The ‘fidayeen’ attack on CRPF soldiers was executed by a Kashmiri – Adil Ahmed Dar. This, along with the fact that that he was not from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), but from the Kashmir that is under Indian control, has shocked many people.
Until now, such attacks were usually done by the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir or by other foreign terrorists.
The perpetrator, a 22 year old school dropout, was brainwashed when he was a teenager. He was clearly used as a pawn by Jaish-e-Mohammed- the terrorist organisation behind the attack.
Yet, post Pulwama attack there is a marked rise of anti-Kashmiri sentiment in India, owing to the Kashmiri origin of the perpetrator. People of Kashmir, living in other parts of India have been harassed and threatened, just because they were Kashmiri.
i. In Dehradun, 2 colleges said that they won’t admit Kashmiri students anymore.
ii. Kashmiri traders were mobbed and their shops were vandalized in Patna.
iii. A gram panchayat in Punjab asked landlords to evict Kashmiri tenants within 24 hours.
The people who are blaming the Kashmiris right now are subjected to the fundamental attribution error – overlooking the external factors/situations and believing that a person is acting or behaving in a certain way due to their internal characteristics.
They are also stereotyping the Kashmiri community and attributing terrorism to the whole community, blatantly generalising the entire region because of the acts of some people of their community.
Instead of blaming the Kashmiris for the Pulwama attack, we must spend a moment on thinking which factors are working behind the rise of native Kashmiri terrorism.
1. Lack of education, job opportunities and unemployment rate higher than 21%. Why would a person with a job, family and happy life leave it all and join militant forces.
Had there been more education and job opportunities, the people would have had less incentive to join the militia.
2. Relative isolation of Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of India has hindered their integration and has created an identity crisis for the Kashmiris, especially given their geographical proximity to Pakistan.
Article 370 can be blamed for it. While it was necessary in 1949, it needs to be removed in a phased manner now.
Over eagerness of some political organisation to remove it instantly made the Kashmiris all the more attached to it.
3. Short-sidedness, decisions with low gratification, lack of tangible results and irresponsible leadership of both, the state and central governments have made them almost illegitimate to the Kashmiris. The militants seem to have filled in the political vacuum.
4. Pakistan constantly tries to destabilise Kashmir with clandestine means to gain control over it. This is a major reason behind the militarization of the Valley.
Given the ‘us vs them’ rhetoric that has become prevalent; the Kashmiri issue, rather the Kashmiri question – if they identify themselves as Indians- has suddenly gained more importance now.
Us pitting our anger against them shows that it is not just them, but us who lack fraternity and integrity as well.
Is the idea of our nationalism now limited to hating a particular community or nation or even religion now?
Article 16 of our Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of place of birth, amongst other things. The Government has tried to ensure that by trying to keep them safe. For instance,
- The Ministry Of Home Affairs “issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories to take necessary measures to ensure their safety and security.”
- The CRPF has issued a helpline for the ones facing harassment. It has also set up a Twitter account with the handle ‘CRPF Madadgar‘ for ’round-the-clock helpline to those in distress’.
- It has even warned people for fake news.
Such responsible behaviour is warmly welcomed.
As of the solution to the Kashmiri problem, it will not happen overnight and will take some time. Though it should have been solved by now, it is never too late to start.
Image Credits: Google Images
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