India’s Terror Spree in Kashmir

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Four minority employees were mysteriously murdered by unidentified attackers, and the story continues to make headlines both inside and beyond the Kashmir valley. The deaths have drawn broad criticism from all segments of Kashmiri society, and for all the right reasons. Beyond political hyperbole, the Kashmiri leadership has condemned the deaths and called them a shocking result of the BJP government’s anti-communal policy without using any ominous language.

The Indian media has launched a violent campaign to accuse Pakistan and the Kashmiri resistance fighters, even though the perpetrators of these targeted killings are still unknown. Right-wing Hindutva agitators who have more influence over government matters have fuelled the flames by inciting animosity and spreading hate towards Kashmiri Muslims.

One of the oddest pieces of disinformation intended to deceive the world community is the new conspiracy theory that blames the deaths on Kashmiri independence fighters.

The Indian government has used such a weird misinformation effort previously. However, history demonstrates how Indian governments have consistently utilised their state and corporate media as a propaganda weapon to disseminate inaccurate or slanted information regarding Kashmir with the sole purpose of advancing a political agenda.

The BJP, which feeds on a divisive agenda, is using the same tried-and-true strategies to disparage Kashmiris worldwide. These assassinations have been blatantly portrayed by media outlets that have essentially become the governing party’s mouthpieces as part of a plot against Kashmiri intellectuals. In the snug TV studios, lapdog journalists are working hard to draw a connection between these deaths and the migration of pundits in the 1990s.

On the one hand, the government shamelessly promotes false conspiracy theories to obfuscate the reality on the ground, while on the other hand, it has flagrantly ignored the truth that from 2010 to 2019, there was not a single pundit slain in Kashmir. On the other hand, since August 5, 2019, when India’s racist government revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, hundreds of people from Kashmir have died.

The Indian government and media are displaying a glaring contradiction by labelling the assassination of four commentators as “genocide” while ignoring the systematic slaughter of nearly 100,000 Kashmiris by the Indian military forces, which is genocide.

International human rights monitors have repeatedly expressed concern and demanded an end to state-sponsored violence against Kashmiris. These organisations have been closely following the situation in the unrest-ridden area (Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir).

Sadly, India’s current administration, which still benefits from communalism, chose not to pay attention to these urgent pleas. The racist dictatorship went beyond the bounds of cruelty to repress and oppress Kashmiris rather than reconsider its antagonistic policies against Kashmir. After the events of August 5th, 2009, Kashmiris were subjected to a broad and multifaceted political, social, and cultural assault from New Delhi. The Modi administration strengthened its hold on the region and its residents by using the parliament, courts, and other state institutions in addition to its military prowess.

To ensure total quiet in Kashmir, they first repealed Articles 370 and 35-A, partitioned the state and degraded its status to that of a union territory, surrounded the valley and kept residents captive for more than a year, repressed opposition, and imprisoned the whole political leadership. The BJP desperately tried to subjugate the people of Kashmir but failed horribly. Now that its lofty aspirations and “normalcy” narrative about Kashmir have been exposed as a farce, the party has developed a new conspiracy theory to deceive its supporters and the international community.

The BJP is employing a segment of the Kashmiri pundit community as pieces on its chessboard of power and politics, taking a page from the rulebook of former governor Jagmohan Malhotra. This specific group of Kashmiri intellectuals, whose elders had a questionable role in the middle of the 1990s, has now offered its services to the BJP administration. Since the right-wing forces have been utilising them as puppets, the quiet majority of commentators both inside and outside the valley are fully aware of this.

The community was compelled to leave the valley in large numbers towards the beginning of the 1990s. The spectacle of the so-called pundit-exodus was created by Jagmohan Malhotra, the governor of J&K at the time, to give Kashmiris’ continuous struggle a communal flavour. Years later, a group of Kashmiri pundits admitted that the community was used as a scapegoat by Governor Malhotra and that the drama was staged by communal Hindu organisations like the BJP, RSS, and other far-right-wingers in an open letter to the editor of the Daily Alsafa, a news publication with a Srinagar base.

The letter continued, “The Indian occupation troops had formed a plan to slaughter a large portion of Kashmiri Muslims, particularly those in the age category of 14 to 25 so that the people might be enslaved for all the time to come.” The letter made clear that certain self-styled pundit leaders pleaded with the pundits to leave India to preserve Dharm (religion), the country’s unity, and its integrity.

The letter’s author, Mr Koul, also discussed a particular group of migrant pundits who, according to him, had no real estate worth mentioning in the valley. Koul claimed that this specific group of residents, who had no interest in the valley, were happy to accept aid and other benefits from the government.

