No tears for Ummer Fayaz

A human shield in Kashmir received voluble support. A slain soldier did not

Written by Srijana Mitra Das | Published:June 3, 2017 1:32 am
Ummer Fayaz, Ummer Fayaz killing, Ummer Fayaz killed, Ummer Fayaz kashmir, Kashmir unrest The young Kashmiri — just 22, his birthday on June 8 — was inducted into the Rajputana Rifles last December.

Recently, two Kashmiri men were assaulted. One man was tied to an army jeep and paraded about villages, labelled — via a placard — a stone-pelter. The other man lost his life. The first man, understandably traumatised, received an outpouring of support, angry editorials, incensed articles, TV outrage, online fury. The other man received barely a tweet. There hangs a tale.

By now, the story of Budgam’s shawl weaver, Farooq Ahmed Dar, who stepped out to vote on April 9 and found himself strapped to an army jeep, is well-known. Anyone with a halfway-decent armchair has expressed a vociferous opinion on Dar. Many of us, whose combat is not much deadlier than choosing between the cream bandhgala or the herringbone tweed, huffily pronounced that Army Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi, who used Dar as a human shield, was unconstitutional, violent, violating, condemnable for deciding, in the split-second he had, to use Dar and not fire at the hundreds of stone-pelters surrounding his troops, and the election officials they were protecting. One critic remarked, the human shield was unnecessary since Gogoi’s troops could shoot in self-defence. Apparently, in this strange moral world, where good and bad slide and elide, killing people is ok.

Perhaps that explains the resounding silence over the murder of Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz. The young Kashmiri — just 22, his birthday on June 8 — was inducted into the Rajputana Rifles last December. He was home on May 9, his first leave, to attend his cousin’s wedding. He was abducted by suspected militants from his Shopian house — picked up as he sat beside the bride — his body, riddled with bullets, dumped at a chowk. Ummer, like Dar, was unarmed: Just a person passing through, a brother, a nephew, a child of an apple farmer.

But, in contrast to the wringing of erudite hands for Dar, the opinion pages, the TV channels stayed strangely silent for Ummer. Of course Farooq Dar has human rights. Did Ummer have none? Is the Kashmiri acceptable only as victim, never as a citizen with an alternate view, one that possibly doesn’t suit those who, in ecstacies of bourgeois morality (which simultaneously enjoys, and laments, the modern state), tomtom the cruelties of the forces, but never probe those of its opponents?

Additionally, does joining the army mean that soldiers forfeit the right to their own rights — including the right to empathy? Perhaps, amidst the surfeit of services we now live with, we imagine the army as overblown security guards. The fact that many join up for more than a cheque and cheap rum escapes some. But the truth, possibly discomfitting to those who like theirs in fifty fashionable shades of grey, is that people like Ummer Fayaz join the army because they love their country — and, amazingly, do so with clarity, complex-free.

For this love, Ummer paid with his life, killed by another lynch mob, one evading cameras that record their cowardice. The names of his killers may rustle in Srinagar’s winds, but some of our profound find it cosier to shut troubling windows, settling for kahwa-pe-charcha with sulkily glamorous separatists instead. But even if condemnation is too much to ask, surely a word of sympathy for a boy who loved playing hockey, who idolised Virat Kohli, who tucked his sunglasses at jaunty angles into V-neck T-shirts, whose warm smile tilted widely over an interestingly bony face?

But it is almost as if the angry yells about Victim Dar are meant to erase the memory of citizen Ummer Fayaz. It is important to mark this for, as Friedrich Nietzsche writes in Beyond Good and Evil, “Clever people are never pointed out their follies; what a deprivation of human rights”. Interestingly, among the clever, those who’ve been in charge of Kashmir, and its violations, over decades, yelled the loudest. In this paper (‘Major Gogoi is wrong’, IE, May 24), former J&K CM Omar Abdullah — whose father ran Kashmir as its theatres turned into torture centres — wrote of how the Dar episode left him shuddering at the “carte blanche” this gave security forces. Was there similar horror during the forced exit — another “carte blanche” parade — of the Kashmiri Pandits, whose rights, apparently, aren’t fundamental, just incidental ones?

