There are places, across the globe, which cease to be places in the public imagination for various reasons. These places are usually identified and symbolised with the happenings around it. They become shorthand for abhorrent state of affairs either forced upon or self created by its people. However, in all circumstances the worst causality in any conflict is when the basic fabric of the society is challenged or altered leading to criminal acts against humanity itself.
Accordingly to Wikipedia crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack or individual attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population.
The term "crimes against humanity" is potentially ambiguous because of the ambiguity of the word "humanity", which can mean humankind (all human beings collectively) or the value of humanness. The history of the term shows that the latter sense is intended.
Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed bloodbath since decades now but the horror of July 10, this year, has been and will continue to hunt all of us. The attack has been described and discussed across the board and above the political ideologies as an assault on Kashmiriyat – the basics of our civilisation since time immoral. However, amid the bloodshed the moment provided all of us an opportunity to unite and call spade a spade, condemn the most cowardly act and stand with the grieved.
The innocent blood of Amarnath pilgrims has saved the ailing Kashmiryat. This assertion making rounds since the tragic incident of violence sounds quite paradoxical. The grief and anger that gripped people after the gruesome killings was unprecedented.
The pictures of the victims flashed by TV channels, mostly elderly woman and resembling the mothers back in our homes, pained everyone's heart and wet their eyes with tears and grief.
The beautiful and loving faces of victim mothers moved one and all. The fear was such that the sons at their homes looked at their mothers to ensure they are safe. The tragedy that we lived and witnessed on that fateful evening gave rise to catharsis.
Many of us also feared a possible outrage on streets across the country. The killers may have hardly realized that their bullets not only killed a few mothers, but gave sleepless nights to thousands of others whose sons and daughters are away from home. But the silver line is that we as a society foiled the nefarious designs where Kashmir, Kashmiri and Kashmiriyat was the actual causality aimed at.
While the nation was grieving and mourning the loss, the state was in more shock. The attack and its aftermath would have unleashed another chain of violence and hatred aimed at the people of state. However, what changed the scenario was the reflection of actual humanity from the ground zero where common Kashmiri was extending helping hand to the victims and state government acting swiftly to meet the immediate challenge.
Chief Minister . Mehbooba Mufti did not lose a single moment to respond to the situation. She immediately reached to console the mothers and sisters who have survived the bullets of the killers. Despite security threat and persistent requests by top security agencies the Chief Minister drove straight to the hospital, where the wounded were being treated. A Chief Minister spending entire night with the victims is not the picture state has witnessed in the past.
The victims told people about Saleem Sheikh- the driver of the bus from Gujarat. The survivor mothers lovingly narrated brave act of their son Saleem. "He stirred the attacked bus to safety amid raining bullets, the act of bravery which can't be expected even from trained fighters" they told people.
Had not he shown the presence of mind in that tough situation, the number of causalities would have been much higher. He saved about fifty lives most of them elderly persons. He rightly said it was Allah who gave him strength. Allah wanted to frustrate the designs of enemy by showing if any Abu-Ismial can kill on the name of religion, a Saleem Sheikh can save lives rising above all considerations.
However seven others fell to the blind bullets that could not differentiate the frail bodies of five mothers those among the victims. We witnessed some emotional scenes at the hospital where local youth donated blood to save the lives of the injured, while the chief minister was seen embracing and consoling the injured sisters and mothers. It spread out the message that Kashmiryat is still alive.
The blood stained bodies of innocent pilgrims invalidated the artificial borders of politics and ideology. Kashmir civil society united to condemn the killings, kindling new hopes.
It seemed the blood spilled on the road near Anantnag gave fresh lease of life to ailing Kashmiryat – the humanistic persona of Kashmir civil society known the world over.
The response from the civil society was widespread against the act, which was aimed at to bring shame to Kashmir, Kashmiri and Kashmiriyat. We as a society have but succeeded to bring ourselves together and refute the challenge with heavy hearts and clenched fists.
Rightly observed by Ajaz ul Haque (GK Jul 15, 2017), "Tragedies make us wiser, but our case seems to be the reverse. We take poison and expect our enemy will die. There is something seriously wrong with us. There is a hole in our soul which we need to mend. Sooner the safer".