Excerpts: Although people in Jammu and Kashmir have learnt a number of obnoxious terms in the last seventeen years yet the term which has dominated the discourse is “Crackdown”. Legal experts describe the term as “illegitimate, high-handed and atrocious” and opine that such operations in the present atmosphere are uncalled for.
Oxford dictionary defines the term “Crackdown” as “An act or example of forceful regulation, repression, or restraint” while Cambridge explains it as “crushing, quelling, stifling, suppression, forceful prevention; putting down by power or authority. The dictionary adds that it is the oppression of heresy; the quelling of the rebellion and the stifling of all dissent”.
In Jammu and Kashmir, especially in those areas where violence continues in some form, crackdown is a cordon-and-search operation in which security forces surround neighbourhoods or villages and compel all male adults and teenaged boys to assemble for identification.
Those who have faced this say that informer, whose face generally remain covered, working alongside security forces point out to “alleged militants” or militant sympathizers or relatives of the militants, adding that those pointed out are detained without any warrant of arrest memo.
Legal experts say that although the security forces enjoy special powers under various laws but nowhere has anything like crackdown been mentioned in these laws. They add that legal provisions do grant powers to security forces to arrest, search and detain without warrant but carrying out a search operation where threat to the lives of the common man increases cannot be justified …
… He added that crackdown increases the hatred among the people towards the security forces and takes them further away from the road of peace and prosperity. Senior People’s Democratic Party Leader Nizamuddin Bhat said that Crackdown is an obnoxious term.
“These types of operations go against the spirit of human values. Keeping people out in the chill of winter or blistering heat of summer do amounts to committing human rights violations, hence these type of operations should be stopped once and for all,” added Bhat.
He stressed that PDP has always desired to create an atmosphere where peace is restored in the state with dignity. “For restoring peace with dignity, every such operation which can alienate people should be stopped, there are various other ways of conducting search operations,” added the PDP Leader.
President Kashmir Bar Association Mian Abdul Qayoom said that this is the worst form of human rights violation. He stressed that “crackdown” is a punishment given to those people who rise against oppression and tyranny. “There are number of terms which have no legal justification but due to the prevailing uncertainty in the state, security forces hardly take care of legality and illegality while carrying out such operations,” added Qayoom … (full long text).
The writer is a journalist, presently associated with jammu and kashmir’s oldest and widely circulated newspaper, the Kashmir Ties. He can be reached at his mail.