage they promise to live together for lives to come. Almost everyone tends to make the relationship an unbreakable bond as marriages are solemnized on oath and affirmation from both the sides and the two souls accept each other, blatantly.
But, this seems to be a past practice that has been rejected by most of the human race, nowadays. Instead of living together in peace for at least a single life has been proven to be a rare occasion. The better halves strive to cut each other into fine halves and even for breaking ribs of each other. The decisions of the heavens seem to have gone wrong. Both the families start to blame that day when the wed-lock happened. All such shift in emotions lead to a bigger tussle which consequently invites the inevitable events. But generally, a marital quarrel is a casual thing and happens everywhere but the trend seems to have changed and the casual is no more casual and the gaffe that could had been handled in a better way is left to develop and becomes a fight for pride and finally a law suit, thereby dragging the ‘pride’ to the courts. The arrogance from both the sides lead to a situation where the so called pride of both the families becomes high and dry and are looked down by everyone. Alike all other battles, in this ‘battle-for-pride’ the one who gets crushed is the weak, who in the latter case is their child[ren]. When parents repeatedly use hostile strategies with each other, most of the children of such families become distraught, worried, anxious and most worriedly hopeless. The couple chooses their fate by their own but the one who is coerced into the oblivion is the child. Desertion due to the break ups between the parents is a form of child abuse. But unfortunately the abusers are their own parents. The abuse is obviously not deliberate neither is it intentionally spiteful and not even conscious. But it is not a mere accident either. Thus children become the collateral damage of the attitude that is adopted by their parents. Children understand resentment and it tells them what is going on and they can work with that. But when parents withdraw and become emotionally unavailable, they do not know what is going on. They just know things are wrong and the withdrawal is a worse trail for them.
Such attitude of the parents lacerate the childhood of their wards, which goes unnoticed by their parents. The frequent fight between the parents sucks the oxygen out of the life of the child and even changes his psych and thus he becomes aggressive and develops behavior problems. Not only is his present affected but his future as well. A deep void gets created inside the body of such a child that no one can fill save for the love and affection of his own parents. The childhood that he was supposed to live under the care and love of his parents just passes by in despair and dilemma. He is forced to live a life of an orphan, even when he actually has both of his parents. Just guess the pain such a kid suffers, maybe we can’t. But we can do much more in order to end such un-noticed abuse and prevent many other children from becoming the collateral damage.
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Death penalty v/s right to life.

Death penalty as many people see it is commonly called by them as barbaric and cruel. They perceive it to be inhuman and infringing the human rights. That is why, many a times steps have been taken for its abolition both at regional as well as international level, where second optional protocol to the international covenant on civil and political rights, 1990 is worth a mention. Such people say that if such a thing or trend is followed it will turn the violators or criminals more furious. Then what about the victims and their families? Also the covenant on civil and political rights in its article 6 refers to the abolition of death penalty, leaving a provision “not arbitrarily”. Also in the universal declaration of human rights it has been laid down in article 3 that “everyone has the right to life…” and in its article 5 it has been said that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”. So all such steps tend to impose an impression that death penalty overall is brutal and inhuman.

Once said by Gandhi that if we continue taking eye for eye one day the world will be blind. Not only Gandhi, but a good lot of people do believe in it and are working for its abolition; and they definitely are disillusioned.

Life, as we know, is dear to every living being. Life is beyond price. Even the animals have a feel for threat, when these get attacked they also retaliate to that attack. This shows that even those, whom we perceive to be senseless, do care for their lives. Then why should not we? So if death penalty would be inflicted in a strict way then it will surely curb the menace of grievous crimes, as it will create a fear of deprivation of their lives.

Life sentence or death penalty, both are given in cases of grievous nature. But I strongly stick to the death penalty where the nature of the crime is grievous, death penalty should be inflicted. The basic reason of evolution of law is social security and social sanctity.

In countries where death penalty is given strictly, we have observed a lower crime rate as compared to others which have abolished the death penalty. Taking an example of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where the crime rate lowest and it is because of the harsher code of conduct which assures its subjects best social security. As clear from the graph the most of the Muslim nations are within the ambit of lower crime rate and it is because of the strict code of conduct the Islam provides.

crime rate all over world

crime rate in different nations. pic from http://www.economist.com

As the abolitionists argue it as inhuman and cruel, the retentionist like me defend it to be just and fair. Let us take an illustration in which a person commits rape of a 6-year-old girl and so she dies or gets killed (jumman khan v. sakina case), what would be the judgment that a sane person would inflict upon the criminal? What would be the justice that her parents would like to inflict upon him? It definitely is “death”. Now here if the maxim given by Gandhi and other abolitionists are followed, the guilty person would be given life term, but will that soothe the victims’ family? Will that ensure the social security that the world at this crucial stage, when the world has turned to be materialistic, needs? Obviously it will not! Rather it will surely encourage the criminal minds to devise and carry out their evil deeds and would pose a continuous threat to the lives and prestige of millions. In another example if a person gets killed brutally and intentionally just for any petty cause, do you think that such a person(s) deserve(s) to live a dignified life even being in jail (article 21 Indian constitution). I, in no case, would like to put such a person in jail/prison to enjoy the dignified life that he has deprived some innocent of.

The countries where the harsher code of conduct is applied do surely care for the lives and dignity of the innocents. And those which do support and encourage the criminals by putting them in jails and have abolished death penalty do without any doubt risk the lives of millions of its citizens for the sake of saving a few beasts.

The abolitionists also argue it to be violating the article 21 of the Indian constitution but that is not the fact, but just an excuse as the article itself says:

“no person should be deprived of his life and personal liberty except by the procedure established by law.”

