Saturday, May 4, 2013

Introspection into the plight of Prisoners on both sides of the border - The assault on Sarabjeet

Introspection into the plight of Prisoners on both sides of the border - The assault on Sarabjeet
The already tenuous political relationship between India and Pakistan has further been muddled by this needless controversy over the death of Sarabjeet- a convict imprisoned for an alleged terrorist attack that killed nearly fifteen people many years ago. While I have been reading and listening to endless debates, points, counterpoints, denials, affirmations, duplicities and countless other peregrinations of arguments and facts; what puzzles me entirely is the utter lack of commonsense in dealing with such an issue. Yes, the man was brutally assaulted within the walls of a high security prison and later suspiciously allowed to languish in pain and bleeding, before he was administered any medical help; which did not stall his inevitable descent into irrecoverable comatose condition and his death subsequently. It is not my intention in this essay to argue on the innocence or otherwise of sarabjeet, but all that I wish to say is that our hearts reach out to this man, who has been cut off from his family for twenty long years; nursing a faint hope of redemption in his breast, only to be so unceremoniously snuffed out of existence by some indoctrinated bunch of maniacs. I deeply condole his death, as an individual, living in democratic world (not a nation!!!).

It is an established fact that POW’s and innumerable innocent people are being incarcerated in jails on either side of the border, with absolutely no hope of ever seeing the light of the day, and it seems the only way for them to achieve martyrdom is to be die the way Sarabjeet did. What he could not achieve in his life, a brutal death has done for him. It is indeed shameful to note that, since 1971, both India and Pakistan have been deliberately turning a blind eye to the plight of lacerated prisoners lying in their cells. No country can claim a high moral ground for such a horrific display of apathy. Every sovereign country has its border disputes and ideological differences with its neighbors. But that should not be a hindrance to providing justice and quality lives for people within its country. Prisons are not safe places, and they are never meant to be. This is the fact of History. No amount of Rhetoric can wipe away the fact that a “secure prison” is only a myth that would burst at the slightest possible provocation. In those rarified confines of isolated cells, the human psyche would give vent to the most perverse thoughts and intentions. And more so, in a highly politicized atmosphere like the one that exists between India and Pakistan. If India believed that Sarabjeet was being illegally charged for acts of terrorism, then , I must confess unequivocally, that twenty years is too long a time for inaction on our part. It was matter of time when Pakistan would want to set the balance right for the Hangings of the Kasab and Afzal Guru. Have we become so na├»ve that we couldn’t see something like this happening? We could argue ad finitum about the way that we treat Pakistani prisoners in India, and expect the same reciprocation from the other side. But that’s not the way the game is played. Our foreign diplomacy needs to come out of the cocoon of procrastination and meaningless compromises to understand the ground realities of the situation around our borders.

While political parties are busy leveraging the death of Sarabjeet, let us ,as common men, urge the governments of both the countries to look closely at the prisoner lists, and identify how many more innocent, gullible, uneducated lives will be eaten away by this diabolical political stance taken by India and Pakistan. Let’s not forget that they are “Human” lives, and not cogs in the wheels of a political machine.

Let the Death of Sarabjeet awake us to a newer dimension in our relationship with Pakistan. Every opportunity lost would only mean more lives meaningless sacrificed on the altar of misplaced ideologies and hopes.

God bless................

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