Restore peace in Zanaskar

As Muslims across the state will be celebrating Eid today, people in the remote and mountainous Zanaskar area of Kargil district – some 460 kms from Srinagar - may still be reeling under curfew and strife. The latest conflagration in the area, inhabited by about 26,000 people – 25,000 Buddhists and a miniscule 1000 Muslims - has created a veritable humanitarian crisis there. A voluntary conversion of some six Buddhist families to Islam in the area is said to have ignited attacks on the minority Muslim community – compelling the government to impose curfew and impose a communication blockade on the area. There are also unverified reports that a procession taken out after the conversion ceremony by members of the minority community acted as a trigger for the majority Buddhist groups to go on rampage and attack Muslim families there, and injuring dozens. Whatever be the case, this situation has resulted in deep insecurity among the minority Muslims in the region, while their relatives living elsewhere are worried for their well being. Cutting all mobile and land-based telephone connectivity to Zanaskar has added to the worries and may only add to rumour mills. It is possible that the government’s this move was guided by the objective of preventing a spill over of the situation, but now that the situation seems to have been stabilised to some extent, the blockade must be lifted forthwith. Given the vulnerability of the minority community in Zanaskar the government must ensure their safety and security, including that of the families that are being targeted. Meanwhile, it is important that the minority community takes care in not creating any provocative situation which could act as a trigger for further attacks. In a region like ours where religious passions can easily stoke violence, all the sides must exercise restraint. For the government the priority must be to ensure that there are no migrations out of fear or insecurity, and that peace is restored in the area as soon as possible.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 26 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST

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