Kashmir has always been a matter of conflict and tension wherever the discussion opens. There is an unsettled situation, that is affecting lives of people inwardly and physically. Every year, several Indian security personnel dies while having an encounter with terrorists, and sometimes saving civilians from militants in the area. On 7 October two teachers were shot dead in Srinagar (City in Kashmir), and then a well-known pharmacist named Makhan Lal Bindroo was killed by militants, in evening at his shop. The responsibility behind both the killings of civilians is taken by a militant group The Resistance Front (TRF), which according to police is part of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
This is a concerning call that has to be taken by Indian administration as looking at the data, this year attacks on civilians increased as compare to last years. As per the data given by Ministry of Home Affairs, till October 5 2021, 22 civilians were killed in the valley. Considering the fact, that every time such incidents happen, communal harmony of the valley is always targeted, either by external factors or internal. People have clearly expressed their need of living in peace, but shadow of dispute over their head is becoming an obstacle.
Mr. Adnan Ashraf Mir is the spokesperson of J&K Peoples Conference, a regional political party in Jammu and Kashmir. While commenting on the present situation and killings of civilians in last few days, he said, ‘The last days were horrifying and a grim reminder of the utter disregard for Kashmiri life. The targeted killings of individuals from the minority community have pained all Kashmiris alike whether from majority or minority communities. There is grief all around. I see it as a conscious effort to damage the social fabric and composite culture of J&K. It is an attempt to drive a wedge between the communities, instill fear in the minority community and othering the majority community by associating it with the dastardly violence of a lunatic fringe’.
J&K top police gave a statement that the motive behind killings was to damage communal harmony. On asking to Mr. Adnan Ashraf, does he agree with it? He said, ‘There is an obvious pattern to last week’s violence. It is apparent that the perpetrators of mindless violence intended to damage the synchronized harmony that exists between communities. However, we can’t view the recent spurt in the civilian killings from the prism of communal harmony alone. In 2021 so far, 28 civilians killed belonged to the majority community while 5 civilians belonged to the minority community. The Kashmiri Muslims have been the biggest victims of violence over the last three decades and continue to be the target of militant bullets. If anything, the majority and minority communities in Kashmir are connected through the pain of losing their loved ones in this bloody conflict’. In addition, ‘While there may be a concerted effort to damage the communal harmony, the people of Kashmir will not fall into the trap. Pluralism has been an inseparable part of our history and culture and it will continue to be our strength’, he said.
Minority community is a targeted section of the society and generally, majorities try to make them live under them, by hook or by crook. ‘The killings certainly are an attempt to instill fear among the minorities and non-locals. To create an environment of mistrust and alienation among the communities. However, like I said the Kashmiri Muslims have been the most vulnerable and affected community in the last three decades. Until violence persists, the entire civilian population of Kashmir is equally vulnerable whether from the majority or minority communities’, said Mr. Adnan Ashraf.
Where people of the valley need support and answers from administration, most of the political leaders refrain themselves from speaking on J&K subject or the situation there. But according to Mr. Adnan Ashraf, the leaders in J&K leaders are frequently vocal about harmony and said, ‘Political leaders in J&K have been at the forefront in advocating for peace in J&K, even at the cost of being branded anti-nationals. There is unanimity among the polity of J&K on the need to steer J&K from its violent present to a peaceful future. However, the larger geo-political realities and the current state of relationship between India and Pakistan doesn’t allow a civilized and result oriented discussion on J&K. The leadership in J&K remains hopeful for a conducive environment in future to rekindle a larger and frank debate on the sensitivities of J&K.’
Increased military in the valley every now and then is not considered as an accustomed condition of living. Mr. Adnan Ashraf told Eat News, ‘Heightened military presence in Kashmir, especially after August 5 can’t be an ideal situation for neither the inhabitants of J&K nor the national security grid. Experiences from across the world suggest that prolonged military presence in civilian areas does more harm than good. However, the reality, as it stares us in our faces, demands a considerable military presence in J&K until violence persists and animosity and mistrust between India and Pakistan exists’.
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