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More targeted killings: Kashmiri Pandits sandwiched in the Valley – nowhere to go

17/08/2022 at 1:53 PM

Arun Joshi

After the recent killings of the Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley, that has jolted the faith of the community all across in the government’s claim of having secured Kashmir for one and all the Modi government needs to analyse the problem with a realistic prism. Why Kashmiri Pandits are getting killed, and how this gruesome situation can be redeemed. Delhi should also realise that the route to the solution lies in involving local politicians, society leaders, and it should give up the squinted view that security forces alone can deliver all the solutions. Gun for gun theories when translated on the ground widens gaps and that also adds to gaps which are filled by terrorists.

This time terrorists struck at Budgam in the Central Kashmir on Monday evening – soon after when the authorities were celebrating successful conclusion of the 76th Independence- day functions across the Union Territory, The celebrations were justified as there have been occasions when the terrorists used to strike, kill and injure the people on the eve or on the days of national festivals – more than 16 people were killed on January 26, while the official celebrations were on in Jammu in 1995. August 15 used to witness swooshing of rockets over the venues of the celebrations. On Tuesday morning came the news from Shopian in south Kashmir that two brothers were shot at, one of them died on the spot, other was taken to hospital for specialized treatment. This is the return of the same old horrific scenes which Kashmir thought had become a thing of the past. But, in Kashmir, past has an ominous tendency to mar the present, cast shadow on future.

These killings have deepened fears of the Kashmiri Pandits. The community that had migrated en masse in 1989-90 after a spate of violence against the community members is now finding itself sandwiched. The government is on prestige to restore the community members to their motherland without having created an ecosystem for the same, and the current situation in Kashmir is making them uncomfortable and insecure.

The government has discovered that steam rolling the issues is no answer to the wider problems.

In May this year when the terrorists jolted the faith of the minority community in the situation when they targeted minority community members one after another at regular intervals, they had an agenda on their mind to fulfill – it centered around causing panic in the minority community, especially Kashmiri Pandit employees serving in the Valley under Prime Minister’s Employment and Rehabilitation Package. They were also driven by their old mindset of getting rid of the minorities, so that they could create an impression that they were doing all this to save the Islamic culture, heritage and the Muslim identity of Kashmir. It also is a fact that they wanted to negate official narrative that normalcy has returned to the Valley. For the past couple of days, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha , who is the sole authority looking after all affairs of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has drawn a deadline of one year to finish off Pakistan sponsored terrorism from the soil of Jammu and Kashmir.

This narrative may continue, and the security forces are expected to intensify their counter-terrorism operations, but the killing of minority community members inject a counter-narrative that the things are not as smooth or easy as being projected. Something has to be understood very clearly that J&K is a place where the terrorism is in existence for the 33rd year running; its roots are quite deep. These are essentially integrated with the ever-increasing sense of alienation, the history of which is decades old. It dates back to 1950s when Delhi started playing games with the democratic set up in Kashmir. It wanted to impose its will all the time on the whole of the population, perhaps moving into self-delusion that the neighbouring country had mischief on its sleeves. Pakistan had launched its operations to annex Kashmir with the tribesmen’s invasion of Jammu and Kashmir in October 1947, as it could not reconcile to the wounds inflicted on it by Kashmiris who had said a loud No to the two-nation theory. The rejection of the two-nation theory, was in fact the manifestation of support for Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India. The instrument of accession signed by  Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of the majestic state of Jammu and Kashmir, the boundaries of which rose  from the plains bordering Pakistan to the high mountains touching Tibet. It is well documented in the history that Pakistan made all out attempts through open wars and covert operations to annex Kashmir. But this also is a fact that Pakistan succeeded in launching proxy war and succeeded enlisting support of the youth only because of the fault lines had widened owing to the growing differences and distances between Delhi and Srinagar. The alleged rigging in the 1987 Assembly polls turned out to be a flashpoint, though the fact remains simmering tensions were waiting to blow up. That remains the Pakistani part of this tragic story which keeps on repeating after every few days and weeks.

The return of the ghost of targeted killings is omnipresent in Kashmir now.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.

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