It’s interesting to note that this group of underprivileged people, who afterwards acted as cheerleaders for the BJP government’s bold ambition to “mainstream/integrate” Kashmir into India in 2019, has now evolved into a BJP weapon. The BJP enticed the same group to return to the Kashmir valley. They received employment and other benefits from the government, which also used them as props in its story of supposed normalcy.

Once again, an unrepentant administration used the suffering of the Kashmiri people as a political weapon to further its nationalist goal in the region and degrade human lives while also driving the region deeper into danger and disorder. One such example is the propaganda-filled Bollywood film “Kashmir Files,” which demonstrates how the BJP used Kashmiri intellectuals for propaganda to incite anti-Muslim feelings and foster animosity toward Kashmiri Muslims on the Indian subcontinent. In the film, Kashmiris are portrayed as ferocious extremists. While disregarding the suffering and anguish of the majority population, which has been subjected to state-sponsored violence for many years, it presents the murders of minorities as acts of ethnic cleansing.

The massacre of 24 civilians at Nadimarg is depicted in the film as an unavoidable tragedy, but the controversial film’s creators did not dare to depict other brutal massacres, including the Sopore Massacre, Kupwara, Handwara, Hawal, Gawkadal, and Bijbehara, in which the Indian occupation forces brutally murdered thousands of Kashmiris.

The filmmakers never placed a high focus on learning the facts, and they have little sympathy or interest in the Kashmiri pundit community. Instead, “The Kashmir Files” aims to incite animosity towards Muslims and anyone whose faith conflicts with the nationalist ideals of Hindu nationalism. However, the contentious film provides the BJP with everything it requires to further its Hindutva worldview. But the film illustrates India’s continuing slide into darkness and prejudice at a time when a subtly growing communalism in Indian culture is evolving into a full-fledged epidemic. Modi and his party are using the movie, which has been labelled by independent observers as a manipulative propaganda vehicle to arouse sentiments against Muslims, to agitate people on religious lines both inside and outside of Kashmir.Under the guise of the mystery targeted deaths of four minority employees, a climate of fear and uncertainty is being purposefully fostered. The BJP is laying the groundwork in Kashmir for yet another spectacle to be staged in the garb of defending the minority population while using intellectuals as instruments. But why is there such a commotion in India about this subject? It is the topic that has to be considered. Why are these murders being said to be part of a plot against pundits? Why does this specific group of pundits, who reside in different townships, desire to leave the valley? Who is evicting them and for what reason?

The Indian government blamed the attack on resistance fighters, as usual, but no group has formally accepted credit and the attackers are still unknown. The Kashmiri political establishment, Kashmiri civil society, and even ordinary Kashmiris have reaffirmed their commitment to defending pundits and describing them as an integral component of their society. It should be emphasised that a substantial portion of Kashmiri intellectuals have been living quietly in Kashmir for many years, particularly the Sikh community, who refused to join Jagmohan’s plot in the middle of the 1990s. In the past, there have been several attempts to compel them to leave the valley to lend a communal tone to Kashmiris’ continuous fight. The most horrifying examples of how the Indian army and its security services used people of minority populations as human shields to further their strategic objectives include the atrocities at Chattisinghpora, Nadimarg, and Wandhama.

The targeted killings of members of minority groups smell like a similar sort of plot, according to Kashmir observers who have been closely following the situation in the area. They contend that the “unknowns” who previously plotted the killings at Chattisingpora and Wandhama are now employing pundits as puppets to prepare the ground for the genocidal extermination of Muslims in Kashmir and the conversion of the Muslim-majority area into a minority.

It is time for the world to stop ignoring the hate speech against the Muslim community as Hindu radicals with ties to the Modi-led BJP continue to demand ethnic cleansing and extermination of Muslims in India and Kashmir. The international community must play a crucial role to stop the ongoing, uninterrupted genocide of Kashmiri Muslims that has been occurring in the area for several decades.

International academics have already warned of the imminent “genocide” of Muslims in Kashmir, should the world forget. Gregory Stanton, the founder and head of Genocide Watch, raised the alarm about the sharp rise in violence against Muslims in Kashmir during a briefing to the US Congress last year, stating that “there were early signs and processes of genocide in the Indian occupied Kashmir.”

In 2002, after a three-day period of intercommunal violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat resulted in the deaths of thousands of Indian Muslims, Stanton, a former lecturer in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University in Virginia, started raising alarms about genocide in India.

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