The situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been volatile for decades. The tradition that guarded the region from being a breeding ground for religious hatred has incurred a heavy blow recently.
A bus carrying Amaranth pilgrims from Gujarat were attacked on Monday killing seven persons and injuring thirty. The firing took place thrice from both the sides but the bus driver Salim Gafoor kept driving despite the continuous firing. It was only because of his presence of mind that further loss of lives were averted. Although the state police chief suspects the potential role of terrorist organization Lashkar-i-Taiba behind the attack, more than one outfits are believed to be behind the attack. However, reports say that the union Home Ministry haven’t completely accepted the skepticisms about the role of Lashkar –i-Taiba. It’s because the outfit carry out suicide bombings, which is their style of operation. It’s also being said that it’s difficult to see any traces of their presence in the recent incident of attack against Amarnath pilgrims. It might be difficult to find the heinous hands behind the attack. And there is no option other than to believe what the military officials say. Even the official sources admit that they received a warning about a likely attack from the terrorists a week ago. In that case, the allegations of the Opposition over a severe violation of security norms couldn’t be ignored. Reports that the vehicle proceeded towards Amarnath during the night without finishing the security process, has also been confirmed. Question as to why it happened has not been answered satisfactorily so far.
All the organisations and political outfits in the valley unequivocally condemning the attack against the pilgrims remind once again that harmony is the essence of Kashmiriyat. National Conference leader Dr Farooq Abdullah sees the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, as an ‘assault on the ‘religion and identity’ as Kashmiris. The Kashmiris regardless of their caste and religion, see it as their responsibility to arrange the necessary facilities to complete the Amarnath yatra without any further unpleasant incidents. Those who reside adjacent to the treacherous path through which the pilgrims pass were the most shocked because it was the religious harmony and unity they had been guarding until now that was threatened by some heinous forces. A few organizations have demanded an inquiry into the brutal attack by the national level agency. It might be due to the skepticisms over the presence of inside forces behind the incident in order to further worsen the social ambience of the valley. Despite the valley turning more conflict-ridden in the recent past, the incidents not taking shape of religious conflicts is only due to the vigilance displayed by the people there. This might upset the peace of mind of at least a few.
Like the Opposition parties put the blame, it was the severe violation of security norms on part of those responsible that claimed the lives of pilgrims. When Narendra Modi, the self-proclaimed Hindu monarch reigns at the Centre, the tragedy suffered by the pilgrims from his native state of Gujarat, has many sides. Eighteen Opposition parties had demanded an investigation over the severe violation of security norms despite clear and furtive warnings. It cannot be left unnoticed that the response of the BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav who is in charge of Jammu and Kashmir, is totally politically driven. Even when the RSS spokesperson reiterates the terrorists being defeated and anti-terror operations being successful, they adopt the cheap tactic of turning a blind eye towards such happenings when the time comes to safeguard the interests of the country as well as its people. When the demonetisation of high-valued currency notes were announced, the Prime Minister had said that the main goal of the government was to uproot terrorism. But 2017 has become a year of highest atrocities in recent history for the valley. More than 400 people including soldiers and civilians have been killed so far. After 2009, it’s the first time that such a huge number of human lives have been sacrificed. The reality is that no steps have been initiated by the Centre as well as the state governments to effectively restore the law and order situation that was derailed after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. If things in the valley turn worse with even the pilgrims not spared, it wouldn’t be much difficult to comprehend those responsible for the predicament in Kashmir.