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J&K: Sajad Lone Asks Authorities to Stop 'Collective Punishment' of Kashmiris

Anees Zargar |
The JKPC leader flayed the rounding up of hundreds of people, especially Over Ground Workers, after the recent killings by suspected militants.
The JKPC leader flayed the rounding up of hundreds of people, especially Over Ground Workers, after the recent killings by suspected militants.

Image Courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: Former minister and president Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) Sajad Gani Lone on Thursday slammed the “rounding up” of individuals, both young and old, by the police in the past 24 hours, according to a party statement.

"In the name of OGWs (Over Ground Workers), hundreds of people have been rounded up in the past 24 hours. These are people who may have had a past in militancy but are now law-abiding citizens for the past two decades. They are grandfathers, fathers, and livelihood earners. How can an entire generation be punished and for how long? For a mistake that they made, are they going to be punished eternally for all times to come," Lone said in a statement. 

Lone added that the authorities must refrain from indulging in “collective punishment” of Kashmiris.

Lone argued that the prevalent approach of what he termed as “macro-level punishment” has been in practice for the past three decades and has yielded no positive results.

"What is the concept of reintegration in a conflict? Macro policing is not the answer. We are all pained by the incidents of violence. But good policing would mean micro-investigation, not macro punishment. And this is not something new. This has been the rule for the past three decades. All governments are culpable of this crime. But we need closure,” Lone added.

Lone also called for a re-evaluation of existing lists, particularly the OGW list, and urged authorities to distinguish fact from fiction.

Taking a dig at the National Conference (NC), Lone added that the OGW list was compiled under previous governments including the NC. “They would add anybody who didn’t vote for them, especially during 1996 to 2002," he added.

"Hauling a father or a grandfather who is now a senior citizen to the local police station is a humiliating experience. How would you expect the youngsters in the family to react to such events? Investment in India is an investment in the youth. Don’t turn them away,” he said. 

The authorities have heightened security in the region following a fresh spate of violence in which a policeman and a non-local labourer were killed and another policeman was injured in three separate attacks since Sunday. The political parties, including NC and People’s Democratic Party, however, have often blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for mishandling the region and projecting a ‘false’ normalcy.

“Kashmiris are in the process of breaking free from a vicious cycle of violence, and these macro policing events act as impediments to the existing process," Lone said.

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