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When the whole of the nation bid an emotional farewell to its 44 brave soldiers, who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attack, dozens of students from the Kashmir valley studying in Dehradun stayed closed inside their rooms fearing attack from a violent mob gathered outside their place of residence. It is exasperating to learn that the right-wing Hindu groups such as Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are unleashing violence targeting Kashmiri natives residing in other states of the country.

As per an Indian Express report, on Friday, 12 Kashmiri students were manhandled by these groups in Uttarakhand. The situation worsened on Saturday when angry mobs gathered in front of the hostel rooms and rented houses of the Kashmiri students to attack them. They were only saved as they kept themselves closed inside the rooms switching off all the lights.

It is more disturbing that the Kashmiri students were called “traitors” by the members of the Hindu groups and demanded the students to leave the city within the next 24 hours. Though the students rang up the police seeking aid and protection they turned up to advice the students to face the mad mob and apologise.

But on what account should these students seek an apology from the mad crowd? The students have nothing to do with the Jaish-e-Mohammed or the terror attack. It is nothing but the abhorring prejudice rooted firm inside those who look up to Jammu and Kashmir and the people from the state with suspicion. According to these groups and its blind followers, all Kashmiris are pro-Pakistan or supporters of separatist leaders.

But it would have been good if these Hindu groups realised the agony and pain of a section of people, who had lived in this country without enjoying the full rights of a citizen. Can they imagine the plight of a Kashmir family living near the Line of Control or the militant-disturbed parts of the state? How the despicable treatment of the system in place affect the psyche of Kashmiri youth and leads him to the path of violence – which he is told would help in emancipating them from the hard and heavy chains tied to his soul and identity?

It is better that these fringe groups realise the violence in Kashmir has escalated during the tenure of the Modi government. It is imperative that these rabble-rousers recognise the present state of Jammu and Kashmir is the failure of the Modi government’s policies.

It is time that they realise that bullets and pellets would only suppress violence but would never extinct the fuming anger inside the hearts of the people. The members of these outfits must reckon that the youth of the Kashmir is no different from their peers in the rest of the country. That they have hopes, dreams and aspire to have a better life and living conditions. They want peace and equal opportunities. And above all, they deserve equal treatment.

And it is best you realise that you have no rights to call Kashmiris ‘anti-nationals’ when you are the hardcore anti-nations, the country had ever witnessed. It was your great leaders who had killed Mahatma Gandhi – the father of the nation. It is your ideologies that do not let you cherish the diversity and plurality of the nation. You cannot tolerate Muslims, you do not encourage dissent, you are scared of Dalits standing up against your race. You do not respect the Constitution. You do not have rights to question the patriotism of a fellow Indian as your leaders are those recreating the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Because you are the real anti-nationals.

Jestin Abraham is a journalist

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