In this era of fake news it has become easy for hate mongers to spread their agenda & disturb peace & harmony. On Thursday, 14 February 2019 last year when a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu-Srinagar highway was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber Adil Ahmad Dar at Lethpora (near Awantipora) in Pulwama district, 42 CRPF men lost their lives & many were injured. Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for this attack the first of its kind on Kashmiri soil. While heart wrenching news of attack brought shocked bereaved families of soldiers, it came as a doomsday for innocent Kashmiris working, studying, and settling in several parts of India. From businessman to students, Kashmiris had to face wrath of the mobs that attacked Kashmiris all across India at different places. Angry mobs took to streets attacked Kashmiris, raised slogans like ‘shoot the traitor Kashmiris’, ‘drive them out’, so on. Two Kashmiri students were ruthlessly beaten by a mob in Sudhowala, Dehradun area; In Ambala city of Haryana violent mobs threatened Kashmiri students and forced them to leave their rented places immediately through announcements on loudspeakers. Students were terrorised in collage hostels to the extent that some could not dare to cook meals. In New Delhi situation was no better as Kashmiri students were harassed . The references like ‘Kashmiris bohat kush honge’, ‘Koie apna marta tou pata chalta’ were irritating for most of the Kashmiri students. In jaganpura area of Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi Kashmiri boy was beaten. A video that went viral on social media was showing that a Kashmiri Shawl seller was threatened to leave. The video was showing a mob vandalising shops and raising slogans ‘Kashmiri nikal jao’ so on. One Kashmiri residing in Kolkata, West Bengal while sharing his distress on social media wrote: ”Kindly help as I’m being threatened, perhaps by VHP workers since yesterday & they are constantly telling me to leave Kolkata & go to Pakistan, ‘Or we will kill you & your family’. I’m living here with 2 daughters & my wife for 6 years. I’m very afraid & worried for them.”Itself in State of Jammu Kashmir’s Hindu majority districts of Jammu right wing’s violent mobs set ablaze car’s bearing Kashmiri number plate, even Jammu’s Muslim population had to live under continuous fear. About 15-20 girls were trapped in a hostel of Dolphin institute in Dehradun, as an angry mob demanded students from Kashmir should be expelled from hostels. Be it Chandigarh University’s Hostel or Desh Baghat University Kashmiri students faced the wrath all across the India. Why situation turned hostile? Why even today Kashmiris are living in continuous fear in India? What has prompted people in India to spread this hate against Kashmiris among rest of India? In April 2010, 76 CRPF security forces were killed in ambush by Naxalite-Maoists in Chhattisgarh, state of India. This attack took place near Chintalnar Village in Dantewada District. After Dantewada attack no Chhattisgarhi was targeted but why Kashmiris are attacked every now & then? Even normally Kashmiris do face discrimination in India. Be it denying Hotel rooms to Kashmiris & harassment in college hostels, Kashmiris are the targets of right wing goons.
Kashmiris pray day and night for the peaceful result oriented India-Pakistan engagement that will resolve Kashmir and bring ever lasting peace to the region.
Soon after Pulwama attack whole Indian media was telecasting the news like this: “When will be deaths avenged?” prime time debates were dominated by right wing activists demanding revenge, some even went to extent of saying attack & destroy whole Pakistan. Indian news channels blamed Kashmiris for attack by saying how can terrorists plan such a big attack without the help of locals. The anchors, news reporters, and people of different shades and opinion on Prime time triggered anti- Kashmir feelings. People came out to protest & soon right wing mobs started targeting Kashmiris & people could not understand what to do until it spread like a wild fire & in very short time Kashmiris were attacked at several places across India. Whatsapp university (whatsapp groups creating propaganda) played its role in spreading hate against Kashmiris. There is a difference between demanding justice & demanding revenge. Indian media need to learn journalism & its responsibilities in a society. Media has a key role in opinion making & its impact on Government policies & actions is quiet is ovious. Joseph Goebbels German Nazi politician who was appointed as Propaganda Minister by Adolf Hitler also served as Chancellor for one day after Hitler’s death. He said: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself”. Goebbels was a master propagandist who excelled in stirring up hatred and orchestrating gigantic extravaganzas, such as annual Nazi Party’s rallies.Most of Indian News channels by giving full vent to popular anger & intemperate language are running more like a propaganda movement against Kashmiris than as an awareness movement against loop holes of present Government, A year after Pulwama attack I don’t find a single debate on these loopholes. The way coverage of Kashmir is done by Indian media raises question like how such sensitive issues like Pulwama attack must be reported, what guide lines must be followed while reporting such events & in commentaries, especially prime time talk shows which are full of toxic provocations & anchors are not neutral at all. Many news anchors are openly expressed their inclination towards right wing ideology during talk shows on their news channels.Clearly media must observer principle of refraining from such way of reporting which disturbs social harmony. The people who were on roads on January 3rd 2019 protesting against ISIS supporters, condemning unfurling ISIS flags in Kashmir, radicalization of youth, saw themselves targeted in various parts of India after Pulwama attack. India needs to understand that people of Kashmir too want peace but peace is only possible when Kashmir issue is solved. History is witness to fact that Governments that have time & again chosen to suppress & silence people’s voices have never succeeded. Kashmir is filled with rage & anger after Kashmiris have been targeted in India now & then. Kashmir has been a flash point between two neighboring countries-India & Pakistan. Delegations after delegations are been invited to Kashmir to show semblance of normalcy but does normalcy mean the silence? Absence of protests? No, Normalcy never means absence of violence only but normalcy means ‘the state of being normal’. Can these delegations declare Kashmir normal like Chandigarh? which is also a Union Territory like Jammu & Kashmir. Both India & Pakistan need to understand that war brings only destruction .War is never going to be a solution, only dialogue is a way forward, both countries need to join heads to come to a solution on Kashmir issue & bring peace to millions in both the countries & create a congenial atmosphere for development, stability,& everlasting peace for region. Instead of raising slogans of “revenge & hatred” politicians of both the countries must understand that it is time to start to pave way for “Kashmir Needs Solution”. People are fed up with hatred and want to live in love. Kashmiris yearn for peace. Kashmiris pray day and night for the for the peaceful result oriented India-Pakistan engagement that will resolve Kashmir and bring ever lasting peace to the region.
(The author is a content writer & social activist. Views are exclusively his own)