However, given his shudders now, Abdullah could show moral noblesse oblige and consider giving up all security, protesting for a citizen as another citizen who can, say, buy vegetables without khaki-clad cops or black cats hovering about. Protesting the security forces by refusing their services is showing real solidarity with Farooq Ahmed Dar.

Meanwhile, amidst the wall-to-wall outrage, Ummer Fayaz will likely remain unlamented by the elegantly incensed. But he will be remembered elsewhere, perhaps in a camp, in a trench, in an orchard of saddened apples.

srijana.das@expressindia.com

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    Raviforjustice Raviforjustice
    Jun 4, 2017 at 12:14 pm
    Thank God, truth is dawning upon more and more people!
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      Rahul Naas
      Jun 4, 2017 at 6:15 am
      What nonsense? Indian Jawans are equipped with extra rights; they have AFSPA to ensure they don't get hurt even with slightest provocations and they kill at their will and go unpunished as per the law. The author seems so naive about Kashmir. Read some books and perhaps visit the place a few times before writing such looney articles. Wanna be.
      Reply
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        sk
        Jun 4, 2017 at 4:55 am
        Very poor attempt by the writer to justify inhuman treatment of Dar. The slain military man got all the honours and his family will keep getting all the benefits while Dar who was actually supporting India by voting in the election has been denied justice. This is another trick of dumbhakts. Mix up completely unrelated issues. You should have also raised the issue of cows being transported, RSS men being killed in Kerala and Muslim invaders attacking India hundreds of years back.
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          Andy KKG
          Jun 4, 2017 at 1:31 am
          For once, a balanced article. Good Job .. Well done Srijana Mitra Das.
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            dr shah
            Jun 4, 2017 at 12:47 am
            Ms. Srijana Mitra Das ; by writing these unrealistic stories of course, you are getting daily bread & butter like other Indian or stani's ... I think u r ignorant; The realty is that only Kashmiri Muslim is been killed and humiliated by the both countries. Since last six decade we are fedup from the enmity of the two countries And unfortunately in returns we are paying the price in the form of human lives / honour and dignity...
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              Ramesh Nittoor
              Jun 4, 2017 at 1:33 am
              Dr saheb, you are missing the real point here, the killers were also most probably Kashmiri Muslims, the folks who go by Hizb credo, funded and fueled by stan and China. Indian Army does not go into POK to kill there, nor does it fund militancy there. Indian state is wedded to secular cons ution. It is for scientific temper, rule of law, civic sense, and social modernity, as all developed democracies are. If instead of being equivocal, if you choose to differentiate between instigators and defenders of rights and freedoms of all Indians including all Kashmiris, it could make a decisive difference in winning this long standing dirty war against super smart Sino-Pak axis planners.
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                RS
                Jun 4, 2017 at 2:44 am
                Author of this article says, "No tears for Ummer Fayaz" A human shield in Kashmir received voluble support. A slain soldier did not .............. I stand by my ertion that this is a "LIE". Countless people have empathized with Lt. Ummer's family and shown sympathy with them. And to deny this fact is a "LIE".
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                  RS
                  Jun 4, 2017 at 2:59 am
                  Tell me Mr. Nittoor, how is it that the unrest always happens in non Hindu majority states? You write very eloquently about the virtues of democracy but have you given any thought as to why Sikhs and Muslims states had to bear the atrocities of Indian army? Have you ever thought about the reason behind their dissatisfaction with the New Delhi Rule? Sikh community sacrificed the most in the fight for independence of India and 33 years on cannot get justice in the Indian Penal system for organized lynching and m murders amounting to and recognized as GENOCIDE of Sikhs committed by Hindus belonging to Congress and BJP. Why is it so Mr. Nittoor? Why is it that it took the courts over 2 decades to charge Hindus like Mr. L.K. Advani in Babri Masjid case? And he will never be punished or put in jail. He will live out the rest of his life comfortably and die of old age in nice hospital bed or at home. Why is he not in Jail along with Mr. Joshi and Uma Bharti Mr. Nittoor? Please tell us.
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                    Ramesh Nittoor
                    Jun 4, 2017 at 3:31 am
                    Punjab and JK , both bordering stan have been subject to severe violence . But this process of integration into the idea of India has had a difficult history and was done by surmounting severe challenges in several states since 1947. In Punjab the divide was fueled by targeting bus passengers wherein Hindus were selectively gunned down by Pak sponsored militants. The divide umed religious color and administration was unable to cope the instability in rural areas, ex-military joined strife, led to heavy handed policing to contain. The Maj Gen who led training of MuktiBahini built defense prior to Bluestar. India has with great difficulty and force of truth regain an almost lost cause. Similarly true discernment and analysis by Kashmiris themselves of their historical destiny, economic potentials , opportunity to explore realm of science and arts, travel worldwide, and live prosperous for generations ahead can lead to permanent peace.
