Targeted killings in Kashmir | KPs anguished over floppy, ambiguous response of mainstream opposition

They are also peeved over political “slug-fest” in the aftermath of broad daylight killing of KP employee Rahul Bhat, which actually became a trigger point for protests.
Targeted killings in Kashmir | KPs anguished over floppy, ambiguous response of mainstream opposition
Relatives taking the body of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat at SMHS Hospital Srinagar after he was shot at in Chadoora area of central Kashmir's Budgam district on Thursday May 12, 2022. [Representational Image] File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Jammu: Amid election buzz, a renewed spate of selective killings, particularly targetting minorities in the Valley by the elements averse to any democratic exercise and peace, has triggered a string of protests by Kashmiri Pandit (KP) community across J&K.

However, the protesting members of the community in distress are anguished over, what they term it as, “floppy and hypocritical stance of mainstream opposition parties, particularly in Kashmir.”

They are also peeved over political “slug-fest” in the aftermath of broad daylight killing of KP employee Rahul Bhat, which actually became a trigger point for protests.

Though the community is not very pleased even with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which presently comprises the ruling clique and is facing its ire for “treating the members of community, particularly the KP employees as sitting ducks in the vortex of violence” yet opposition is confronting prickly posers for its “ambiguous stance on terrorism.”

Why they (opposition leaders) are not joining us in protests and calling a spade a spade when they condemn innocent killings, why they become evasive in mentioning the words “terrorists” or “Pak-sponsored terrorism”- are some of questions being raised by community.

As Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS) president R K Bhat points out, “We have issues with the government of the day (led by BJP) and we’re raising them with full vigour at the right quarters for their resolution.

But our major grouse is against the constituents of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), mainly the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), CPI-M and of course, Congress. It is because they have major stakes in Kashmir.

They have always been major players there. We’re protesting here at Vessu camp and the CPI-M leader, who is also spokesperson of PAGD, visited us. I raked up this issue with him as why PAGD constituents are not coming clear on the issue of terrorism and Pakistan’s role in it when they (PAGD members) share concerns about selective killings of innocent people.”

“CPI-M leader referred to PAGD’s meeting with the Lieutenant Governor. He stated that they flagged concerns about our security only. We thanked them yet our main concern was that the government through security forces could provide only security but a sense of security would come only through the majority community particularly the political class joining us and coming out clearly against Pakistan and its sponsored terrorists.

My point was if they really believed in former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “Jamhuriyal, Kashmiriyat and Insaniyat” line of thinking, which all PAGD constituents always mention in their briefings, then they should be unambiguous in their approach towards terrorism,” Bhat said, while referring to his efforts since 2008 in convincing the community youth to return to Valley, not only for employment for survival, but also to revive age-old brotherhood between two communities.

Though Panun Kashmir’s Dr Agnishekhar too echoes similar sentiments yet his expression is blunt. “PAGD constituents, mainly NC and PDP leaderships, are hypocritical in their approach. We don’t trust them. What they say, they don’t mean it.

They don’t condemn terrorism. They never associate Pakistan with it. To us, they are hand in glove with those forces (responsibly for KPs’ genocide) as they serve their interest well. Congress is no exception. Our aspirations are linked with the Government of India. Sadly its policy towards KPs is still flawed, even after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A,” he maintains.

As uneasy questions confront them, the political parties find an easy way out in aiming barbs at each other.

Bharatiya Janata Party, which itself had to face the wrath of community following Bhat’s killing, for the “inability of its leadership, presently ruling both at the Centre and in the UT to provide adequate security to KP employees”, dares its political detractors, mainly NC, Congress and PDP to shed itheir unambiguous stand on “terrorism.”

Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh on May 14, while talking to media persons on the sidelines of a function at Kathua, had slammed the opposition for not taking a clear and united stand against terrorists and Pakistan for unleashing terror in Kashmir Valley.

“Terrorism is waning in Jammu and Kashmir and the situation is peaceful in Kashmir which is evident from the fact that a record number of tourists are visiting Kashmir Valley. However, some elements, who do not want peace and normalcy to be fully restored in Kashmir Valley, are indulging in killing innocent people to create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty,” he said.

Dr Jitendra had said that the killings of the innocent people were “heart-wrenching” yet they were an act of frustration by the “terrorists and their sponsors in Pakistan” against stern resolve and zero tolerance policy of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led central government and the UT administration against the acts of terror.

“Forces working against the peace and development of J&K are resorting to killing innocent people but the government is committed to eliminate them. However, the opposition parties and their leaders resort to lip-service to the victims of terror yet don’t have the courage to take a clear stand against terrorists and Pak sponsored terrorism in J&K,” he had said.

National Conference spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar stoutly defends his party while refuting all the charges levelled by both KP organisations as well as BJP.

“See, as far as Panun Kashmir is concerned, it genuinely does not represent the Kashmiri Pandit community. It’s a right wing organisation. They have a jaundiced view-point So we don’t need to respond to their allegations. Even another point that we’re not coming out to express solidarity with the KP community is wrong. Our leaders and workers are participating in sit-ins being organised by protesting KPs. Last night only across Kashmir, particularly in South Kashmir there were protests against targeted killings and our Municipal Council president Kulgam along with workers was there with protesting KPs who had organised a sit-in there,” he said.

“Even our political detractors are telling lies. What they are saying is just gibberish. We don’t condemn killings on the basis of religion. They (BJP people) are accountable for the security of people, including minorities. Who can condone killings? NC has always condemned it. We often condemn Pakistan. They are in power so that is why they are trying to deviate, deflect the attention of people,” he asserted.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) spokesperson Ravinder Sharma, too, refutes allegations, saying, “If some KP organisation levels allegations against Congress, you must explore its affiliation. They would be sponsored by BJP. Because Congress party, itself, is a victim of terrorism. We have lost our leadership to terrorism. We have condemned terrorism in explicit terms always. We condemn Pakistan for sponsoring acts of terror in J&K. We are participating in protests along with KPs.”

“But if you particularly talk about the Kashmir scenario, there are two points to be focused on. One- if we join the protests, the government blames us for politicising the issue and secondly, our leaders, including our JKPCC president have either been deprived of security or it has been downsized, thus making them too as sitting ducks,” Sharma said.

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