Deal with religious intolerance with an iron fist

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‘Curfew has been imposed and the Army has been called in to conduct a flag march in Bhaderwah town of Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district over attempts by some elements to create communal tension,’ reported a local news outlet on June 9, 2022.

The same day the same news agency reported that a record number of tourists had visited Kashmir in recent months. To be exact a total of 8 million tourists have come to Kashmir since January 2022 breaking a 20-year record! This is more than 50,000 tourists a day.

No wonder they are calling it the ‘golden period of tourism’ in Kashmir.

Now consider this. Indian Border Security Force fired upon a suspected Pakistani drone flying at an altitude of about 300 meters along the International Border in Jammu district in the early hours of Thursday.

In recent days’ Pakistani terror outfits have been trying hard to smuggle weapons, ammunition and explosives through drones. Several Kashmiri Pandits and nationalist Muslims and an artist have been targeted and killed by jihadi individuals sponsored by outfits such as the LeT.

The Amranath Yatra is about to begin and will last for two months. The valley is enjoying peace and quiet. Pakistan has failed to instigate an uprising or even any significant protest on communal basis in Kashmir since 2019. Then, we have the Nupur Sharma scandal that was engineered by a guy called Zubair. 10 days after the actual debate that took place on an Indian English TV channel the Muslim clergy and religious demagogues began trolling her on social media and an allegedly pre-planned riot was let loose in Kanpur.

Pakistan calls in the Indian ambassador in Islamabad and registers a protest on the comments about Prophet Muhammed made by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Three Muslim countries with close ties to Pakistan issue statements in condemnation of the so-called blasphemous comments made by Sharma. And all hell breaks out in Kashmir resulting in a curfew in Kashmir.

Ever since the abrogation of the Article 370 and 35A on August 5, 2019, Pakistan and its ‘political ambassadors’ in Kashmir have predicted a blood bath that never took place. The people of Kashmir have enjoyed freedom to go around their daily business without the fear of stone pelting or getting caught up in cross fire between the terrorists and the security forces.

A frustrated Pakistani military establishment had negotiated a ceasefire with India at the Line of Control (LoC) on February 25, 2021. Now, we know that it was done to relieve the Pakistan Army of extra engagement at the LoC to concentrate on Afghanistan. After all the Doha negotiations that took place in December 2020 were a maneuver on Pakistan’s part to bring the Taliban back into power. Hence, attaining peace was not the motive behind the Doha talks.

On August 15, the Taliban entered Kabul and since then 10,000 terrorist jihadist have been transported from the battle fronts in Afghanistan to Pakistani occupied Jammu Kashmir. Three months ago in Rawalakot in PoJK in a press conference Freedom Brigade 313 was launched with a target of recruiting another 10,000 jihadists to fight alongside the Pakistan Army in Kashmir.

Launch pads were reactivated in Titrinote, Neelum and Muzaffarabad in the PoJK. And then came the spring offensive. Regular attempts of infiltration into Kashmir were revived and so was the strategy to use transport drones to smuggle weapons, ammunition and sticky bombs as well as narcotics. This was followed by the target killings of Kashmiri Pandits and Nationalist Muslims.

Now, comments made by Nupur Sharma during a TV debate with a Muslim cleric is being systematically exploited to generate communal violence in Kashmir and in India. The strategy to execute the genocide of the Hindus is not new to us as it goes back at least 8 centuries when the Arabs invaded Sindh and killed the Hindu Raja Dahir.

In 1947 in Jammu and Kashmir districts of Muzaffarabad, Baramulla, Poonch and Mirpur around 100,000 Hindu and Sikh natives were killed. In 1990 the Kashmiri Pandits faced another spell of genocide and exodus.

From Afghanistan to Bangladesh persecution of the Hindu is common knowledge. In India in 11 out of 28 states and Union Territories the Hindu is in minority. The onslaught of Jihad in the name of Ghazwa-e-Hind has to be brought to a halt. Terror is being generated in order to instill fear in the Hindu population. This should not be tolerated any longer. And the way to achieve this to deal with religious intolerance with an iron fist.

(Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza is an author and a human rights activist from Mirpur in PoJK. He currently lives in exile in the UK.)

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