All said and done-Kashmir can’t wait forever!
By: Mudasir Ahmad Gori
A devastating suicide attack, first of its kind in terms of the magnitude, in which several army personals lost their lives, has triggered reactions all across the country with obvious condemnations pouring in from all quarters. The incident, however seems to have fallen into the hands of communal forces and war mongers, most of them sitting in television studios these days, and therefore assumes great potential to divide the country on the communal lines. What happened in Pulwama was very unfortunate and we, as human beings, must condemn it in the strongest words possible.
However, the aftermath of the attack, its repercussion on the Kashmiri people living outside Kashmir, are equally appalling and need to be condemned as well. One wonders why the Prime Minister of India kept mum over the issue so long and didn’t issue any statement, until yesterday, asking people to restrain from attacking Kashmiri students, traders and occasional visitors to various parts of India. In fact, PM Modi should have warned people against such eventualities and should also have directed the authorities to ensure the safety of the Kashmiris! The statement did come but many believe that it is too late as the fear and prosecution of Kashmiris has already pushed many students to cut-short their academic sessions in various universities and colleges in other states.
The harassment of Kashmiri students has already scared many parents who would now think twice before sending their wards to any of the colleges in mainland India. I wonder how a common Kashmiri student is responsible for whatever happened in Pulwama and how does beating and humiliating a Kashmir Shawl seller or student help to solve the Kashmir issue or avenge the losses? How does vacating Kashmiris from the respective accommodations bring peace to someone’s soul?
One can question that when in Chhattisgarh 76 army personnel were killed last year, there was nothing like a wave of nationwide anger against the people of Chhattisgarh and people rather understood that the perpetrators of violence were some people belonging to some ideology and having taken up arms against the state. But when it comes to Kashmir, people tend to paint everything with a single brush and accuse every single person from Kashmir as a ‘terrorist’. This is unfortunate and such attitude is only alienating the masses in Kashmir even further.
Thanks to the Sikh community that came forward to help people of Kashmir, particularly in Jammu and in parts of Punjab. The way the Khalsa Aid and some other smaller organizations of Sikhs helped students, businessmen, stranded passengers etc certainly made a great impact in the hearts and minds of people of Kashmir who, as we can see on the social media, are tremendously humbled. They have shown the way that most of us have forgotten long back.
However, I don’t think offering discounts on various products and other things can be a good medium to pay back what they have done for us. This may look commercial in nature, it is better if you make donations to the Khalsa Aid so that in near future if anything untoward episode happens they can extent help again. It is also a big lesson for us and we need to have such groups in Kashmir also so that, at a time of any hardship of adversity, we can also help in whatever ways possible.
One thing that cannot be denied and should not be ignored is that incidents like Pulwama bring forth the real faces of people and we now know that there are sections among the masses as well as in the intellectual class in India who seem hell-bent upon taking revenge and declaring war. These are the people who have no real respect for human life and dignity and yell abuses in loud voices, in tv studios, on newspapers and also on social media without having any understanding of the issues. Such people usually have their safe heavens to reside in and are good at only inciting the masses for criminality.
But there is also another class of people who believe that while one should condemn the incidents like Pulwama, one must also realize the underlying reasons. This section understands that conflicts breed violence and violence breeds more violence and subsequently destruction while dialogue and discussions are the key to peacefully and amicably resolving all outstanding issues. Kashmir can wait no longer and India as well as Pakistan must realize this sooner than later! In fact there can be no stronger wakeup call than the Pulwama incident!