'Attacking Kashmiris aimed at creating communal rift'

'Attacking Kashmiris aimed at creating communal rift'

Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti

Two former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir and bitter political opponents— Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti— on Monday expressed dismay over attacks on Kashmiris across the country and urged the Centre to ensure the Kashmiris' safety and security.

In a joint appeal, they underscored the need to maintain communal harmony in the country.

The leaders asserted that by attacking, terrorising, intimidating Kashmiris, the youngsters of Kashmir are implicitly being told that they have no future outside of the Valley. 

“Intimidating Kashmiris is aimed at creating a wedge between different communities in India. We should not allow the terror to divide us. By using such incidents to divide us, we fall into the trap of those behind the attack on CRPF soldiers; we are willingly or unwillingly playing to the tunes of our enemies,” Mehbooba and Omar said.

The leaders asserted that attacking innocent people because of their ethnicity or religion, is no way to honour the sacrifice of the CRPF men.

“Kashmiri Muslims or the Muslims of Jammu didn’t attack our CRPF Jawans the other day, terrorists did. This violence is a convenient tool by some to shift the blame. Let us unite against terror, let’s not allow terror to divide us,” they said.

The two former chief ministers maintained it was tragic to see educated and civilized people spearheading vicious propaganda to paint Kashmiris and Pulwama attackers with the same brush.

“The thought behind such attacks is to divide us. Our pain must not fuel such diabolical plans because eventually the axe forgets and the tree remembers,” they said.

Expressing dismay over the continuous rhetoric being used against Kashmiris the leaders said, “No mainstream political party will condone terrorism. The ferocity of the rhetoric by certain media channels is also dangerous. They churn lies, hatred and divisive agenda by berating the national interests.”

The leaders while expressing concern over the reports of violence, and arson in Jammu described the happenings as worrying. Both the leaders urged the political dispensation and civil society of Jammu to ensure that cooler heads prevail.

The leaders made an earnest appeal to the government of India to ensure the directions issued to all state governments to ensure safety and security of Kashmiris are implemented.

“It doesn’t augur well for a democratic country like India to hound its own people in its response to the heinous attack on our forces. Hounding innocent Kashmiris will indisputably disenchant them; the humiliation, suspicion, isolation will push innocent Kashmiris to the wall.

“As a country we need to stand together in this hour of grief and sorrow and not allow forces inimical to unity in our country to find any space” Mehbooba and Omar together appealed.