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Ahmednagar parcel bomb blast: There are people who are not in favour of our work, says Nahar

Two persons were injured after a low intensity blast took place inside a courier office located in Maliwada area in Ahmednagar at 10 pm on Tuesday. According to Ahmednagar police, the blast was caused by an explosive hidden inside a portable radio which was meant to be delivered to Pune-based social activist Sanjay Nahar.

pune Updated: Mar 23, 2018 15:23 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Ahmednagar,parcel bomb
Sanjay Nahar with students from Kashmir.(HT PHOTO)

: I have always been visiting and working at conflict zones in Kashmir. I have no enemy nor have any bad thought against anyone. What I work for is integration and harmony in the Valley,” said Sanjay Nahar, social worker and founder of 23-year-old non-governmental organisation (NGO) Sarhad.

Two persons were injured after a low intensity blast took place inside a courier office located in Maliwada area in Ahmednagar at 10 pm on Tuesday. According to Ahmednagar police, the blast was caused by an explosive hidden inside a portable radio which was meant to be delivered to Pune-based social activist Sanjay Nahar.

“My effort is a movement to bring the Kashmir youth into the mainstream and create a positive image about the Kashmiri people in India. Maybe there are people who are not in favour of this, and maybe there are doing this purposefully. The ground reality in Kashmir at present is very difficult,” said Nahar, adding that “There are not many engagements for youth to positively engage their energy. They have no jobs, no education and no programmes which can keep them engaged. What they need right now are large-scale cultural activities and positivity through the public events.”

The home minister has conveyed to Nahar that there will be a proper investigation and that the concerned people behind this parcel blast will be soon apprehended.

“Basically I am a social activist and we are always living with the words of sacrifices of the people who have laid their lives. Just because of a threat, I won’t stop my work. I have chosen my path and these things can happen, and we live with that,” he said.

Nahar has been receiving threats on and off during his work for the NGO. “During my work with Punjab movement, Khalistan movement in 1985-86, or during 2011, I have been getting threats but nothing like the one at present. This was a direct attempt and there have been a few like this before but in different references like, for instance, when Anna Hazare and I were in Kashmir together in 2000, while going towards Lal Chowk, a blast took place 100-150 feet away from us. While going on this peace process, such things are likely to happen,” he said.

On reference to the Kashmiri girl mentioned in the letter that was found in the parcel, Nahar said, “I think most of the people think that all Kashmiris are militants or that our helping them is wrong and maybe a step to misguide agencies. We know that ‘she’ is fake and she doesn’t exist at all.”

Nahar also said that the person who has caused this seems to be a technically sound person and it was an attempt to show or point out that Kashmir attracts immediate attention of the agencies, and hence the person must have used the name of a Kashmiri girl.

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Sanjay Nahar started Vande Mataram Sanghatana in Pune in 1984 but was drawn towards working for the cause of national integration. The Punjab issue was at its peak in 1984 and led to the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in October. Disturbed by the turn of events, Nahar and members of Vande Mataram commenced its activities with a visit to Punjab in the form of a peace march and had a first-hand experience of the situation in that state.

Nahar and his colleagues kept visiting Punjab, establishing people to people contact and spreading the message of peace in the strife-torn state. In all, 21 peace marches were organised during the subsequent period. Even at that early stage, Nahar succeeded in organising many peace talks between stakeholders with different streams of thought.

Now in his early 50s, Nahar founded Sarhad in 1995 to work in the border areas, notably Kashmir and Punjab, to strengthen ties between these border states and the rest of India. His work in strife-torn Kashmir has been mainly in the form of providing relief and rehabilitation to children from the Valley who became orphans and those who suffered due to the violence caused by terrorism.

Around 1990, when Punjab was cooling down, another border state of India, Jammu & Kashmir had begun experiencing militancy and related tensions. Zain-ul-Abideen Peace March kicked off the activities in Kashmir and later on the Know India Tours for children from Kashmiri became a regular annual event in which they are shown the peaceful, accommodative and tolerant side of India.

Nahar was instrumental in naming a chowk in the Katraj area of Pune as Pune-Kashmir Friendship Chowk to celebrate the close ties the city has with the Valley.

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First Published: Mar 23, 2018 15:09 IST