This Isn’t Love of Cricket  

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Celebrations over Pakistan Win By Some Students In GMC and SKIMS

Chanting of Pakistan National Anthem Reveals True Nature Of Celebrations

On October 26, Jammu and Kashmir Police registered a case in connection with the ‘celebration’ of the Pakistani cricket team’s victory over the Indian cricket team in the T20 World Cup.

Police said that “doctors residing in the hostel of SKIMS (Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences) in Soura raised slogans and burst firecrackers” to celebrate the outcome of the cricket match. Similar complaint was also received from Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar. The accused have been booked under Sections 105 (A) and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Many Kashmiris have protested the decision, saying that punitive actions against the local population won’t work. Nobody should be punished for celebrating Pakistan’s win over India in the cricket match. We do not favour the punishment for the students, but the issue has deeper ramifications.

When the state does not respond to any provocation, people tend to take the state for granted. When the state is taken for granted, a fantastic narrative is spun. The narrative is that the state has no authority and no control. The narrative further claims that the state has lost relevance and credibility. It is separatism that rules the roost. The state has been magnanimous for the last 30 years, when such errors were overlooked. The ground reality is that following the magnanimity of the state, people propagated separatism and extremist politics. Despite this, they continued to enjoy all benefits drawn from the state.

Deep Psychological Impact

The decision of the state to overlook all transgressions had a deep impact on the collective psyche in Kashmir. The impact has been deep and lasting. The policy of the state to ignore all errors has led to a social impact where everything is taken as a matter of right. Sedition is regarded as a matter of right. Discrediting the state and its institutions is taken as a matter of right. Going against the state and its interests is seen as a matter of right. Even not following the civil laws is seen as a matter of right.  Globally, wearing a seat belt during driving is mandatory. How pitiful it is that not wearing the seatbelt during driving is seen as a matter of right in Kashmir. We all are witness to the fact that serious mishaps have taken place and many Kashmiris have suffered grievous injuries because they were not wearing the seatbelt during driving. Despite this, the malpractice continues.

Encouraging Violations

When the state goes lazy about implementing or about maintaining its writ, people take it as a matter of right to violate, to breach. One of the arguments being offered is about sportsmanship. The reason given is that cheering the team that won may be considered acceptable. So the argument is made that celebrating Pakistan’s victory cannot be regarded as seditious. The same people make cheering for Pakistan a matter of right and claim that the state must be magnanimous.

Those who make this argument must answer the counter-question. Should the state allow you to sing the national anthem of Pakistan? Should the state allow you to sing Jeeve Jeeve Pakistan? How is it possible? Which state on earth can tolerate such kind of nonsense that its own people are singing its enemy country’s national anthem? Let us not forget that it is because of Pakistan that our own country’s people are dying in Kashmir.  If the state does not act at this point in time, it is bound to be taken for a ride. Then such transgressions will be repeated over and over again. The state will lose its writ and authority. People will say that separatism is the dominant narrative. Belittling the state will be normalised.

Flawed Policies, Damaging Results

This policy of state being magnanimous severely damaged the interests of state. Some of the flawed policies and their damaging results are discussed below.

The Healing Touch Doctrine

A doctrine called healing touch was introduced. At face value, the policy seemed very attractive. It was also received well. Its flaws came to the fore when the policy was flagrantly abused by the adversaries of the state. All transgressions were taken as a matter of right.

Cross-Loc Trade

Take for instance the Cross-LOC trade. In the name of trade, Pakistan pumped narcotics and arms into Kashmir. Now the state is finding it difficult to control narcotic terrorism in Kashmir.

Amnesty For Stone Pelters

Take for instance the amnesty for stone pelters. About 4200 FIRs were set aside by the state, and stone pelters were released from custody. A sizable number of youngsters among them developed the perception that they can fool the state all the time. Massive indoctrination took place under the nose of the authorities. The state watched it silently because the healing touch doctrine was in vogue. Most disastrous and destructive agitations were witnessed during those years.

The Spillover Impact of Overlooking Errors 

Coming back to singing of the Pakistani national anthem and shouting Jeeve Jeeve Pakistan by girl students of GMC Srinagar and resident doctors in SKIMS. Such action is bound to be repeated and replicated elsewhere if the state doesn’t adopt a strict approach. The spillover impact is certain if no preventive action is taken. Supporting a cricket team is not a crime. Singing the Pakistan national anthem and chanting Jeeve Jeeve in the name of support for cricket is seditious.

It is often discussed in Kashmir that everyone except Kashmiris are experts on Kashmir. The impression is that any journalist or a political commentator or for that matter a BJP leader knows everything about Kashmir. The fact of the matter is that whatever is being written for or against Kashmir is always a matter of opinion. The comments are always part of one narrative or the other. The foul play of such agenda-driven narratives has immensely damaged the prospect of peace in Kashmir. The argument that the celebrations over Pakistan’s win are the result of the decision to abrogate Article 370 is as flawed as the argument that everything is normal in Kashmir.

These celebrations started from the Abu Dhabi stadium when some Kashmiri boys settled in Dubai made some memes on Indian players. These memes went viral on social media. The videos of Pakistan’s cricket win after the 2017 Champions Trophy were uploaded and widely shared.  After the recent win of the Pakistan cricket team, celebrations took place only at two places in Kashmir – Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar and Shere Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS), Soura. Rest were isolated celebrations at homes and on social media by those supporting the Pakistani cricket team. These celebrations have a communal context. Sadly, communalism has been normalized across the country. Our argument should not rest on communal grounds.

The Difference After State Adopted Strict Approach

Let us examine the difference after the state decided to go hard on those whose actions are detrimental to social peace. The violent mobs fell silent. There is no stone-pelting. There are no street protests, hence no pellets and no pellet injuries.

Home minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to Kashmir rightly said that we barred the internet services only to save our kids. That is the fact. It is a global norm that if the state can protect and save lives by putting some curbs on civil liberties, it should opt for them.

Senior SKIMS Executive Defends Students

When contacted by KZINE, a senior executive of SKIMS who did not wish to be identified said that a committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Dean Faculty. The factual report of the incident will be shared with the government for further actions.

The executive told KZINE, “We are taking cognizance of this incident. We are taking it very seriously. Second, we are consistently being informed by some of the resident doctors that the alleged video circulated on social media isn’t from SKIMS. The structure in the video doesn’t match with the structure of the SKIMS hostel. How far it is true will be verified by the committee. We are waiting for the factual report. This is the preliminary information that I can convey to you.”  “It is my personal view that in a democratic and civilized world, you cannot choke somebody’s opinion. Do you know what happens with English football teams? Do you know what happens in one country? Ek video kya circulate huva, ye chotai bachai hai, aur iska bada issue bana diya gaya. See what happened with George Floyd, Nelson Mandela, Mather Luther king. You are looking at the issue from the little prism. You need to look at it from a global perspective.”

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