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Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

Hindustaniyat will triumph over imported terror in Kashmir

The recent attack on Amarnath pilgrims and the barbaric developments in Kashmir pose the question whether it is a holy war (jihad) or terrorism foisted upon us in the name of jihad?

columns Updated: Jul 16, 2017 21:08 IST
Shashi Shekhar
Shashi Shekhar
A protester at a rally in Thane, Mumbai, July 12, against the attack on civilians on a pilgrimage to Amarnath
A protester at a rally in Thane, Mumbai, July 12, against the attack on civilians on a pilgrimage to Amarnath (Praful Gangurde/HT)

Extreme darkness is always followed by light, or so goes an old saying. Even today, amid all that bloodbath in Kashmir, some people are hoping for a ray of light. They are not wrong.

Let me begin with talking about Sandeep Sharma — aka Aadil. Born in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, Sandeep was a welder by profession. Work opportunities took him to Kashmir. Here he met members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). They were planning to use his skill to rob ATMs. Sandeep considered it an easier option rather than spoiling his eyes in the searing heat while working as a welder. Around the same time he met a Kashmiri girl. They got married and he converted to Islam. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the LeT hatched this conspiracy to mislead Hindu boys from western Uttar Pradesh.

Can those fighting with the so-called ‘love jihad’ sense a new challenge here? They’ll now have to keep a close watch not just on the girls but the boys as well.

Sandeep’s story isn’t a crime thriller full of twists and turns. If the LeT militants are using ‘non-believers’ to break into ATMs, it can be interpreted in a number of ways. Is a shortage of cash compelling them to rob banks? When their separatist movement was dying down, militants in Punjab had adopted similar tactics to make a fast buck. That was the beginning of their downfall.

If you remember, I had mentioned Dehradun’s Danish Ahmed four weeks ago in this column. He had come in contact with militants through social media. He had affirmed that in the garb of militants certain people were busy extorting money and creating the impression of being macho. Sandeep’s story appears to be the next episode of the same story. This is because till now the militants described themselves as mujahideen. They used to justify bloodshed in the name of jihad. Their attempt was to make the issue of Kashmir’s independence synonymous with Islam so that the unity and sovereignty of India could be challenged by internationalising regional dissent.

There was a time when it was perceived that most personnel of Kashmir police sympathised with the separatist cause. But the manner in which the Jammu and Kashmir police personnel have recently come under attack has unleashed a wave of anger and sorrow across the state. “Is this the azaadi we were fighting for?” asked the sister-in-law of Ayub Pandith, who was killed outside the Jamia mosque. A few days before that the barbaric manner in which the bodies of six policemen from the Kashmir Police were mutilated also raises the question whether it is a holy war (jihad) or terrorism foisted upon us in the name of jihad?

This is where the role of politicians in Kashmir comes to the fore. Mehbooba Mufti may say with a heavy heart that the murder of seven Amarnath yatra pilgrims has brought shame upon Kashmiriyat, but she has to sow the seeds of such emotions in the hearts of common people. Are the ministers, MLAs, leaders and activists of the PDP in a position to confidently ask the people on the street to boycott those spreading terror in the name of Kashmiriyat? Why doesn’t she seek the cooperation of the National Conference and other regional parties for the sake of peace in Kashmir? Why doesn’t Mehbooba request spiritual organisations and religious leaders at mosques not to issue statements in the favour of terrorists and speak about the well-being of Kashmir?

History is looking at Mehbooba Mufti with curiosity. Her failure won’t just be the failure of a leader, but the failure of an entire political system.

Here I have a hope from people in the rest of the nation. Even my heart is crying over what happened to the Amarnath yatra pilgrims. But instead of spreading sensation or self-destructing rumours, let us keep our faith in the system. You have good reason to do this. At the Centre, apart from a government armed with a majority, we have a national security adviser of the calibre of Ajit Doval. He has spent more than five decades of his life fighting terrorism and separatist forces. Rather than indulging in needless criticism and pontification, let us allow him to do his work.

We have to keep believing that in the ultimate analysis, Hindustaniyat will triumph over imported terror. This is what our 5,000-year-old history teaches us.

Shashi Shekhar is editor in chief, Hindustan

First Published: Jul 16, 2017 21:06 IST

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