16 April, 2021

Shooting Down Slogans

Treating protest as terror in Kashmir is a gross error of proportion

Illustration by Sorit
Shooting Down Slogans

Yet another bystander died recently at the hands of stone pelters, this time in Srinagar. Once again, anger was directed against those who resorted to this form of violence and the separatists. A few months ago, the Jammu & Kashmir government invoked Section 121 of the IPC (waging war) against 15-18-year-old pelters. At least 300 young men have been picked up and booked under J&K’s Public Security Act for two years. But the decision to charge them for high treason, which invites the death penalty, raises several issues. For one, there is the issue of proportionality. Stone pelters, like the Palestinian youth who used sling-shots, were met with armed security forces who carry AK-47s, SLRs, tear-gas shells and water cannons. Not to mention the extraordinary powers they  have under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (J&K), 1990. For another, no distinction is made between the juvenile among them and adults. And there is no attempt to explain what compels young men to pelt stones at the security forces.

The J&K...

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