Communal elements, extremists, get a chance to pit people against each other
After attack on CRPF convoy at Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district last week, Kashmiri students, traders and others have become “enemy no.1” for the communal elements in many states.
Hundreds of Kashmiris have returned to the Valley due to the charged up atmosphere at other places. The voices are becoming shriller that Kashmiri goods and Kashmiris should be boycotted. Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy recently supported a call for boycott of “everything Kashmiri." Quoting an appeal Roy tweeted: "Don’t visit Kashmir, don’t go to Amarnath for the next 2 years. Don’t buy articles from Kashmir emporia or Kashmiri tradesman who come every winter. Boycott everything Kashmiri. I am inclined to agree."
Roy’s statement triggered sharp reaction from the mainstream politicians in Kashmir but they are also aware about the fact that they raising hue and cry won’t make much of a difference at this point of time as every attempt is being made to turn Kashmiri politicians irrelevant.
Communal forces have polarized environment ahead of the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Kashmiris have become soft targets and they are being hounded everywhere. It’s unfortunate that no one wants to understand the pain and sufferings of Kashmiris. Political leadership has to rise to the occasion and stop this undue harassment of Kashmiri people. They can’t be blamed for every wrong.
People who are running the country need to understand that Kashmiris have been living in turmoil for the past thirty years. Students, who had gone to other states to pursue their students, have left their studies incomplete and have returned. On the other hand the Kashmiri businessmen, who have invested huge amounts in their businesses at other places have left everything behind and come back.
On one hand the leaders and the netas claim that Kashmiris are their own people and they should not be harassed but their statements are not having any impact on the ground situation. There is a visible difference between their “kathani and karni.” It’s an irony that as soon as Kashmiri person arrives in some other state he becomes a suspect and his activities are watched by the people around him. These days war rhetoric is at its peak. Studios of news channels have become “war rooms.” These channels for increasing their TRPs are leaving no stone unturned to add fuel to the fire by politicizing the Pulwama attack. Every attempt is being made to drive home a point that “India wants revenge.”
Attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu city, which during all these years has become a second home for Kashmiris, have shocked the people of Kashmir. During the past few days thousands of people from Jammu have returned home. Someone needs to ask the fanatics what they want to prove by terrorizing Kashmiris? Do they think that by unleashing fear they would be able to achieve something big? The answer is big no. By resorting to such tactics they are creating a wedge between the two communities. Unfortunate part is that only fringe elements in Jammu region are calling the shots and common man has got nothing to do with it.
Need of the hour is to douse the flames and not add fuel to the fire. People who think that they are doing a big service by terrorizing Kashmiris are living in a fool’s paradise. They are adding to the alienation and pushing Kashmiris away.
People sitting in New Delhi have turned a blind eye towards the political dimensions of Kashmir as for them it’s a settled issue and no negotiations can be held over its status. If it’s so then why are the people of Kashmir treated as suspects and second grade citizens? Why they are targeted if anything untoward happens anywhere?
If people at the helm want bloodshed to stop they have to revisit their Kashmir policy. Soon after the Pulwama attack everyone in Kashmir cut across the party lines and their ideologies and expressed solidarity with the bereaved family members of the CRPF men, who were killed in the assault. In one voice everyone said that “every killing on Kashmir soil pains them.”
But the narrative in New Delhi has changed completely. Anyone who talks about reconciliation and holding talks is labeled as “anti-national.” Talks seem to be no option. It’s like you are with us or against us. It seems that the dead end has arrived and there is no scope for any sort of a dialogue.
People who are projecting Kashmiris as “hate mongers” and are demanding a decisive action seem to have forgotten that their rhetoric could have serious repercussions and war would lead to large scale devastation and destruction. One can only exude hope that better sense prevails and tensions are diffused before any further damage is done.
Javaid Malik is Senior Editor Greater Kashmir