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Alienate Pakistan but not Kashmiris

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on February 23, 2019 with No Comments

In the present case of a suicide bomber jamming his explosive-laden car into a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troop truck that was part of a long convoy has come as an eye opener. The attack has left 41 soldier of CRPF dead and has sent a shock wave all across India. The attack occurred on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, which is the only artery leading into the Valley. This is used by civilians as well as the security forces. The explosive laden car was able to breach the route shows that there was hardly any sensitization of the area around specially when 2500 soldiers are on the move. Those defending the government saying that closing off the highway whenever it is being used by security forces is simply not feasible have forgotten that there was a warning by Intelligence agencies. And in many other previous cases, the “inputs” remained merely as inputs and not a clue to act upon!
Could the troops have been moved by air instead? Yes, but this would have been a major expense and a government that has stopped Travelling allowance to its army officers due to cash crunch could not think on those lines.
The involvement of a suicide bomber and that too a local youth is reflecting towards an extent of radicalization of Kashmiri youth. The ruling BJP at the Centre and it has a direct control over Jammu and Kashmir through President’s rule has failed to present a policy where by the youth of Kashmir could be absorbed in the main stream.
The Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the latest attack. There are already demands that Pakistan be punished for aiding and abetting the terrorist group in undertaking cross-border attacks against India. Opposition leaders need to be commended for extended full support to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government to take appropriate action. However, leaders like Mamata Banerjee still see politics in the timing of the event. An habitual critic of BJP, she took on the government saying, “When elections are knocking on the door you are trying to stage a war, a shadow war. Amit Shah and Narendra Modi are delivering political speeches. Even after such a big mishap you do not resign taking responsibility and are instead delivering political speeches.” She should have desisted from such comments. Death of soldiers should have not been politicized.
News reports of Kashmiri students being targeted in several parts of the country have further vitiated an already tense environment. In the already volatile Aligarh Muslim University, authorities have issued an advisory to Kashmiri students asking them “not to move out of the campus”. Also, in response to protests orchestrated by the ABVP and Bajrang Dal, two colleges in Dehradun have gone so far as to give an official undertaking that they would not admit any Kashmiri student in the coming academic year. The response of authorities is also far from acceptable. One of the harassed students who tweeted that she is being “virtually” held hostage has been booked for spreading “hatred”. Authorities should have rather send a strong message that any violence against Kashmiri students is unacceptable. The government and the police should have stepped in contain the situation, but they didn’t.
While the country can endlessly debate the most appropriate way to respond to last week’s terror strike, beating up young Kashmiri students must be taken off the list of possible options, now and forever. By carrying out attacks on innocents students, Indians are doing what the terrorists desired to do-spreading hatred and disturbing peace. Such acts only mean that Indians are playing up to those disruptive forces.
Kashmir cannot be isolated from the rest of India, however India must take steps to send a strong signal to Pakistan. International pressure on Pakistan to stop terrorism to grow from its soil is one of the options that India should certainly opt for. It is Pakistan that needs to be alienated and not Kashmiris.


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