Home > 2018 > Flood Fury in Kerala and UP, Recalling the Kashmir Floods of (...)

Mainstream, VOL LVI No 39 New Delhi September 15, 2018

Flood Fury in Kerala and UP, Recalling the Kashmir Floods of 2014

Saturday 15 September 2018, by Humra Quraishi

MUSINGS

There is something or everything so very bizarre and frightfully horrific about last week’s arrest and detention of the country’s well-known activists and academics who have been raising their voice and concerns for the tribals and minorities, and also for the atrocities taking place in the conflict zones of the country, and this includes the Kashmir Valley.

Instead of paying heed to their concerns, we see the establishment of the day lock them up. If not in prisons, in their homes. Policing tactics used to terrorise sane voices... to relay to the rest of us to keep shut, otherwise we could face similar torture; with fascist fangs spreading out as never before.

Instead of focusing on the disasters taking place in the country, this government chooses to hound activists and academics. As though by hounding and shutting them, the country’s problems will be resolved or rectified.

Where the hell are we heading to! Towards a very, very dismal future.Where the basic survival issues are not getting rectified, nor addressed. Lies and more lies are mouthed by the sarkar and its men, even as we are drowning... getting washed away, ruined in every sense of the term. Today only few amongst us are being left alive enough, to be able to swim or float against the tide, to stay intact whilst swimming in turbulent waters.

If this government was actually and genuinely bothered about development and in keeping the citizens safe and sound, then it should be looking at the flood issue somewhat seriously. More than six States of the country are witnessing flood fury of the worst kind, yet all that we get to hear is of doles from the Centre. What about long-term strategies to control flooding and the disastrous offshoots they drag along? What about making public the disaster-control format the government plans to introduce to contain the flood fury? What about the relief packagesódo they actually and genuinely reach the drowning and the near-submerged!

I’m writing this in the backdrop of the Kashmir floods of 2014, where the much publicised government packages did not reach a large number of the flood affected in the Kashmir Valley. Even after two years of that flood havoc, the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) had stated about the State and Centre’s failure to rehabilitate those ruined in those floods. In fact, those few individuals who did receive some little compensation amount from the government had told me that they’d almost simultaneously received electricity bills running into thousands. This when their homes were washed away in the flood fury!

And what’s all this talk about Government of India not taking aid from the UAE or for that matter from any other country for the flood affected in Kerala? Why not! Not to be overlooked the three basics facts: Thousands from Kerala work and reside in the Gulf countries. There is a strong historical connect between Kerala and the Gulf, from bygone centuries when traders from those lands came to the coastal belts of Kerala for trading in spices. Above all, the rulers of the UAE are themselves offering to assist us and it’s not that we went asking for help. After all, it’s one of those crisis times for Kerala and as I had written in one of my previous columns, mere food packets and clothing wouldn’t do. Entire lives and livelihoods have to be re-built and if the Government of India doesn’t have enough financial resources to reach out, then let others do! Why halt foreign aid and rescue operations in this hour of emergency? Yes, it’s one of those ongoing emergencies. Ask those who have lost everything to the flood fury.

Doesn’t the Government of India assist other countries in their hour of distress? So why not accept help from other lands in our hour of distress. In fact, I must offload details to the anger and hurt I had witnessed amongst the locals in the Kashmir Valley when the Government of India had declined to accept foreign offers of assistance during the 2014 floods in Kashmir. After the floods, the alienation of the Kashmiris had aggravated, because the State and the Government of India did not permit any of the internationally trained relief and rescue workers and volunteers to reach there. Nobody was allowed to be flown in there, from any of the foreign countries, to help in the relief and rescue operations.

In fact, Kashmiris did not hide their disgust, voiced loud and clear: did the Government of India decline international assistance, and even offers of aid by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, because it did not want the United Nations’ experts and workers to land in the Valley and see for themselves the ground realities... what trauma Kashmiris are going through, day after day! Living in this state of siege! Under the might of the military!

And on this Wednesday morning (September 5) as I am keying in, reports are coming in from the State of Uttar Pradesh where flood fury is taking its toll. Sparing no one. Needless to add that the disadvantaged are severely affected. Not sure whether the Government of India will allow foreign experts and workers to land there to help in rescue and relief operations; after all, the ground realities in Uttar Pradesh are frightfully dangerous. Lawlessness to such an extent that anyone can be lynched or raped or beaten to death in broad daylight. Not to overlook blatant killings by the State in encounters!

Maybe the GOI or even the Yogi Government of Uttar Pradesh would not want any of the foreign workers, flood experts to see the realities prevailing in that State.

In fact, I am not too certain whether relief- rescue workers and volunteers from foreign lands would even want to land in Uttar Pradesh! Only to be killed, in one way or the other!

ISSN : 0542-1462 / RNI No. : 7064/62 Privacy Policy Notice Addressed to Online Readers of Mainstream Weekly in view of European data privacy regulations (GDPR)