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Who Killed Babar Qadri and How We Should Respond?

By Nayyar N Khan

Scores of human rights defenders every year pay the highest price for defending the right of others. Sacrificing own life for the sake of shielding the political, social and economic rights of others while staying with the right course of history in itself embeds high moral character and “ a audacious pledge afarimagination”.

Political assassinations have been a violent and ugly tool of the greed driven negative tendencies even since the early days of human civilization although those early civilizations were not even aware of the word “politics” or any of its synonyms. What drove the early humans to do that was indisputably self-indulgence and lust for power and fame. In the absence of modern day laws and justice system those early assassins would get away with this atrocious act thus giving rise to the phenomenon of “might is right”. Our population gradually increased on this planet and so the spectrum of naked lands obviously got populated and also expanded. Both the positivity and negativity in the form of inherent, evolved, absorbed or transmitted forms also migrated with the cruise of human civilization from one phase to another or from one part of the planet to another. The voyage that began as homosapien(scientific verdict) or creation of human (theological belief) to modern day civilized human had progressively carried the virtues of both the positive and negative energies through rocky roads of history.  

Even in the modern day civilized world, where the laws are intact as a social contract with the states and citizens both as obligations and rights, carnages and eliminations are becoming an increasing tendency for political, social and economic advantages. These heinous acts have violently amplified during the cold war era when the enmities were leveled using proxies. Cold war ended three decades ago but proxies who were trained by both the camps kept on finding the new geographic frontlinesas they were vaccinated with the negative portion of energy. Conflict zones always serve as breeding space for such tendencies to be carried out as hideouts and concealment both politically and strategically are ample in such conflict zones.

The State of Jammu Kashmir, unfortunately, was one of those hot beds where such tendencies were injected, backed and promoted by the contenders since the division of subcontinent. Both secular and religious tendencies that divided subcontinent in 1947 have been on the same page for stimulating negative tendencies to suppress the opposing political ideologies in Jammu Kashmir. Although the taxonomy of negative energies kept on varying during the course of history yet the heinous acts kept on going in more unkind methods. Proxies, Jihadi,militants, counter-militants, non-state actors, terrorists, occupying forces, strategic assets, integral part, jugular vein, religious bondages, secular traditions etc. etc. have trekkedthrough the history in Jammu Kashmir but all these changing nomenclatures were aimed collectively at one point agenda “do not let the sanity prevail in the region”.

Babar Qadri was a sane voice of Jammu Kashmir, who stood with the right course of history challenging the evil forces fearlessly with great resilience. He was against all kinds of oppression, slavery, violence, occupation and exploitation carried out at the name of above changing tendencies with different nomenclatures. At this crucial juncture of history when his motherland and people were facing worst kind of subjugation and tyranny from Gilgit to Jammu, his pro-people and pro-peace soul was pushing his positive potential energy to be transformed into kinetic one. But being just an ordinaryindividual he had only one option left to convert his positive potential energy into the sound energy and speak aloud andechoing rectitude and decency for the furtherance of comprehensive development. His equitable activism was agonizing like a bristle to the forces of evil on every side of the refuting and hostile political corridor. He was surrounded by Mighty Monsters and their trifling beasts. The dark forces with all their negative momentum surrounded him from all sides and he was targeted while holding the candle of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights in his hand as a true defender of human dignity.  

When looking specifically at the facilitators of his assassinationwe can identify some unique but matching trends. To begin with, the polities most susceptible to assassinations against such vocal critics are always violent authoritarian polities that lack one thing in common and that is empathy, vision and courage to accept the sanity because their ultimate aim is always to enjoy significant political and strategic power. This is true even more so in polities that also include oppressed minorities and high levels of dogmatic schism. Therefore, non-democratic and chaotic political environments make such leaders like Babar Qadri who are able to garner significant shift in people’s mindsand in which the failing states along with their mercenaries lackefficient mechanisms for positive change provide more prospects for success in advancing political and psychological schemata via political assassinations. This stands in contrast to democratic systems and humane societies, in which it is clear that the elimination of such critics will have pervasive and long-term impact on the socio-political order. But, unfortunately, the South Asian region in general and subcontinent in particular both politically and administratively is in the hands of authoritarian fascists who instead of reciprocating to sanity prefer to stick with insanity. Otherwise, if the political assassinations in Jammu Kashmir including Shujaat Bukhari in recent years could not stop the people from demanding their rights, killing of Babar Qadri would not yield a different result.

The responsibility now lies on the shoulders of stakeholders in different demographics of divided Himalayan country of Jammu Kashmir, whether they are to live in violent status quo or willing to graduate their political wisdom to break the impasse and garner a peaceful environment for their future generations, Babar Qadri sacrificed his life for, and his school of opinion is putting forward to end the long awaiting effervescent conflict in subcontinent?  If we are to carry the legacy of Babar Qadri we have no choice but get united across the divided lands of our country to end this violent conflict through the democratic will of its citizens, give peace and harmony another chance for a pluralistic political system where rights and obligations walk parallel to each other with freedom, justice and equality.

(Nayyar N Khan is a US based political activist and human rights defender of Kashmiri origin. He frequently writes about socio-political affairs of South Asia. He can be reached at globalpeace2002)


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