The last few weeks in Kashmir have been extremely tragic as once again this unfortunate land has turned red with the blood of innocent people splattered by the Pakistani backed terrorists. Off-duty policemen, a TV artist and most notably, multiple Hindu employees have been targeted and brutally murdered in a fresh wave of terror violence. This cycle of terror precedes a similar pattern of killing which was unleashed late last year. Prominent Kashmiri Pandits, a Sikh principal, street food vendors and labourers were murdered in a similar fashion.
The brutal murder of innocent people is an extremely inhuman act and needs to be condemned by the whole society. The terror and its associated narratives have been so brutally weaponized by the Pakistani deep state in Kashmir that the majority of society is now bereft of humanity and ethics anymore. The renewed handlers of terror have unleashed ruthless, inhuman zombies using the power of religion who execute perfidy on the ground showing utter disregard for basic human decency and rights.
It goes without saying that most of the victims of Pakistan’s proxy war in Kashmir have been those people who don’t fit into the imaginary realm of “Kashmir banega Pakistan” – Non-Muslims and Nationalist Kashmiri Muslims. They are seen as the first stumbling block to the project of creating an Islamist utopia in Kashmir, hence they ought to be eradicated at all costs. This has been the bedrock of the terror insurgency ever since its inception. The terrorists and their backers show no remorse, because for them it is a so-called holy duty to kill all the enemies, be it Non-Muslims (Kafirs) or Nationalist Kashmiri Muslims (Murtads/Gaddars).
Post the eruption of terrorism in the valley this attitude sadly is found in a considerable portion of the Kashmiri society and it is this attitude which gives social sanctity to the terrorists to execute cruelty with so much impunity.
The white-collar terrorists continue to validate such acts of violence while enjoying their lives in Malaysia, Turkey, Europe, America and Gulf. Prior to the Pakistan sponsored terrorism, the state of Jammu and Kashmir had largely been characterized by communal harmony and rich traditions of brotherhood, which had stood the test of time even during the most horrendous phases of turmoil in the state.
Unfortunately, that rich tradition has crumpled in the valley as we see people maintaining criminal silence over these ghastly acts of terror. The silent mourning cannot continue anymore as people need to realize that such terror will devastate homes further.
The killings are also an indication of the continuation of the vicious cycle of violence and death which is now once again the daily feature and is sadly the new low of common Kashmiri life.
As the terror perpetrated cycle of death continues every day the environment of insecurity especially among the minority community looms large. And while this is happening, there also appears an indifference and weariness overtaking Kashmiri civil society regarding the tragic happenings.
It cannot go on like this and there has to be an end to it, as this unabated cycle of terror has increased the levels of despair and hopelessness among the thinking people.
Though the security grid is on its toes to thaw further any such attempts the real onus of fighting this lunacy is on the majority of Kashmiri society. It is imperative that every Kashmiri, regardless of political and religious affiliations, has to forthrightly come forward and strongly condemn such brutal attacks. These attacks never help the cause of building a stable and peaceful Kashmir nor will they allow any social bonding in Kashmir among different communities which have already faced irreparable damage after the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit community.
History cannot be allowed to repeat itself again because of terror and fear perpetrated by Pakistani backed terrorists and devised by the Rawalpindi based vicious Generals and their local cohorts.
The test of any society’s humane character is how it treats its minorities but to be honest, we have largely failed this test in the last three decades. It is an abject and shambolic fact of our society which can longer be brushed under the carpet.
The Pakistani sponsored enterprise of death, destruction and inhumanity will have to be foiled by the Kashmiris in order to survive as a society otherwise mere lip service condemnation and evasive attitudes of indulging in absurd conspiracy theories won’t help. Kashmiri society will have to come out of the denial mode otherwise this destructive fire of terror is going to burn us all.
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Already, the existing fear and insecurity are once again forcing Kashmiri Pandits to leave their homes for safety and survival. Their long-cherished dream to return to their homeland is being again snatched by the Pakistani sponsored terrorists and their backers.
Over the years, this displaced community had to suffer a lot. They are again being ruthlessly targeted for no fault of their own. Nothing can match the agonized memories of this displaced and repressed community. It is also a matter of extreme shame and denunciation for the majority community in Kashmir.
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Even though these murders were condemned by some sections of Kashmiri society, but still large sections maintained indifference and a criminal silence while some indulged in conspiracy theories. It is imperative that every section of Kashmiri society rises in unison in forthrightly condemning the attack.
But till the time, Kashmiris as a whole don’t stop sanctioning and supporting the violent acts of Pakistan’s proxies, unfortunately, this lip-service condemnation will mean absolutely nothing. This realization has to grow within the large sections of the Kashmiri society that for preserving the future of both Kashmir’s majority and minority communities, we need to delineate our young people from the growing religious extremist consciousness being driven by the Pakistani state and its handlers here in the valley.
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Kashmiri people in general and youth, in particular, need to realize that the poisonous wave of religious radicalization which has swept through the valley will only lead us towards more self-destruction and complete annihilation. They need to realize for their own good that there is an immediate need to stop playing into the hands of our neighbouring country’s deep state, otherwise, only further doom, death and destruction await us.
Extremist religious ideologies lead to savagery under which innocent lives are lost. Our youth cannot simply become fodder for it. The surge in the radical sentiments among the Kashmiri youth with their drift towards the more extremist (mis)interpretations of Islam has only brought us death and destruction in all spheres.
If anything, this path of radical so-called Jihad has diluted the cultural, political and democratic essence of our state. We are far from political emancipation because we have allowed ourselves to become proxies of our neighbouring deep state by adopting the path of doom, death and destruction through religious extremism.
Kashmir has become a land of silent mourners where terrorism and violence have devoured thousands of people and have left their families devastated. Valley also has largely witnessed that the families of victims of violence perpetrated by Pakistani backed terrorists have mostly mourned alone.
The attitude of people largely towards these families has been bereft of any humanity and societal ethics. The normalization of violence in the society has largely arisen from the terror associated narrative which has widely been percolated in every nook and corner of the valley.
Unless the society at large doesn’t realize that violence can never be a normalized factor in a civilized world this dirty dance of death and destruction will continue unabated. It will consume our children and our future generations and it’s for their sake that we the people need to stand up and denounce terror in one and all forms strongly. Or else our future generations will also have to suffer the same as German Theologian Martin Niemöller described the ordeal of being silent when wrong was being committed in the following poem:
“First they came for the Communists,
And I did not speak out as I was not a communist,
Then they came for the Socialists,
And I did not speak out as I was not a socialist,
Then they came for Trade Unionists,
And I did not speak out as I was not a trade unionist,
Then they came for the Jews,
And I did not speak out because I was not a Jew,
Then they came for me,
And there was no one left to speak for me.”
(Raja Muneeb is a freelance columnist. Faiz Firdaus is an independent scholar and blogger)
(Disclaimer: Views expressed above are authors’ own)
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