9:48 pm - Thursday February 25, 2021

Kashmir to Kishtwar – Dr Ramesh Raina

ramesh-rainaThe trajectory of Muslim politics in Kashmir is shaping itself on expected lines. Though not a new phenomenon, in recent times it has attained a vicious and virulent character. It has created unprecedented convulsions which are exploding right across the state. It has become more pronounced and wide spread. It has surfaced itself in a recurrent manner therefore continues to be the most powerful driver of the local politics. It follows a cleverly woven local agendas which is an explosive mix of terrorism, fundamentalism and communalism to protect its control over the civil society. A largely secular state came under its influence, recurrent and targeted anti Hindu violence coloured the subsequent politics.

Notably as the situation unfolded in Kashmir, the entire state had to suffer severe stresses and strains. The events of ninety could have not gone unnoticed, given its origins and ideology. It was a historic moment in the politics of Kashmir as its long term impact brought the Muslim dimension to the fore. Ever since there is an unceasing concern over its growing impact as it is finding ideological support from different quarters. This is helping them to achieve the psychological outcomes in terms of religious imperatives.
Having said that, it is essential to understand the role and influence of 9th August Kishtwar communal riot. Against this backdrop the issue of anti minority sentiment created in early 90’ and still prevalent in Kashmir has assumed renewed centrality. Hindsight reminds us Kishtwar witnessed slaughter of 17 Hindu villagers in1993 at Sarthal near Kishtwar. Similar incidents with less intensity made their way in 2003 and 2008. Looking into it with clinical objectivity, it remains a fact that the spread of Anti Hindu infection to other parts of the state was emboldened by the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits a quarter of a century back. Deeply conscious of their exodus there has been a consistency in the recurrent and targeted Anti Hindu violence. It represents the exhibition of a typical mindset where they see the state as Greater Kashmir barring a few districts. This has affected the Hindu situation in J&K by the level of this running hostility. As a consequence the state as a composite and integrated entity has become weak and vulnerable because it is internally trapped in to a divide. It is affecting every conceivable area of the public life. To highlight some points in this regard assumes significance.
1 Simmering discontent in Ladakh about the discriminatory attitude towards Buddhists of Leh. Even though Ladakh has already been granted Autonomous Hill Development Council in 1989 in the aftermath of Ladakh agitation.
2 Jammu already has Jammu State Morcha(JSM) clamouring for separate statehood for Jammu.
3 Exile and subsequent marginalization and exclusion of displaced KP’s from the main stream Political life of Kashmir.
The immediate fallout is that the pulse of Kashmir politics is not favorably disposed towards the minorities especially after 90’s. This is because it encapsulates basic aspirations for greater political power. It is symbolized by the changed context of mainstream politics which has sought to recognize the conflict by limiting itself to the governance issues alone. It also is a political struggle for re-structuring the society in a monolithic fashion and this is entering in the larger matrix of the local politics. A deep distrust between various sections of the society is taking roots. It has etched an indelible furrow in the minority environment the best example elicited in this regard is minority free Kashmir.
Against this backdrop what adds urgency to the post riot situation in Kishtwar is the ensuing political debates and narratives making a case for the review of village defence committees one of the counter insurgency measures. This only ends up in making it suspect before the people. It is a different matter that VDC’s played an important role in combating terrorism and protecting the lives and property of the people as also instilling a sense of security in them.
The political journey of Kashmir is hazy and has lot of imperfections. In this process the historical pluralism inherent in the Kashmiri society has steadily diminished over the years. Its fuller ambit is illustrative of the prevalence of vicious social environment because of torn social fabric. It has brought itself with violent agitational politics wherein every effort is made to demonize India as happened in Kishtwar where habitual pro azadi slogans where raised. There however is a fair recognition that it is the most telling example of inability to see ahead of the time. The political consequences could include even state imploding because of deepening of the divides. A further danger arises because of the resultant vacuum becoming a breeding and fertile ground for the forces thriving under such situations ready to ignite at the slightest provocation.
The sum total of my argument is that it will come back. It will keep on ravaging and raping the society again and again. To get rid of this infection it will need to demolish the foundations on which it festers. But will that be done, is a million dollar question.


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2 Responses to “Kashmir to Kishtwar – Dr Ramesh Raina”

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