Militants in Kashmir are out to kill Kashmiriyat. The recent killing of a Muslim salesman of a Kashmir Pandit businessman in Srinagar's old city has once again shown that terror has no religion and anyone can become a victim. He can be a Muslim or a Hindu.
The ultras had come to murder Sandeep Mawa but shot dead his salesman Ibrahim Khan in case of a mistaken identity. The son of a prominent Kashmiri Pandit businessman Roshan Lal Mawa, who had left Kashmir in 1990, Sandeep Mawa returned to the Valley in 2019 and re-started his shop at Bohri Kadal in the old city. He was given a warm response by local Kashmiri Muslims, who were happy to see their Kashmiri Pandit brother returning to his roots after three decades.
On November 8, 2021, Sandeep left his shop early after he was alerted by the police that militants may target him. When in the evening, his salesman Ibrahim Khan went to get Sandeep's car parked outside the shop, militants mistook him as their target and pumped four bullets into his chest. It was yet another case of Kashmiri killing a Kashmiri and Kashmiriyat. What a shame, Kashmiri militants had come to kill a man just for a reason that he was a Hindu. But they murdered a Muslim man for whom they claim they are fighting.
Mawa is the relative of late Makhan Lal Bindroo, who was shot dead by militants in Srinagar in October this year. Bindroo had not migrated. He had stayed back and helped his Kashmiri brethren in the most turbulent times. Design of the militants is clear they don't want Kashmiri Pandits to stay in the Valley only for a reason i.e. they are Pandits and not Muslims.
Kashmir was known as the abode of sufis and saints due to the centuries-old indigenous tradition of communal harmony and religious syncretism in the Valley known as Kashmiriyat, which emerged around the 16th century and was characterised by religious and cultural harmony, patriotism and pride for their mountainous homeland of Kashmir.
It exemplifies the joint Hindu-Muslim culture, festivals, language, cuisine, and clothing in Kashmir. But after the outbreak of Pakistan sponsored armed insurgency in 1990, the gun-toting militants carried out the selective killings of Kashmiri Pandits which led to the mass exodus of the entire community from the Valley.
Most Kashmiri Pandits are still living in exile but after August 5, 2019 - when the Centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir's special status and divided it into two Union Territories - hopes of displaced Kashmiri Pandits returning to the Valley were rekindled. During the past two years, many KPs, including Mawa, have returned to Kashmir. They are making an attempt to resettle in the Valley but the militants are hell bent to chase them out.
Selective killings, including that of Kashmiri Pandit, Makhan Lal Bindroo, two teachers - a Sikh woman, Supinder Kaur and a Hindu man, Deep Chand, five non-local labourers and an assassination attempt of Sandeep Mawa, are clear indications that madness in Kashmir seems to be a never-ending process. The indoctrinated ultras at the behest of their handlers sitting across the Line of Control (LoC) are killing the innocents and have torn apart the very ethos of Kashmiriyat.
India's rogue neighbor, Pakistan, that's sponsoring militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, is under the control of such people who don't know anything except preaching hate and violence. Muslims killing Muslims in Pakistan is a routine. It's unfortunate that people sitting across the LoC want to turn Kashmir into its reflection. They have indoctrinated Kashmiris to such an extent that they are following the footsteps of their mentors by targeting the pluralistic values of Kashmiri society.
The organisations like banned Jamaat-e-Islami are carrying out their agenda to radicalise the Kashmiri youth and are turning them into killers by preaching hatred for the people from other communities.
The Kashmiriyat - promoted by Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, the story of the Kashmiri mystic Lal Ded in which her body turned into a mound of flowers that was buried by both Hindus and Muslims-is disappearing from Kashmir. It's high time for the members of majority Kashmiri Muslim community to wake up and condemn the communal, anti-Hindu, extremist, and jihadist character of those people who have been preaching hate for the past three decades. If they don't do so, there will be no space left for the people of other faiths in Kashmir. The emergence of jihadist characteristic will push Kashmir deep into crisis, which can lead to Kashmiri Muslims getting no acceptance outside the Valley.
Kashmiris need to help themselves
Militants who are targeting members of the minority community are making things difficult for Kashmiri Muslims. If any terror incident takes place across the globe, Pakistanis are treated as prime suspects for a simple reason that their nation is a breeding ground for terrorists. The Kashmiri militants who have embarked on the mission to kill innocents and target the members of a particular community are creating a notion that every Kashmiri is a terrorist and no one except ethnic Kashmiri Muslims can live in the Valley.
Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims are putting up in different parts of India and in other countries, if the militants keep on killing Kashmiris and Kashmiriyat in the Valley, people of Kashmir in other states may have to face the brunt as they will be looked down upon and treated as prime suspects like Pakistanis.
Members of the majority community in the Valley need to understand that the ultras are making them vulnerable and are out to label every Kashmiri as a hardliner and an intolerant human being. People of Kashmir have to stand on their own feet and have to join people like Sandeep Mawa, who despite surviving an assassination attempt has decided to stay put in Kashmir and work for restoring pluralistic culture of the Valley.
Mawa's father, Roshan Lal Mawa, too was shot at by militants in 1990. After surviving the assasination attempt he left Kashmir. His son mustered courage and returned to his roots to build the burnt bridges between Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims. Majority of people in the Valley want to live a peaceful life as they are fed up of violence and uncertainty. But for that they have to come forward and help themselves, no outsider can do it. They have to become their own Messiahs then only Kashmiriyat can be saved from becoming extinct.
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