ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Crimes against Humanity

Are Individuals or the State Responsible?

A report by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society records the egregious violations of the human rights of people in Kashmir by the security forces. However, it goes further than previous such reports by looking at the structures of violence where individual perpetrators are viewed as agents of violence in the larger occupational structure.

In 2014, as Israel was pounding Gaza with bombs, Nobel laureate and holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, in an advertisement published in major newspapers worldwide, compared Hamas with the Nazis accusing them of “child sacrifice.” Wiesel was criticised, and rightly so, for justifying Israel’s crimes in Gaza. By publishing an advertisement, which other holocaust survivors described as “abuse of history,” Wiesel was taking sides—the side of the oppressor.

The report Structures of Violence: The Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir by Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) quotes in its epigraph lines from Wiesel’s Nobel acceptance speech: “We must take sides” (JKCCS 2015). In the case of Palestine, Wiesel has taken the side of the oppressor. By quoting him, the report should have taken into account his politics, which is using Jewish suffering to justify Jewish crimes in Israel. For a Palestinian these lines, despite their universality, are insensitive and insulting to their memory.

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