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Spree in killing of minority community members – Pakistan’s hand is visible all the way

7/10/2021 at 5:10 PM

By Arun Joshi

 In one of the rarest of rare  incidents  in Kashmir’s more than three-decade old armed militancy , terrorists shot dead two  minority community teachers inside a school in Idgah area of Srinagar on Thursday. The killing of  teachers have come in less than  48 hours after the  gunning down of a prominent chemist  and Kashmiri Pandit  M L Bindroo and a resident of Bihar  on Tuesday , thus  exposing a pattern of rapid speed of the select killing of the minority community men and women in Kashmir . It is a  chilling reminder of such killings in 1989-1990.

The whole game makes it clear that Pakistan has  intensified its terror campaign this time singling out the minority community members – Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs , as also non-locals who visit Kashmir for economic activity.

The teachers , including Principal Supinder Kaur ,  of Sangam , Idgah , school in capital city of Srinagar, were shot dead on Thursday morning . Supinder was a  Sikh , while another teacher was a Kashmiri Pandit Deepak Chand.

In an hour’s time  on Tuesday  evening from 7 to 8 p.m. , militants  had  shot dead M L  Bindroo, a renowned  chemist and a prominent Kashmiri Pandit in Srinagar. Virendra Pawan from Bhagalpur, Bihar, was shot dead in  Lal Bazar area of Srinagar .

The killing of teachers inside school reveals new areas where the terrorists have started visiting all the vulnerable places  and killing their targets . In the history of more than three-decade -old militancy in Kashmir, it has been rare when the school teachers have been shot dead within the premises of the educational institution like this . . It is  yet another low in militancy  in Kashmir.

All these killings reveal that the militants have  started targeting  Sikhs and Kashmiri Pandits and non-locals to deliver a chilling message that they were not safe in the Valley. The larger design seems to make them flee  the Valley , the return of the 1989-1990 phenomenon when the select killings of the minorities had made them to migrate  and seek safety and shelter elsewhere in the country.

Now, the designs, it seems , is to make all those who have  stayed on in the Valley to live in. fear or migrate.

Director General of Police Dilbag Singh who reached the school within minutes after the shootout that scared the staff and children  analysed it as a  “ conspiracy from Pakistan  who want to disturb the communal harmony in Kashmir and stall the process of normalization and return of peace in the Valley.”

The police chief was categorical that this was also a “ conspiracy to defame the  Kashmiri Muslims in the eyes of the world,”, thus to give an impression that the issue of the majority versus minority has resurfaced . At the same time, it cannot be overlooked that there is a growing radicalism in Kashmir thriving on the narrative of the us versus they , which has gained currency in the recent years.

Pakistan has been instrumental in instigating this narrative since the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A that granted special status and privileges to Jammu and Kashmir its natives on August 5, 2019. It had been  charging the government of  India in indulging in what it called  “ its designs to change the demographics in J&K.”

Pakistan Prime Minister  Imran Khan  in his speech at the UNGA in September had  accused India of unleashing oppression in Kashmir and stated that “ this repression is accompanied by illegal efforts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory , and transform it from a Muslim majority into   a Muslim minority.” This discourse amplified by the social media campaign launched by Pakistan and its overground workers in Kashmir have  created an atmosphere of distrust and hatred , and these killings are byproduct of this phenomenon .

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.

DISCLAIMER

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

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