Azad Hussain

Demonizing the people of Kashmir

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A classical example of stereotyping a community is unfolding in various states of India where people of Kashmir- be they students or businessmen- are attacked and assaulted by the dominant fringe elements. Horrible things are done to people just because they happen to be Kashmiri- isn’t this criminal stereotyping of a people?

The recent incident in Lucknow, the capital city of Utter Pradesh, in which two Kashmiri road vendors were severely thrashed by the goons in Saffron Kurtas, is another testimony to the fact that how Kashmiris are being prosecuted in India, especially after the Pulwama suicide attack that left several security forces personnel’s dead.

One of the videos being circulated through social media shows that a person, who dares to ask the attackers as to why they were thrashing the innocent Kashmiri vendors, is shut by a sharp reaction from the goons stating that ‘Yae Kashmiri Hain’ (they are from Kashmir). The answer, therefore, sums up the amount of hatred and intoxication that these fringe elements carry under their saffron dresses for the people of Kashmir.

They are, undoubtedly, the fringe elements and by virtue of being so they therefore can beat the people of Kashmir at public places in broad daylight for the reason that India seems to have surrendered to such goons who have utter hatred for people of Kashmir and also for the system of law and justice in place in India. They don’t seem to care about the police or other law enforcing agencies and therefore carry on their own agenda of marginalizing, brutalizing and stereotyping of a people without a ting of remorse- come what may.

Such incidents are not new in India and have been witnessed in past as well. The targets have mostly been the students from Kashmir pursuing education in different states of India.  However the frequency of attacks on the people of Kashmir abruptly rose up immediately in the aftermath of Pulwama attack. Perhaps the goons who fuel the fire of communal disharmony and for their vested interests, took the Pulwama attack as the best opportunity to go against the Kashmiris without even bothering to think that how can one relate the attack by militants on CRPF convey with the common people of Kashmir pursuing their studies or businesses in any other state.

Though the motive to vilify the image of Kashmiri people is not going to be that easy and there have been instances when locals objected to such criminality and safeguarded Kashmiri students and businessmen, as in Lucknow, yet such incidents are terrorizing one and all for the fear of mobs and the way the tendency of such hooligans to lynch someone has been reaching to alarming heights.

In today’s India, communal politics is preferred over human values by some elements and the tragedy is that the entire civil society has been reduced to a mere shadow which may or may not really intervene at such occasions- even if someone’s life is being threatened. We have seen how the social media is used to campaign for spreading hatred and inciting communal violence in India and the alarming repercussions of such campaigns have led to lynching of several members of minority communities. It is the Muslims and the Dalits who are being largely marginalized and prosecuted these days.

But in this hopeless scenario, one is really appreciative of the fact that despite facing such threatening situations outside of Kashmir, people of Kashmir continue to uphold the age-old ethos of hospitality and generosity with the tourists or the workers reaching here from different states of India. The ruling elite of India must realize that even at a time of great internal despair and increasing bloodshed, it is Kashmir that is upholding the philosophy of coexistence and harmony while India is losing both its claim and its pride as the biggest democracy in the world!

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