Date: 21 Aug 2010


Islamism in Kashmir ////////////// The Pioneer Edit Desk ////////// After Pandits, Sikhs are being targeted //////////// That Sikhs living in Kashmir have been receiving threatening letters asking them to either embrace Islam or pack up and leave is of a piece with the sinister design of the Islamists who want to see the Valley cleansed of all non-Muslims. The violence that was unleashed against Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-1990 — their men were killed, their women raped and their homes looted — had a dual purpose: To demonstrate the power of the Islamists and to evict Hindus from their ancestral land. Tragically, with the then National Conference Government failing abysmally in fulfilling its responsibility of ensuring the safety and security of all citizens irrespective of their faith, and the Union Government — VP Singh was the Prime Minister and Mufti Mohammed Sayeed was the Home Minister — making a mockery of its constitutional obligations, the Islamists succeeded in achieving both goals. In one fell sweep, the Kashmir Valley was cleansed of its Pandit population; five lakh men, women and children were chased out of their home and hearth and have since been living as refugees in their own country. The residual non-Muslim presence in the Kashmir Valley, represented by the Sikh community, is now being targeted by those who have taken over from the marauders of two decades ago. When the issue was raised in Parliament on Friday, National Conference MP Mirza Mehboob Beg described the threat as against the ‘ethos’ of Kashmir: “This is against Kashmiriyat... Every Kashmiri Muslim will stand by the Sikhs.” That’s a noble declaration, but entirely meaningless and far removed from reality. /////////// The Kashmiriyat Mr Beg boasts about did not prevent the forced exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, nor have Kashmiri Muslims pressed for the return of the exiled Hindus to the Valley. On the contrary, every time the issue of their return to the land of their ancestors has been raised, the Islamists and their patrons in the All-Party Hurriyat Conference have unabashedly objected to it, manufacturing some reason or the other. We must also not forget how the Islamists ran riot over the proposal to set up temporary facilities for pilgrims who trek to the Amarnath shrine, and that there’s a surge in violence coinciding with the yatra every year with the sole intention of disrupting it. Therefore, Mr Beg and others would do well not to resort to bunkum to gloss over the criminal intent of the Islamists who wish to see the Valley, if not all of Jammu & Kashmir, converted into a Nizam-e-Mustafa, an Islamic state where sharia’h shall rule supreme and none other than Muslims would be welcome. It is entirely the responsibility of the State Government to disabuse the Islamists of such vile notions and ruthlessly crack down on them before any harm is done to the Sikh community in the Valley. As for the Union Government, it must make it abundantly clear that if the local administration fails in fulfilling its responsibility as it did so pathetically in 1989-1990, retribution shall be swift and remorseless. Anything less than this would be tantamount to surrendering to the Islamists. ///////////// 000000000