“Those who believe in humanity must come together as one and speak against this menace in one voice. Terrorism must be delegitimized.” -Narendra Modi
Terrorism is a modern plague of contemporary times. Millions of people worldwide constantly deal with the consequences of terrorism. India also hasn’t left untouched by its clutches. Our country has suffered countless terror attacks in past years. 26/11 Mumbai attacks, 2001 parliament attack and the constant tensions in Kashmir.
All terror activities in India happens with just one objective to make this country bleed with thousand cuts and shake the roots of democracy that lays the foundation of this nation.
Terrorism destabilizes the nation from within. It is used as a tool to ignite passions in certain sections of the society; like the youth of Kashmir. Kashmir poses a unique problem to the integrity of India. Since the integration of Kashmir with India constant attempts has been made to ignite the passions of Muslim Kashmiri to raise arms against the Indian establishment. These efforts took an extreme turn in 1990 which marked the beginning of an era of terrorism in Kashmir.
19 January 1990, mosques issued a declaration that the Kashmiri Pandits were kafirs. An ultimatum was given to kafirs “raliv tsaliv ya galiv” meaning to “convert, leave or die”. Kashmiri Muslims were instructed to identify Kashmiri pandit homes so they could be systematically targeted for conversion or killing. Terrorists roamed on the street with Kalashnikov and hatred for kafir in their hearts and minds. Families were massacred. Women raped and forcefully married. Children were slaughtered. These stories of suffering resonated with the holocaust.
One of the stories was of Girija tickoo, a lab assistant who was kidnapped, gang-raped, tortured and was cut into two halves while she was still alive by local JKLF militants. Not a single word was reported in the mainstream media and no arrests were made. It seemed like the life of “kafirs” didn’t matter. Girija tickoo’s case is one among many unspeakable horrors committed on Hindu women.
Another story was of BK Ganjoo. He was an engineer who hid in a rice container in his attic. Militants found him and shot him in the container. His wife was forced to eat the blood-soaked rice. These are just a few of the many horrifying stories that have become the living reality of Kashmiri Hindus.
What is even more horrifying is that none of these atrocities were ever reported by the mainstream media. None of the human rights activists came to help. There was no internet campaign. A large portion of the Indian population is still ignorant about the events of the exodus. They are ignorant about what happened when mosques blatantly shout for ‘death of kafirs’. Ignorant about what happens when the veil of ‘ganga jamuni tehzeeb’ is lifted. Some say ignorance is bliss, I say it is a curse.
From the 1990s till the present day, terrorism has claimed countless lives in Kashmir. Including the lives of army personnel who gave up life to fight terrorism. Leaving behind orphan sons and daughters. A distraught family, longing for their father, husband and son.
The local Muslims who supported terrorism in their early days doesn’t have it any better. Terrorist activities constantly drive away tourists which is a major source of income in the state. Their children are deprived of education due to constant curfews and they end up being foot soldiers in the war against their own country.
There have been constant reports of training camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. These training camps serve as grounds for brainwashing teens into believing that fighting for an Islamic state would open the gates of heaven for them. This ideology has been the core of peddling propaganda.
So what is this ideology that drives a person to become an extremist? Does terrorism belong to a single religion? Is Islam the sole cause of terrorism around the world?
Recently a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court to remove 26 verses from Quran. The petitioner, Syed Waseem Rizvi former chief of UP Shia Waqf Board, claims that these verses are used by terrorists to promote jihad. Syed Waseem Rizvi in another instance has also claimed that primary madrassas are being used to promote radical Islamic ideology among students. These are very serious claims coming from an Islamic Shia leader. Whether the gravity of these claims can only be decided by the Supreme Court.
On one side, is Waseem Rizvi’s statement and on the other side is the narrative of jammuriyat, kashmiriyat, ganga jamuni Tehzeeb forwarded by the left-leaning media which constantly tries to humanise terrorist like Burhan Wani. The left-leaning media tries to paint a picture of a terrorist as people who are fighting against oppression. This is the reason why slogans like “Afzal guru ham sharminda h tere kaatil zinda h” are raised now and then from the grounds of JNU. These slogans further bolster jihadi campaign in the valley. This is the reason why there is a hue and cry over the internet ban in Kashmir but not a word about human rights violation of Kashmiri Hindus who were the first victim of Islamic terrorism.
The abrogation of article 370 and the complete integration of Kashmir into India has led to a significant decline in terror attacks in the valley. The strong stance taken by the Modi government has led to peace in the valley. Something which none of his predecessors could ever achieve. Under Modi’s governance, the army has been given the freedom to call the shots on jihadi militants that are hiding within the valley. Recently tricolour was for the first time unfurled over many government offices marking the beginning of a new era. The surgical strike by the Indian army after the URI attack is a fine example of sending a strong message to the enemy. Tactfully cutting off funds received by Pakistan from all over the world which was being used to propagate terrorism has led to a significant reduction in terrorist activities in the valley. All these steps taken by the government for sure will result in the return of peace to the "heaven on earth".
Achieving peace in a place like Kashmir is a long-drawn process but steps were taken by this government sure makes one hopeful.
Vitraag Bhat is a student at ESIC medical college, Kalaburagi. Being a native of Kashmir he has interest in the state politics and civil society.
The article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the views of the Organisation.