The country is yet to recover from the shock created by the Pulwama terrorist attack. The benumbing disbelief is writ everywhere about how in a region with one of the highest state of alert in the world, and in the course of a well-armed military convoy, such a big casualty could happen in broad day light.
The country has in one voice adopted the unequivocal statement by the prime minister that the martyrdom of jawans will not be in vain and no attempt to put internal security on the defensive will be allowed. The all-party meet convened by Central Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday declared wholehearted support to the steps taken by the government. And in such a critical situation, it is a primary lesson of civic sense to understand that emotional outbursts and frenzied reactions will only vitiate matters.
India has also initiated strong moves against Pakistan for facilitating attacks challenging the defence readiness of the country. New Delhi summoned the diplomatic officer and conveyed its protest and warning. The most favoured nation (MFN) status of Pakistan has also been withdrawn. India has also succeeded in raising international pressure against the Pak moves of promoting cross-border terrorism. The stance expressed by the US and China the other day is a ratification of our position. At the same time, in the context of the Pulwama attack, the tendency to light the cigarette when the beard is on fire, cannot be lost sight of either. That the Pakistan-backed Jaish-e-Mohammed is behind the terror attack in Pulwama has been confirmed by Jaish itself and investigative agencies. And it is on this basis that India has declared strong retaliation.
However, there is also an ill-advised attempt to incite racial hatred and communal sentiments against Kashmiris. Spearheding this onslaught are the sangh parivar outfits, under the cover of an overzealous brand of patriotism. Close on the heels of the Pulwama attack, widespread plunder and arson ran amok against Kashmiris in Jammu. When called for help, the forces did not only not respond, but even raised the threat of endangering the complainants. That this was not a spontaneous reaction in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy is proven by the concerted attempts in different parts of the country to expel Kashmiris. The fact that the majority of Kashmiris do not endorse extremism or terrorism is borne out by the last election, as has been highlighted by the central government and sangh parivar. With an aim of keeping themselves away from conflicts and to live with quiet education, employment and safe family life, a good number of the natives there have migrated to Jammu and other Indian cities. This tendency to neutralize extremism is a matter to be encouraged. Unfortunately, these are the people now being targeted by racial hatred. In Dehradun, Kashmiri students were manhandled. In Bihar attacks were made against Kashmiri merchants. And sangh parivar folks are busy spreading through social media, calls to cancel excursions and business and to boycott Kashmir and Kashmiris. Thus, along the lines of sectarian anti-Sikh hatred following the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the communal forces are out to isolate and punish the Kashmiri population. This will ultimately only harm the country, as the Sikh massacre experience has taught us. One of the reasons for the Kashmiri issue remaining unsolvable, pointed out by the Dilip Padgaonkar Committee during the UPA government, the current mediator Dineshwar Sharma and governor Satyapal Malik, is the alienation of Kashmir's native population. The current efforts to create extreme patriotic hysteria in the name of Pulwama incident will only worsen this alienation. The danger underlying this trend is being highlighted by the mainstream political leadership of Kashmir.
All political parties have unitedly given a call not to politicise the unfortunate tragedy. But the BJP's moves appear to be aimed at making the incident an election propaganda tool. The party had declared cancellation of all political functions in the wake of the terrorist attack. All the same, in the days immediately following the tragedy, the prime minister who went on launching the construction of major projects worth crores in UP and Maharashtra, used the occasion to not only condemn the terrorist attack, but also to call for retaliations and even to seek votes for a stable government of BJP at the centre in the new context. Members of parliament and ministers are making all out effort to turn the last rites of the jawans and mourning porcessions into an opportunity to show themselves off and to make them election road shows. When the prime miniser - who is bound to declare a resolution to the crisis - washes off his hands by saying that the military knows everything, his rank and file take the floor on the streets driven by racial hatred, under the garb of patriotism and take control of the streets. Our brave jawans are those who had to sacrifice their lives in their untiring mission to protect the unity and integrity of the country. Those who push the country into internal chasms and those who misuse the tragedy for political gains in that name, have soon to realize that their act amounts to insulting the martyrs.