Terrorists killing a sarpanch, Ajay Bharati, a Kashmiri Pandit, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district has once again exposed the real face of terrorists and their masters. Sitting across the Line of Control, once again it has been proven beyond doubt that terrorists and their handlers are the worst enemies of people of Kashmir. And they are faceless murderers, who have no regard for human lives.
Bharati’s killing is one more addition in the long list of innocents, who have been killed by these trigger-happy terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir during the past 30-years. Whosoever has tried to talk about peace and development in Kashmir has fallen prey to the bullets of the terrorists.
The deceased Sarpanch had returned to Kashmir along with his family in 1996 as he loved his roots and had rejected the idea of living in a separate township. He was a symbol of Kashmir’s pluralism and Kashmiriyat. No one from Jammu came to vote for him in the Panchayat elections, which were held in 2018. The people who voted for him were Kashmiri Muslims of his own village.
Bharati’s killing has saddened every right-thinking Kashmiri irrespective of him being a Muslim or a Hindu.
His killing has highlighted the fact that true Indians in Kashmir are the soft targets for the gun-wielding terrorists whose only job is to create fear and spill innocent blood. These indoctrinated terrorists are just a handful of people. Their presence in Kashmir doesn’t mean that every Kashmiri is a terrorist and is a hardliner.
More than 95% people in Kashmir are peace lovers who want to live a peaceful and prosperous life. Terrorism has been imposed on them by our hostile neighbour, who during the past 30 years has left no stone unturned to turn Kashmir into a huge graveyard.
In 1947 when Pakistani tribals (Kabalis) reached north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, a 19-year-old youth Shaheed Maqbool Sherwani stood like a wall and didn’t allow these raiders to move towards Srinagar. He was killed by the tribals after they realized that he is a “true-Indian”.
Since 1990, many true-Indians like Sherwani have been killed by the Pakistan-sponsored terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. But these killings have not shattered the resolve of the people in the Valley, who love their country and have stood by it during the most difficult times.
Ajay Bharati’s cold-blooded murder by the terrorists has raised an important question. Why has our leadership failed to protect the people who have been loyal to the country? Why did the regimes led by Congress and other parties prior to 2014 just focus on few political families and the separatists? Had the erstwhile governments given loyal people a chance today, J&K would have been a better place to live in. It’s unfortunate that loyalists were always taken for granted.
Since the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken over the reins of the country, there has been a paradigm shift in New Delhi’s Kashmir policy. Politicians, who used to call shots and dictate terms to Centre, have been cut to size. MLAs with separatist leanings have been shown their worth. The Modi government has sent a loud and clear message that pseudo-nationalism is not acceptable. Interests of the country are supreme and they cannot be compromised with.
However, in the process of acting tough against the anti-nationals, a few hyper-nationalist leaders and some media houses are trying to label every Kashmiri as a hate monger and a separatist. These leaders and media houses need to change their attitude. They should remember that people of Kashmir have given immense sacrifices to uphold the tricolour. They have faced bullets and bombs but have not allowed Pakistan to succeed in its nefarious designs.
Top officials in the security establishment have often reiterated that its due to the local support and information that security forces have got an upper hand against the terrorists. These glaring facts and realities cannot be ignored.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always said that Kashmiris have to be embraced and taken along. The leaders who give provocative statements and talk about resorting to violent means against the people of Kashmir are not doing any good to the nation. They are just adding fuel to the fire.
Ajay Bharati’s addition to the list of the martyrs has further strengthened the resolve of the “true-Indians” in Kashmir that they won’t allow Pakistan and its agents to create a wedge. One hopes that the nationalist people in our country will honour the sacrifices of Kashmiris and would allow things to fall at place rather than adding to the confusion.
(The writer is a former journalist, Chairman of Kashmir Youth Alliance and member of BJP. Views expressed are personal.)