Atrocities perpetuated against the innocent yatris of Amarnath last week have not only sent shock waves across the nation but has brought to fore the ugly and cruel face of Pakistan-trained and backed terrorists and their outfits. What would be the reaction of the Indian Government and the Mehbooba Mufti Government in Jammu & Kashmir was the point of curiosity all over. However, both the central and the J&K government displayed tremendous restraint and sagacity in their response to the ghastly terrorist strike. They have, rightfully, resisted the temptation to play to the gallery. They chose the tougher option of calming down passions, eschewing in the process the political advantage they could have gained by making it an “us” versus “them” binary. Home Minister Rajnath Singh took the lead and the rest, including the state government and civil society in Jammu and Kashmir, followed. This gesture of maturity needs to be applauded by all as that is the need of the hour.
Rajnath Singh spoke of Kashmiriyat immediately after the ghastly incidence on the narrow and difficult way to Amarnath shrine. He did so not because he wanted to ‘appease’ a particular community, but because he believed that at this hour India, and all Indians, must speak as one. He realises, as do all right-thinking Indians, that the way forward is through reconciliation and not confrontation, through collective action and not isolation, through standing together as one people and not through segregation. This attitude, on the face of it, may look mild and naïve, but such actions only prove to be gainful in the long run.
Hindustaniyat and Kashmiriyat
This moment of test was however somewhat marred by the outburst of a few, including some BJP activists. They are not alone when they speak of their concern for the Hindustaniyat of every Kashmiri, indeed of every Indian irrespective of his caste or creed. He speaks for all of us who love this country when he says that Kashmiriyat has no meaning if it is divorced from Hindustaniyat. Where they get it wrong is when they suggest that there was an absence of outrage over the lynching of Ayub Pandit, the brave policeman who was lynched to death, outside a Srinagar mosque. His lynching, like the others, was roundly condemned by speakers at the protest at Jantar Mantar in Delhi a fortnight ago.
BJP activist and former MP Tarun Vijay has publicly denounced the silence of the government. On the other hand, some left wing intellectuals believe that his claim that Hindus are unsafe in India is untrue especially when the powerful facts unearthed by IndiaSpend is considered. Between 2010 and 2017, Muslims have been at the receiving end of 51% of violence relating to bovine issues and 86% of those who have died in such incidents belonged to the minority community. Here I must state that many times figures quoted out of contest turn out to be half-truthful and thus present an absolutely wrong picture. Here, while giving these one-sided figures, the number of Muslims who died in the last seven years were killed in police firing during incidents of rioting and arson while Hindus fell to the terrorists’ activities in J&K.
Baseless and hollow arguement
Senior political analysts and journalists like Javed Ansari write that there are more cases of violence taking place in the country currently, which is undeniable. But to say that the majority community is being targeted and Hindus are unsafe in this land is not borne out by facts. Deaths, whether by lynching or through other violent means, irrespective of the religion or caste of the deceased, need to be condemned. But we cannot be selective in our condemnation or in expressing our sorrow. We should not, as Indians, differentiate between the dead based on their religion. This argument is horribly baseless and hollow. The world is not unaware of the underground activities and plots of violence hatched by organisations like LeT to create a climate of instability on Indian land. Why should anyone try to guard and protect such anti-social activities?
Leaving such meaningless arguments aside, one must once again congratulate the Indian government, particularly Rajnath Singh, who is steering the situation, for his notable restraint. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is ably working with him by sending out right signals across the world about Pakistan’s notorious plans. All this has been happening when the new President of India is being elected today. Therefore, I sincerely believe that the attack on Amarnath yatris is not a standalone incident but a part of a bigger design to destabilise India. Any action taken in haste is likely to backfire and India’s long-term plan to bring to surface all sins of Pakistan government about India, hand in glove with China, can be jeopardised. Therefore, not only a ‘surgical strike’ but a fully-fledged operation is required to silence Pakistan, at least in the near future.
But like a seasoned batsman, one needs to wait for a loose ball to hit it over the fence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his team members are waiting with patience for that situation. After all, dealing with Pakistan needs patience. One has to wait for the right opportunity.
The author is a political analyst and former Member of Parliament (RS)