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                      Ramesh Nittoor
                      Jun 4, 2017 at 3:47 am
                      On Ram Mandir, I believe that temple once built will end the politics of secular-communal divide and fair administration in all states. It is not easy to educate people to secular values even when they are otherwise educated. So this divide was necessary, and perhaps now the societal maturity and administrative capability has been reached. Late Rajiv G thought India was reaching the maturity level and opened the Mosque/Temple issue. And BJP pla its part to churn the masses peacefully. Things went wrong at the very last moment. Think his son Rahul G will make the right call for mutual trust and end of secular-communal divide, only when administrative capabilities are properly ascertained.
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                        RS
                        Jun 4, 2017 at 4:36 am
                        You have a way of justifying everything. No amount of dogma will diminish the fact that there are two standards for citizens of India. One is for Hindus and the other is for the rest of Indians. You have touched upon the symptoms of many of the problems and some of the visible attributes of the troubled patches. But the fact remains that you have not really gone into the reasons behind the troubles. You seem to promoting building of Ram Mandir, that shows your mindset quite in line with the Hindutuwa bent. As for your statement that things got out of hand in demolishing Babri Masjit, that is a crock. Everything was premeditated and preplanned to demolish the Babri Masjid. If you are really sincere about fixing the problems in India, the very first thing you have to know is that you must acknowledge that these problems exit. White washing or glossing over and making excuses will not change anything for the better but rather it will bring changes that are the worse for India.
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                          dr shah
                          Jun 4, 2017 at 4:53 am
                          Dear Ramesh Nittoor sb: Reality is India got division; stan got birth and Kashmir got illegal occupation by both countries; As Per your statement: Actually there are 6 parties which make Kashmir ( two countries; their armies; and their two non state actors). And at receiving end is common kashmiri people). Dear since last 50 years we have observed / experienced both countries closely & both are cruel and playing death games with kashmiris...
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                            RS
                            Jun 4, 2017 at 4:55 am
                            Mr. Nittoor, although you seem to be well intentioned, you possess only a cursory knowledge of Punjab and I am afraid the same might be said about your understanding of the Kashmir issue. Do you have any clue as to why General Shabeg Singh joined the movement? I will give you clue, Indira hi had something to do with it. Do you know that the root of problems in Punjab and Kashmir is the systematic and systemic discrimination and prejudice heaped upon the Sikhs and the Muslims? Unless you address this malaise you will have to keep suppressing non Hindu communities of India by force. And when you use force blood shed follows at some level. Unless a fundamental change in the minds of ru Hindu cl takes place the blood shed in some form or another will unfortunately continue. As Amit Shah has recently said en-route to Chandigarh, that militancy can be curbed with military violence, makes it clear that the Hindus don't seem to want to resolve the Kashmir Muslim issue peacefully
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                              Ramesh Nittoor
                              Jun 4, 2017 at 6:45 am
                              I know specific details about Maj Gen who was a hero turned villain. He was court-martialled at Fort William Kolkata on charges of mishand wives of other officers and corruption. He per another Maj Gen, who reported to him as Major in 1971 was outstanding fighter but charges were taken up to IG before decision could be taken.
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                                Ramesh Nittoor
                                Jun 4, 2017 at 8:46 am
                                Would like to add, upon bit of consideration, that the gentleman who reported to the Late Shabheg Singh is himself a devout Sikh, and is from Maratha Light inftry. Your charge of discrimination is a perception held unfortunately by many in Skih diaspora sympathetic to Khalistani cause, but do not believe it is valid. These wounds are not easy to heal, so accept your version of truth as valid as well.
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                                  Ramesh Nittoor
                                  Jun 4, 2017 at 9:00 am
