Punish the guilty of Kishtwar riots
All those responsible for disturbing the peace in the Jammu province of the Jammu & Kashmir State should not only be immediately brought to book but...
More recently, communal clashes have taken place leading to promulgation of round-the-clock curfew in a dozen districts of the region giving opportunity to agents-provocateurs and militants from Pakistan to fish in troubled waters
All those responsible for disturbing the peace in the Jammu province of the Jammu & Kashmir State should not only be immediately brought to book but also need to be clearly identified and exposed. The region, more particularly Kishtwar, has had a long tradition of communal amity and harmony notwithstanding grave provocations from the neighboring country. Such attempts, however, received an alarming boost of late.
The trouble, in fact, started with a tiff involving a mosque Imam and a paramilitary officer posted in Kishtwar, and the situation worsened though controlled in time. More recently, communal clashes have taken place leading to promulgation of round-the-clock curfew in a dozen districts of the region giving opportunity to agents-provocateurs and militants from Pakistan to fish in troubled waters.
Also, their troops stepped up persistent violations of the ceasefire line across the line of control. The CFL is no international border but is a mere arrangement devised in 1948 to demarcate the illegally occupied Indian territory in Pakistani hands. Let it be clear that it is a well-defined, not an amorphous, line.
It is for Pakistan to explain the reasons for its recent belligerence, but these are not obviously incidental happenings. It may as well be part of the strategy of the military generals in Pakistan to checkmate the new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s growing enthusiasm to work for Indo-Pak rapprochement. This has been one part of the story, and the other that concerns us rather more directly is the problem of communal tensions gripping the Jammu region and its internal roots. In this area Pakistan has been indeed playing a role through its agents provocateurs and the militants, but, unfortunately, so to say, one comes across the questionable role of political groups of the far right in fomenting present tensions.
This necessitates a deep inward look. The intelligence agencies have something revealing to say in this connection, pointing an accusing finger at the Bajrang Dal, a close outfit of the saffron parivar, lying at the root of the trouble in Jammu. These findings indicate a deeper malaise involving serious political motivations. Already, there have been complaints galore regarding the functioning of the village defence councils set up in the region with the initial purpose of promoting social and communal bonhomie.
But soon complaints began pouring in casting serious doubts on the credentials of many of the members of the village defence councils themselves. The situation seems to have been further vitiated as elections dates draw near. The Jammu region itself had remained a picture of comparative peace and calm throughout but for Pakistan’s aggressive designs; yet, there is no denying that the elements opposed to the National Conference did not really remain inactive down these decades.
As it is, the State comprises three regions– Kashmir valley (pre-dominantly Muslim), Jammu (Dogra) and Ladakh (Buddhist)–an epitome and picture perfect of India’s unity in diversity. Gandhiji had described Kashmir in 1947 as the only ray of hope amid the Partition gloom. Yet, there was no let-up in the activities of separatists who always played up regional differences however flawed and imaginary per se. In the earlier years, there were leaders who were vehemently opposed to Nehru’s policy on Kashmir, Premnath Dogra of the State Praja Parishad and Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherji, founder-president of the Jan Sangh, predecessor of the BJP, among them, but their motives were beyond question.
On the other side was the legendary Sheikh Abdullah, proponent of the Naya Kashmir movement and architect of the State’s integration with the Indian Union. Things have changed radically along with general decline of the political value-system; the divisive ongoing political game plan in Jammu region would not have been possible without deeper roots lying elsewhere and outside. Be that as it may, in this interplay of political rivalry, the forces of far right have chosen the Central leadership and Omar Abdullah as the common target. It is now for them to respond and react.