Monday, October 24, 2005

Poor, Defenseless Peasants: What are WE going to do about it?

These people badly need an American-style 2nd Amendment:

On Friday night a family of 25 [in Kha, district Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir] had a harrowing experience. A tremulous Kamla Devi recalls: ``Four militants came to my house and locked us up. Only when my son Ratan Singh loaded his rifle given to him as a Village Defence Committee member and challenged the militants did they leave. While leaving they threatened to come back and eliminate us." Soon after the incident frightened villagers started leaving.

Rajouri is a district in the South-West end of Jammu and Kashmir, 154 km from Jammu. According to the district's website, Rajouri varies in climate from semi-tropical in the southern areas to temperate in the north, with a temperature variation of 7.42 to 37.4 degrees Celcius. The site lists the population at approximately 478,000 people.

The militants, of course, are Islamic jihadis. Their behavior was like that of bullies, thugs, and other criminals found all over the world. Just as bullies flee when confronted, then they left, but not for long. It was as if they did not expect a confrontation. But they will be back, and they will return with plenty of weapons.

The militants had made an extortion demand of Rs. 50,000 in September. According to Neena Rajput: "We told them that we cannot pay such a huge sum, but they told us to arrange for the money in October." The villagers contacted the authorities who expressed their helplessness.

So the choice left for the villagers is to either flee or fight. The villagers, apparently, chose to flee, although some wanted to take a stand:

Security in remote hilly villages has often been a nightmare and protecting every hamlet is an almost impossible task. Officials came up with the idea of Village Defence Committees (VDCs) to give some semblance of security but militants have struck at will, taking advantage of the poor weaponry in the hands of the villagers.

Zakir Hussian, a VDC member who lost his father at the hands of militants says: ``You do not expect us to fight the militants with these archaic .303 rifles. If you cannot protect us, then give us better weapons to fight with.''

Unfortunately, Indian law is very restrictive of weapons, not unlike how Britain sees to it that its own populace is, more or less, disarmed. Of course, if a population has the potential for insurrection, then disarmament is generally a reasonable strategy, and India has more than its share of insurrections. Yet when the government cannot or will not protect its people, then abiding by laws that prevent people from protecting themselves is something like removing a cat's claws and teeth and then setting it out in the wild.

The oppressed villagers, who are mostly Hindus, need weapons, training, and the wherewithal to use them--even if the only means of doing it is through illegal gun running and turning them into militants. To be pacifist in the presence of murderers is to simply aid and abet murder.

2 Comments:

Blogger hailts said...

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Awesome

9:49 AM, October 27, 2005  
Blogger pallash said...

U wrote good and with deep thought. Though the govt cant protect the hindus in J&K, they donot give them guns to fight because then terrorists will be killed in greater numbers. And in the northeast the situation is even more grimer and no one cares.plz visit my site at
www.bellicosebengali.blogspot.com
warning:graphic images of violence are there

2:22 AM, December 26, 2005  

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