The tragic killing of Ajay Pandita, a Sarpanch and a political worker affiliated with Congress, in Anantnag district of Kashmir valley by militants is being condemned by everyone across the political spectrum. Violent acts against civilians are going to lead us nowhere. But this is what every day life in Kashmir has come to, all because of RSS-BJP’S repressive policies. No one is safe in Kashmir; every day brings the sad news of killings whether of militants, civilians or even forces personnel besides the destruction of property. And while this is happening there seems a weariness overtaking Indian civil society regarding the tragic happenings while the Rightwing circles continue to stoke communal fires using Kashmir. It cannot go on like this and there has to be an end to it, but none is sure about that given the levels of despondency creeping in.

As is typical of the rightwing, a hate campaign was immediately launched against Kashmiris and Muslims on Sanghi social media platforms and the Gofi media after the tragic killing of Mr Pandita. Every Muslim was being blamed and there were calls for revenge and retribution. I came across a lot of Kashmiris since yesterday who are aghast at the killing of Ajay Pandita by gunmen. Everyone I have come across is condemning this act in no uncertain terms. But why the hate campaign against all Kashmiris and Muslims? We know this happens everytime something happens in Kashmir, but the Rightwing cannot be allowed to hoodwink the public opinion in India again and again. This piece is going to outline certain aspects related to Mr Pandita’s killing which give an idea about how BJP is playing with fire in Jammu and Kashmir, and doesn’t care about any Kashmiri whether Hindu or Muslim. It’s only aim seems to draw out maximum political mileage out of Kashmiris’ everyday suffering whether in the hinterland or at the border.

BJP and other Hindutvawadis have no right to condemn the tragic killing of Ajay Pandita, a Sarpanch and a political worker affiliated with Congress. Last year, the BJP government removed security of most of the political workers belonging to non-BJP parties, thus putting their lives in grave danger.

The highly condemnable killing of Ajay Pandita and the communal propaganda on the right-wing ecosystem has made it clear that RSS-BJP are fake sympathizers of Kashmiri Pandits. They are only interested in using them as “communal card” in furthering their vicious agenda. They are only using them as pawns in their game because had there been sympathy, then Ajay Pandita would have been provided with security which he had demanded many times owing to the general insecurity in the valley.

As a NewsClick report by Sagrika Kissu states, in an interview to a local news channel Mercury Times, on December 3, 2019, Ajay Pandita can be heard imploring the government to provide him with security. “I ask the UT administration, do they know Ajay [Pandita] Bharti? Have they met the Panch and Sarpanch in Kashmir? We get elected. We get killed. They will say the ground situation is good. When I am not safe, how can I say that others are safe?”

Another Kashmiri Pandit Sarpanch living in the same area, Nana Jee Wattal, Sarpanch of HALQA Akingam, District Anantnag told the same reporter, “We have been asking for security for last one year but there is no one to listen and not just security. We are demanding accommodation and timely honorarium but nobody cares.” Wattal, a Kashmiri Pandit, is the General Secretary of Panch Sarpanch Committee.”

So, how is BJP going to resettle the Kashmiri pandits again here when it cannot protect the ones and provide them with proper accomodation who are already living here?

It is noteworthy that the last time Kashmiri Pandits were killed in valley also occurred during the “Nationalist” BJP government, way back in 2003, when that gory massacre of Pandits was done by gunmen in Nadimarg, Shopian. It is BJP who is failing the Kashmiri Pandits again and again. Why cannot those Sangh influenced KPs question it instead of vilifying Kashmiri Muslims who are themselves victims of repression. What people in India also need to know is that hundreds and thousands of Kashmiri Muslim politicians, political workers, Sarpanches, Policemen, and soldiers have also laid down their lives for India in Kashmir. And according to government’s own figures, some 30,000 odd Kashmiri Muslim families are also registered as “internally displaced migrants” because of their targeting by the militants, and we know that these people live in the most terrible conditions. But has anyone ever seen the Rightwing ecosystem including the Sangh influenced KPs condemning their killing in the same way? None will ever see that because these people’s religion doesn’t help the Rightwing in playing their vicious communal agenda.

Kashmiri Pandits and most of the mainland Indians were hoodwinked into believing that everything will/is ok after the abrogation of 370. However, the fact is that things have gone from bad to worse in Kashmir. Militancy has even reached the certain parts of Jammu province where there was relatively calm before August 2019. None is safe; and unfortunately, civilians are facing the brunt of it all. The basic problem is still unaddressed. There is a need to address the basic issue, only then, peace will return. If the “Nationalist” BJP can talk to Naga militants, why not with Kashmiri militants?

Basharat Shameem , Author and Columnist, Kashmir


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