So the article has left a provision for the state to deprive anybody of his life that would be led by established statutes. The article in itself says that no person should be deprived of his life unnecessarily. But the abolitionists have interpreted it wrongly and tend to misguide the world. India indeed has statutes that determine the degree of criminal liability that might “attract” death penalty for the wrongdoer, for instance Indian penal code, criminal procedure code etc.

The abolitionists also argue that even after inflicting death penalties on the criminals the crime rate in India has not leveled down.

The reason for that lies in the weakness in dispensing the sentence, which is mostly controlled by political motifs. Like in Gujarat riots case the criminals, even after confessing their crimes, were awarded life term. The person(s) who were involved in the commission of crime directly or indirectly were all from some political party. Even after inflicting life term they might have been assured a better life in prison than they would have lived outside. This is the quality of  judicial system that we have in India that we believe in dispensing justice. Even the terrorist Ajmal Kasab has been sentenced to death penalty, but the sentence has not yet been dispensed and it is all because of the political pressure that forces the authorities to delay it.

Again, one more hindrance in the way of inflicting and dispensing death sentence is presidential pardon. Recently, the outgoing president Pratibha Patel pardoned more than 30 persons who were convicted to death for various grievous crimes, which has encouraged the criminals. I am not against the presidential pardon but it must be exercised only in the cases where the president smells a dint of doubt. And that was the basic reason that was behind the rule, but the presidents have used it for their own political or showing off type or unnecessary exaggeration of their pityness, that has risked the lives of millions. By pardoning the presidents impliedly convey that the judicial system of India is good for nothing and are yet to mature. So before doing such a thing in future the president must think twice, if not for the sake of prestige of Indian judicial system but for the sake of lives of millions of its subjects.

Last but not least, the only thing I want to say is that the death penalty  be retained. Such a thing has even been said by lot of learned judges of both high courts and Supreme Court like in case of Jagmohan Singh where court held that the death penalty be retained and inflicted only in “rarest of rare cases”.

Human rights and Kashmir.

From the very inception of the Kashmir insurgency, people started to disappear. Since 1989, more than 8000 individuals have disappeared, a figure that has always remained to be disputed as the state authorities claim it to be lesser. Recently (2011), in northern areas of Jammu and Kashmir several unmarked graves were found. And many of the graves contained more than 2 individuals up to 13. This clearly proves the fact that Kashmir has been a victim of genocide. On this the Indian State used to say that the persons buried in mass graves are the foreign militia who had crossed the borders. If the fact is so then why does not India allow a probe into such graves for the sake of the families of the disappeared persons? India has allowed UN special rapporteur on minorities and UN special rapporteur on human rights but has refused the access to the UN working group on arbitrary detention or the UN special rapporteur on extra judicial killings. Another draconian law with which the uniformed men are vested is public safety act (PSA). In its shadow anybody could be detained on mere doubt, and the security forces, so called, do use it extra-judiciously i.e. for their monetary purposes. Even the international human rights organizations have lost faith that they once had on Indian state. The country specialist for Amnesty International, Govind Acharya, said that detentions through PSA can last for up to two years and thus pale in comparison with enforced disappearances and the numbers are ominously similar. He also called PSA a form of ‘ legalized enforced disappearances’. According to Acharya, the “victims of human rights violations from all sides of the conflict can expect very little from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Since these 20 years of brutal crimes, innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir have been subjected to the atrocities by the armed personals. Numerous women were raped, molested and teased by the men in uniform. Numerous subjects of the state were murdered and were molested in one or the other way. The people of Kashmir had been cry from inception regarding the issues but no one paid heed to them. But the accidental discovery of mass graves by Razia Sultan in BELA district of URI in north KASHMIR, where she found scores of freshly dug pits with 17 human bodies in them. “The monkeys were trying to extract and eat flesh,” she recalls (http://kashmirlife.net/the-daughter/ ). Also now the recent reports and investigations regarding grave human rights violations in Kashmir have turned out to be an eye opener. The recent reports by guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/09/mass-graves-of-kashmir ) and newyork times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/world/asia/23kashmir.html?_r=0 ) have also brought it to the spotlight. Not only these cables but many others have also investigated in the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. These reports do without any doubt point finger towards the men in uniform, may be others are also involved, but that doesn’t give a clean chit to the men in uniform.

All such acts of human rights violations are to be resisted, investigated and the ones who committed such crimes are to be brought to justice. Human rights courts or tribunals have proven successful and fruitful in Europe and other countries, as well. And also the courts of our state are already having piles and heaps of cases yet to be decided. Also the cases of human rights violations for their proceedings require the judges who have expertise in human rights law.

Setting up such a court in Jammu And Kashmir State will be a landmark step, by the state of Jammu and Kashmir and State of India, towards the protection of human rights and administration of justice. And as we know, the governments do not act by their own, in any part of the world. It is the revolutions that force them to either cope up with the ideologies of people, or else are overthrown by people. But such things are possible and had been possible in past by mass support.

 

We by uniting and supporting each other can force the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring in a charter for setting up of a Human rights court. Such an act will send jerking and jolting tremors to the oppressors’’ nerves, which will force them to reconsider the judicial system in Kashmir. With the enactment of armed forces special powers act (AFSPA), state administration has been paralyzed, and pushed to a corner with a status of a “nonchalance spectator”*. The armed forces abduct the activist residents of Kashmir, most of whom do consist teenagers, without prior permission from the local administration i.e. DDC and other high administrative officials. This creates an atmosphere of tension and whimsical situations.

* Quotes:

https://globalvoices.org/2016/07/27/critics-of-military-impunity-take-on-indian-administered-kashmir/