Why Dangri attack should have us worried

As the G20 and the state elections are in the pipeline, Pakistan will try all the means to exploit the minorities of J&K and create communal hatred. It will affect rural areas like Dangri the most.

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By: Sahil Tikoo
Updated: 21 January, 2023 9:26 pm IST
Relatives bid tearful adieu to victims of Dangri terror attack. Dangri being a Hindu-dominated area was specifically and purposefully targeted for creating communal tension and hatred. Source: Social media Source: Social media

On the first day of the year 2023, Pakistan-sponsored terrorists carrying automatic rifles barged into three houses in Dangri Rajouri and murdered four men, and two Children while injuring many. Rajouri district is bordered on the West by PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), on the North by Poonch district, on the East by Reasi district, and on the south by Jammu district. The northern parts of the Rajouri district are in the Pir Panjal range. Being in close proximity to the PoK, J&K witnessed many infiltrations bids from the Rajouri Poonch sector, especially from the Mendhar and Bimbar Gali sectors, Rajouri has remained in news for quite a long time for ceasefire violations.

After a spree of targeted killings in the Kashmir division and a backlash from the local population and the security forces, Pakistan seems to be shifting its focus on the Rajouri Poonch region of the Jammu division. The Rajouri Poonch region has a 60% Muslim Population and 37% Hindu Population and the rest are Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.

Dangri being a Hindu-dominated area was specifically and purposefully targeted for creating communal tension and hatred. The people of this region include the Gujjar Bakkarwal tribes and Pahari-speaking people who have always lived in peace and harmony with each other. They have never been politically alienated, never promoted any separatism, and never made any demands for autonomy.

In 2008 during the Amarnath shrine row, the separatists and hardliners from Kashmir managed to create communal tension between the Hindu and the Muslim community resulting in emotional and financial damage to the region. Many shops and properties were set ablaze by people of both communities. It took years for political parties and leaders of both communities to resolve differences. And today when the backbone of separatism’s main front Hurriyat Conference has totally collapsed and the Jamat is facing a crackdown from the Indian Government, the Pakistani state is indulging in barbaric acts to destabilise peace & harmony.

Kashmir province has a Muslim majority, and Jammu province has a Hindu majority. However, in Jammu province, the Doda-Kishtwar Range and the Rajouri-Poonch Range have approximately similar populations of Hindu and Muslim communities. The areas have been volatile and will remain the target for Pakistan. With the tightening grip of our security forces over Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in J&K, and the Indian government’s strict vigil over the administrational functioning of the state, Pakistan has lost its covert and nefarious control in J&K. The incident of Dangri explains the desperation and eagerness of Pakistan to keep its dousing flame up.

Pakistan may now try to target minority group leaders, and religious places and increase the level of violence like in the early 1990s when we saw large-scale infiltration from these regions. The massacre of Dangri is the beginning of a bigger conspiracy and should ring the alarm bells in the security establishments, intelligence agencies, and political leaders so that the state has an unerring security and political apparatus.

Now is the time for the common masses of J&K to stay put against the terror ecosystem which will come in the form of terrorism, narcotics, hate speeches, and much more. More VDCs (Village defense committees) should be formed and the liaison between civilians and security forces should be strengthened. The religious heads of all the communities should stand united and should make people aware of the atrocities of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and its repercussions on every community.

As the G20 and the state elections are in the pipeline, Pakistan will try all the means to exploit the minorities of J&K and create communal hatred as it has been doing for decades. It will affect rural areas like Dangri the most. We should not let terrorism once again cripple the social and economical prospects of Jammu and Kashmir. It is time people from both communities come forward and put an end to these covert and overt designs of Pakistan to keep itself alive in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is time we ensure what happened in Dangri should not happen anywhere in the country.

(The author is an Engineer, former BJP Youth Wing Spokesperson, and a columnist. The views expressed by the author are his own)

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