                                  Dr Saheb, in a famous ancient book called The Art of War, Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu writes, never let the enemy know who the real enemy is. Since you did not even mention China, which has no locus standi on JK, yet grabbed territory from India, while an illegal stani General ceded even more territory to them, and now they are using POK for direct access to Persian Gulf. India, as you are probably aware has tried several times to make peace with stan, and modern Indian culture is a fusion of all facets of Hindu and Islamic heritage. Unfortunately the sincere peace efforts have not succeeded. And Chinese, atleast so far, seem to have made their ancient wisdom work for them. Dhanur Vidya, the ancient treatise of Shankar math, remains still.
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                                    Ramesh Nittoor
                                    Jun 4, 2017 at 9:13 am
                                    On Ram mandir, I do believe that it will bring lasting peace between Hindus and Muslims, and riots would be a thing of past. A structure by itself does not become Mandir, you have to infuse it with meaning, as is done in any good Art. The specific term is Prana Pratishtapana. To infuse such sanc y there has to be genuine reconciliation which means national political consensus and an administrative essment of the ground realities, that the consensus shall be accepted at ground level. I do not go by conspiracy theories, and do trust LK Advani and his sound intent for stan, and Indian Muslims.
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                                    Andy KKG
                                    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:37 am
                                    Only Kashmiri "Muslim"has been Killed ? What about Kashmiri Hindu who were killed by Kashmiri Muslims :) ? Forgot them eh ? All you guys need to do is to get on with your lives, education and trade. Stop supporting stani terrorists. Stop Stone Pelting.. Like everywhere else, the politicians are corrupt, governance not perfect.. So, next election- Go vote for the best person you can find. Some of you.. Create political parties or Join Political parties with Public service in Mind and try and make a difference. If possible stand for elections. If politics is NOT your game, join/create a NGO. Work for betterment of the population... Health, Child welfare, Girls education, Swacch Bharat .. the causes are many .. choose the one you like .. You will find the entire 1.2 Billion of your countrymen with you. We are all having similar issues and we are all trying to do better. Be a SOLUTION .. Stone pelting will not solve anything.
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                                      Ramesh Nittoor
                                      Jun 4, 2017 at 1:50 am
                                      It is not that easy Andy, as you think to join politics in Kashmir. Earlier there was a spate of targeted kil of Pachyat leaders by militants. We need to empathize with Dr Saheb, who is clearly exasperated. Think the real answer is for India to neutralize terror emitters in POK. But the risk of doing that is China could opt for opportunistic retaliation in eastern front. China is now coolly doing et building in POK and beyond after dang this threat, and there is not much India can do for atleast next 10 years. Only option is to educate decent folks like Dr Saheb to see reason and commit to India w heartedly. If the battle of minds is won decisively, think stan will see the long term risks to itself ahead, and negotiate for permanent peace.
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                                      Jay Smith
                                      Jun 4, 2017 at 1:51 am
                                      KASHMIRI MUSLIMS DECIDED TO FOLLOW THE JIHADI PATH DESIGNED BY STAN IN 1998. IF YOU SOW WIND YU REAP WHIRLWIND. THE ARTICLE IS SPOT ON JUSTT DOES NOT FIT IN WITH YOUR NARRATIVE OF A VICTIM.
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                                        RS
                                        Jun 4, 2017 at 5:04 am
                                        Dr Shah, the problem is much deeper than these scribes getting their bread and butter by muck raking as Ms. Srijana M Das has done. These people are also deeply prejudiced and don't seem to care about the human dignity and human life. You are absolutely correct that the politics of the two countries is causing most of the grief in Kashmir. But in addition to the politics, on the Indian side, it is also the fact that the successive Hindu governments of Delhi have not treated Kashmir or the Kashmiri people fairly. Just listen to the RSS terrorists talk about Kashmir and you will see what kind of hatred the possess within their hearts for the people of Kashmir.
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                                        RS
                                        Jun 3, 2017 at 11:54 pm
                                        Your a liar. We all felt terrible at the kil of the soldier. It was a heinous crime and we hope that the army would catch the guilty and hang them from the tallest tree for all to see (after a proper trial of course). You should however be ashamed of yourself trying to indirectly justify Dar's treatment by gratuitously bringing in the kil of the young officer. No human being with an ounce of decency be not touched and saddened by his death. We pray for his family. But this is typical RACIST HINDU modus ope i, conflate the unrelated issues, muddy the waters and distract from the real crime committed by Major Gogoi and Gen Bipin Rawat by commending him. We will monitor your propa a up close and point out your lies and manipulations every step of the way.
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                                          Ramesh Nittoor
