Of late there has been a spurt of activities and tailor-made reports that attempt to tarnish India’s standing and image in the global stage. Some of them may be partially correct, some self-inflicted, but majority of them do not stand scrutiny of an objective mind.
There has been a spate of targeted killings in Kashmir Valley recently and the silence of a section of the society there has added to the chorus of inimical powers seeking to diminish India’s standing as a true democracy. The targets of these killings included Government employees, police officials, teachers, sarpanches and labourers, all of whom were ‘outsiders’, or from minorities communities of Kashmir.
In May alone, there were eight killings which, according to the DGP of Kashmir, were with the aim of “propagating fear since local residents have stopped responding to their diktat.” Also, the aim according to the DGP was to create an atmosphere of backlash against Kashmiris working or studying outside the state, enhancing regional divide and igniting violence.
Captured militants have confirmed that instructions were received from Pakistan to shift focus away from security forces to civilians. Apparently, this has been due to limited successes in infiltration from POK and successful elimination of a large number of Pakistan-trained terrorists. Handlers from Pakistan have been quick to capitalise on spin offs – increased media publicity, enhanced fear pushing for an exodus from the Valley triggering memories of 1990s.
The fence-sitters on debate between a Secular India and advocates of Islamic Kashmir become emboldened by such acts of terror and become willing participants. Weakkneed political parties add to the uncertainty and chaos by adding fuel to the fire and creating an atmosphere of suspicion and fear.
The executors of these crimes can be called hybrids or perhaps even contract killers – those people who may be fence-sitters or those who work for a fee to execute the killings and return to their regular profession. It is, therefore, difficult to firmly establish their intent or loyalties as they are usually not under any scanner for suspicious activities. The most recent hybrid killing that comes under shades of grey is the accident where the bus driver jumped off before landing the bus in a gorge killing seven military soldiers.
Instead of supporting the Government, these incidents have triggered adverse remarks in the Valley; some blaming the Government for the abrogation of Article 370 while others demanding early elections claiming that to be a solution.
What sickens today is not that violence is once again being used to suppress what India stands for but to see evil being normalised to create a false reality of aspirations of Kashmir people. Kashmir has never been a part of Pakistan and never can be, even if the Valley is cleansed of all non-Muslims. If there ought to be an outstanding issue with Pakistan, it ought to be its dismemberment in 1971.
The reasons for the creation of Bangladesh from a country that was to be a haven for Muslims, need to be driven into the minds of the aggrieved parties. The East Pakistanis, who became Bangladeshis, continue to tell you how it was the discrimination of the Muslims of Bengali origin vis.-a –vis. the Western Muslims, who saw themselves as superior, that led to this independence movement. As opposed to that, there has been no institutionalised discrimination of any caste creed or religion in India, forget ethnic cleansing, except in Kashmir inflicted at the behest of Pakistan.
The silence over the killing is because the Islamists and their sympathisers are able to demonise the Pandits and others in ‘Us versus Them’ narrative. They are smart enough to weaponise and create an enemy where none exists.
And whoever disagrees with them becomes infidel, who can rightly and legally be put to death. The problems we face will not be solved by listening to the minds of those who create them, but to those who truly believe in what India stands for and are willing to pay a price to defend this idea of India.