Gool killings speak of an unbelievable administrative failure…
Recent sacrilegious incident in Gool area of Ramban district and subsequent mayhem and death of innocent people came as shock for all. This tragic incident of mismanagement and highhandedness has exposed the administrative machinery particularly at district level. Most of the people analyse this tragic incident in the context of existing political scenario and ensuing human rights situation in the state and attribute it to the failure of political leadership at the helm of affairs in resolving the pending issues in this region. Undoubtedly the tragic incident at Gool is a fallout of long pending vexed political disorder in the state and handiwork of some vested interests who get benefited from such shameful carnage (carnage because more than forty people have sustained bullet injuries other than the dead). The existing harsh laws and other legal immunities have made the situation worse and more complicated. In the absence of draconian protective legal provision like AFSPA no security personnel can ever think of harming any unarmed civilian in the wildest of his dreams, leave alone using shower of bullets.
In the first instance Gool incident was an administrative matter where some over enthusiastic, ‘more loyal than the king’ security personal resorted to harassing poor people and over the period of time because of lackluster attitude of local administration they crossed the line of ‘freedom of religion’ as envisaged in the constitution and resorted to acts of desecration and sacrilege.
Every believer irrespective of his religious belief has every right to agitate against such unconstitutional and inhuman behavior and that is what the people of Gool opted for. Eyewitness accounts are indicative and clearly mention of peaceful agitation at Gool. Obviously, tempers were high as religious sentiments were hurt but that was required to be handled thoughtfully and that is what district administration headed by an IAS officer was supposed to do. If eyewitness accounts quoted in the media are to be relied upon, the district administration not only failed miserably but knowingly or unknowingly became party to all this confusion and killing. Conflicting statements from different quarters of district administration made the situation murkier and both central security agency and the state police are now involved in a shameful debate of ‘who fired the first shot’. Interestingly, by the time I am writing these lines a middle rank state police officer has already been arrested for the charges of murder in case of Gool killings.
It is an established fact that the district administration failed while handling Gool incident and later on tried to cover its follies and failures by blame game and passing the buck. Deputy Commissioners with enormous executive powers are virtual kings within their districts. In the first instance these kings and generals of the district failed and as usual handled the allegations of disrespect carelessly as they could not comprehend the enormity of repercussions leading to breakdown of administrative apparatus and failure of handling the situation with authority and powers vested with them. This callous attitude of the district administration became cause of huge crisis ending in death of several innocent people at the hands of trigger happy security forces followed by the usual eloquent rhetoric of inquires, compensation and condemnation from the political masters.
If state government is serious to look into Gool incident with compassion and fairness it should look into the aspects of failure of the district administration in handling the situation and fix responsibilities. Simply transferring the district administrator (deputy Commissioner) and attaching him with the general administration department will not deliver justice. Government should file a case of murder against those officers and official who failed to deliver and handle the situation judiciously. Officers are not entitled to fat salaries and privileges only but they are supposed to deliver. If anyone fails in due discharge of his duties that leads to death and destruction, he or she should be squarely held responsible for such killings. Also, this is the time for the state government to deliver; deliver sincerely, honestly and impartially to regain the trust of people who have lost faith in unending chain of inquiry commissions and fact finding missions. The honest and earnest efforts of the state government regarding macabre Gool tragedy will also help in weeding out rot from the administration. Sooner the state government acts for a clean, efficient and just administration better it will be for the public in general and the state administration in particular.