                                          Jun 4, 2017 at 12:24 am
                                          Of course Farooq Dar has human rights. Did Ummer have none? ---- Easy RS, she concedes that there is ground for debate, your liar charge will not hold any water. Even if all water of Jhelum was poured into it, all of it shall filter out. The writer has a poser for former CM who wrote a brilliant column, because she did not comprehend his radio silence on this crucial issue. Your bringing in Army Chief, and the phrase Racist Hindu, along with the liar charge, conflates unrelated issues, suggests you are unwittingly dividing Indians.
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                                            RS
                                            Jun 4, 2017 at 1:59 am
                                            I wish you had read what I said a little more carefully. I deplore the kil of Lt. Ummer. His murder can never be forgiven. I am for punishing the guilty to the fullest extent of the law and in this case it means hanging of the guilty by the neck until dead. Unlike the author of this article, I am not making excuses for the killers. Granted, Mr. Dar was not killed, but nevertheless he was immensely degraded and humiliated. As for unwittingly dividing Indians, those that dictate Hindi, Hindu, Hindustan are the ones dividing Indians. Those racist Hindus that with every breath tell others who disagree with them to leave India and go to Pak-is-tan are the ones dividing Indians. Author here is talking about Mr. Dar and of course Major Gogoi and General Bipin Rawat are other two main links of the same chain of this issue, these three characters are explicitly intertwined in this story, . So how does your accusation of conflation against me is a rational one?
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                                              RS
                                              Jun 4, 2017 at 2:20 am
                                              What debate? Please, if you have not already, read Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions to which India is a signatory. What Major Gogoi did was a clear cut violation of Mr. Dar's Human Rights. For her to suggest that there is ground for debate is in itself an act of throwing a monkey wrench in to the mix. Her suggestion is a typical political ploy. All politicians play this game, when they don't have the courage to resolve an issue they form a committee to look into it. You are an observant person, I don't have to tell you what happens when you form committees or suggest debating issues that are as clear as day, and in this case supported by video-graphic evidence. The only motive of suggesting a debate on this issue is to muddy the waters and nothing else. What needs to happen is the court martial of Major Gogoi and his subsequent termination from his job. Indian army use to adhere to very high moral and ethical standards and it needs to reestablish those standards.
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                                            Imran
                                            Jun 3, 2017 at 11:18 pm
                                            Muslims of India lets rebel against the Indian state. Let's find this writer and stone him to death. Let's sell his wife sister's and mothers to the brothels of New Delhi after raping them in kinky BDSM style. Let's make his father nude and make him stand in the middle of Connaught Square. Muslims of India, it's time for civil war in India. Let's rebel against the Indian army and the state.
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                                              Temujink
                                              Jun 3, 2017 at 11:50 pm
                                              You see this s-c-u-m ? How do you fight this ? Do you think this character would ever grow up to think rationally ? Or any peaceful solution exist to make him a better human ?
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                                                bosu38
                                                Jun 4, 2017 at 12:18 am
                                                Hi Imran, You are Satan in disguise . You are not human. Why? Because you sold yourself to your religion! You know - your forefathers were sold into slavery, raped, killed and eventually converted to is lam by musal meen invaders, exactly the way you described. But you are ignorant, illiterate and ileducated . You will not understand!
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                                                Temujink
                                                Jun 3, 2017 at 11:08 pm
                                                The reality is Indian policy makers and politicians do not have any vision or clear plan to tackle Islamic extremism of any kind. All developed (smarter) countries do not compromise on national security or give in to Islamic extremists in any form, just because certain of their population is Muslim. For instance, Read how china handles Islamic terrorism in Xingjiang. India should be more firm in dea with Kashmir terrorists and sympathizers. Indian govt should also educate the ignorant media how the responsible media in the western world and elsewhere do not confuse between national security matters and freedom of expresssion. The fact is Kashmir Islamic terrorists are kil fellow Muslims as much. We need a stronger policy against these s s.
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