Sajad Lone urges authorities to refrain from indulging in “collective punishment” of Kashmiris

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Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference President Sajad Lone on Thursday urged the authorities to refrain from indulging in “collective punishment” of Kashmiris.

Lone, according to a party statement, also expressed his strong criticism of the “rounding up” of individuals, both young and old, by the police in the last 24 hours.

“In the name of OGWs (overground workers), hundreds of people have been rounded up in the last 24 hours. These are people who may have had a past in militancy but are now law-abiding citizens for the last 2 decades. They are grandfathers, fathers, and livelihood earners. How can an entire generation be punished and for how long? For a mistake that they made, are they going to be punished eternally for all times to come,” said Lone in a statement.

Lone further emphasized that the prevalent approach of macro-level punishment has been in practice for the last three decades and has yielded no positive results.

“What is the concept of reintegration in a conflict? Macro policing is not the answer. We are all pained by the incidents of violence. But good policing would mean micro-investigation, not macro punishment. And this is not something new. This has been the rule for the last three decades. All governments are culpable of this crime. But we need closure”, he added.

Lone also called for a reevaluation of existing lists, particularly the OGW list, and urged authorities to distinguish fact from fiction.

“And this OGW list. Who compiled it? Many of these OGWS have been added to the list during the NC era. They would add anybody who didn’t vote for them, especially during 1996 to 2002,” he added.

In a humble appeal, Lone urged the authorities to refrain from indulging in collective punishment of Kashmiris.

“It is a humble appeal. Please do not resort to macro punishment. Hauling a father or a grandfather who is now a senior citizen to the local police station is a humiliating experience. How would you expect the youngsters in the family to react to such events? Investment in India is an investment in the youth. Don’t turn them away. Let incidents of humiliation not cloud their judgment. Kashmiris are in the process of breaking free from a vicious cycle of violence, and these macro policing events act as impediments to the exiting process,” he concluded.

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