Brutal Killing of Bus Passengers at Butingu

Kashmir : Objective Facts and Subjective inference

Dr G.M.Athar
July 14, 2017 OPINION 235 Views
Brutal Killing of Bus Passengers at Butingu

The Anantnag district of Kashmir has witnessed in the past a series of three massacres namely Chattisinghpora,Pathribal and Barakpora and the recent massacre in which 7 bus passengers were killed and 11 others injured at Butingu is the fourth heinous crime against humanity in the district. It is an irony that both state and non-state actors holding the gun in their hands blame each other for shedding the blood of innocent civilians. The two neighbours leave no stone unturned to accuse each other of human rights violations in Kashmir. The international community and human rights organizations have also failed in the past to help in identifying the perpetrators of serious human rights violations in Kashmir to bring them to justice.
The unfortunate incident of killing 7 bus passengers and injuring other 11 of them at Butingu, Anantnag Kashmir on 10th July at around 8.20 PM has to be analyzed in the light of both objective facts and subjective inferences to arrive at some conclusion. As per the directives of Amarnath Shrine Board every pilgrim to the holy cave must properly register himself before starting his/her journey to Kashmir. Keeping in view this directive the passengers in the said bus were not legally the Amarnath pilgrims as they had not registered themselves as pilgrims to the holy cave. Secondly the transport vehicles carrying the pilgrims to the destination should also be registered with concerned organization but the said bus was not registered as per the law of the land. Thirdly no vehicle carrying the Amarnath pilgrims is permitted to operate after 7.p.m. but the driver of the passenger bus in violation of the prescribed rule has continued his travel beyond set time limit. Fourthly, the law enforcement agencies on duty from Gujjrat to Amarnath have failed to check the documents of the illegitimate pilgrims travelling illegally to Kashmir for pilgrimage. The illegal journey by the bus driver from Gujjrat to Baltal carrying the unauthorized passengers has been therefore illegally facilitated by the government agencies. Fifthly, if the encounter with the militants was going on at Butingu when the passenger bus passed through, how can one blame the militants only not the security forces for killing and injuring the passengers?
Amarnath pilgrimage has been historically a religious ritual but during the present phase of militancy in Kashmir it assumed a political character.The ban on Amarnath Yatra was announced by Harkatul Ansar in 1994.Other pro-Pakistan groups like the Hizbul Mujahedin supported the ban. Their refrain: the yatra is as important to the Hindus as Hazratbal is to the Muslims and since prayers had not been offered at the mosque since the army lifted its siege on November 16, 1993, there was no reason why the yatra should be allowed. From 1990 to 1993 the yatra had been conducted peacefully, with the number of pilgrims taking part only increasing with each passing year. In 1990, the first year after the militants’ slogan for azadi gained widespread currency, there were 4,000 pilgrims.Their number swelled to 30,000 in 1991, to 50,000 in 1992 and finally to 75,000 in 1993. In the year 1994 the figure was estimated to cross a lakh until the militants came up with their threat. The central government made it a point of prestige to under political pressure to provide security cover to the pilgrims visiting Amarnath Shrine. The pilgrimage was politicized and the number of pilgrims visiting the holy cave increased year after year much beyond the daily carrying capacity of the Kashmir region.
There are two kinds of subjective inferences being made about the recent massacre at Butingu.The government is blaming the Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Toiba to have launched the armed attack on the Amarnath pilgrims. The objective of the militants as per the official version is to disrupt the Amarnath Yatra to challenge the Indian military might in Kashmir. In fact the Government of India is directly blaming the Government of Pakistan for fomenting terrorism in Kashmir by aiding the militant organizations to destabilize India. Contrary to this, Syed Salah-ud-Din the supreme commander of United Jihad Council has blamed the Government of India for stage managing the Butingu massacre to defame the ongoing armed struggle against Indian occupation in Kashmir.
There are certain pertinent questions that can be asked from the state and the central government to answer them. Firstly, one can ask the government why this special favour to the bus driver and the passengers of the ill-fated bus for facilitating their illegal pilgrimage? Secondly, the driver who violated the established transport norms during the Amarnath Yatra has been officially rewarded, rather than arresting him for breaking the rules and regulations of the Amarnath Shrine Board. Thirdly, what specific proof the authorities have to blame the militants only for killing the passengers and absolving the state forces involved in the encounter with the militants at Butingu. More importantly, In normal cross firings the authorities take weeks together to identify the militants but in the Butingu case how did they reach the conclusion that it is the handiwork of Pakistan base Lashkar-e-Toiba and the main culprit has been identified one Pakistani national namely Ismail.
The non-partisan and neutral human rights organizations like United Nations Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and Asia Watch etc. must come forward to investigate the Butingu massacre to bring to justice the perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity in Kashmir.The politicization of the massacres of the innocent civilians in Kashmir by both India and Pakistan is a very dangerous trend that has to be stopped at any cost.
The sustained campaign of the Government of India against Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir is not sufficient to address the longstanding Kashmir problem. The efforts of Indian Prime Minister to raise the issue of terrorism during his participation in recent summits such as Shanghai Cooperation Organization at Astana and G-20 Summit in Germany as well as during his visits to Italy, France, Neither Lands, Russia, United States, Israel etc. are one sided version of the reality in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir. The political morality and high ethical standards of political leadership demands that both India and Pakistan must come out of the blame game on each other and take practical steps to address the 70 year old Kashmir problem to the satisfaction of the parties to the political and territorial dispute over Jammu and Kashmir.

Email :

Related articles