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Jammu rage is neither communal nor political: It is against injustice

Jammu rage is neither communal nor political: It is against injustice

Author: M.V.Kamath
Publication: Free Press Journal
Date: August 29, 2008

I f the Hindus of Jammu have erupted in volcanic fury, it has nothing to do with politics; but it has everything to do with the anger of a people who have for years been feeling betrayed and hurt by an effete and spineless government in Delhi run by a foreign-born Congress president and a smug bureaucrat, both of whom seem indifferent to Islamic brutality.
All that the Hindus of Jammu had asked for was a temporary transfer of a little less than 40 hectares of land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board to enable the latter to provide accommodation facilities of a purely temporary nature to Hindu pilgrims who visit the Shrine every summer.

That land sought was unused forest land of no significance or material use.

The plan was to set up temporary shelter to the pilgrims and provide them with water and toilet facilities during their brief stay near the shrine. And this was to last no longer than just two months. Instead of being graciously helpful, the extremists and jihadis raised a hue and cry spreading rumours that the Governor, Gen. S.K. Sinha (retd) was trying to bring Hindus from Jammu to settle on the forest land that could change the demography of Kashmir and the eco-cultural character of the state.

How the temporary and fleeting presence of a few thousand people will change the eco-culture of any land is best answered by the hate-ridden jihadis themselves.

Besides, Kashmir is not the exclusive preserve of Muslims. Kashmir belongs as much to Kashmiri Pundits who were there even before Islam itself came into existence.

But what have the Jihadis done? They have ruthlessly driven the Pundits from their ancestral homes.

On 4 January 1990 Aftab, a Srinagar Urdu paper published a press release issued by the Hizbul-Mujahideen, set up by the Jamaat-e-Islami in 1989 to wage jihad in Kashmir. Notices were pasted on doors of Pundit houses, peremptorily asking the occupants to leave Kashmir within 24 hours or face death. Three taped slogans were repeatedly played all night from mosques.

One said : Kashmir mei agar rehna hai, Allah-o-Akhbar Kehna hai. (If you want to stay in Kashmir, you have to say Allaha-oAkhbar). Another slogan said: Yahan kya chalega Nizam-e Mustafa (What do we want here? Rule of Shariah). A third unashamedly said:Asi gachchi Pakistan batao roas te batenev san (We want Pakistan along with Hindu women but without their men).

In the preceding months, 300 Hindu men and women, nearly all of them Kashmir Pundits had been slaughtered. On 14 September 1989, a noted lawyer and BJP national executive member, Pandit Tika Lal Taploo had been brutally murdered. Soon after that, Justice N.K. Ganju of the Srinagar High Court had been shot dead.

About the same time, Pandit Sarwanand Premi, an 80-year old poet and his son were kidnapped, tortured, their eyes gouged out and hanged to death. A Kashmiri Pundit nurse was abducted, raped and sliced to pieces at a saw mill.

And these people are not people from Kerala or Tamil Nadu, not even from a nearby state like Punjab or Haryana, but right from Kashmir itself.

Their crime was that they were Hindus. Much is made of the J & K Government spending "a huge sum of money" on deploying "thousands of security personnel" to give protection to the pilgrims round the clock for two months, as if a big favour was being done to Hindu pilgrims. How much is "a huge sum of money"? How much, may one ask, is spent on Haj pilgrims? In 2007, India sent 157,000 Muslim pilgrims to Saudi Arabia of whom 1,10,000 went through the Haj Committee and 47,000 through private travel agents.

A pilgrim travelling through the Haj Commitee spends only Rs.

12,000 for his trip, whereas the air fare alone is Rs. 40,000. The Government gives a subsidy of Rs.

28,000 to each pilgrim. According to official figures, the Central Government spent Rs. 280 crores as subsidy in 2006. Now, with rising oil prices, the amount may go as high as Rs. 350 to Rs. 400 crores.

For Haj 2007, the government sent a contingent of 115 doctors (including 63 specialists with post-graduate degrees) and 141 nurses and other para-medical staff, three co-ordinators, 46 assistant Haj officers, 165 Haj assistants and 186 others known as Khadimul Hujjaj, to provide assistance to our pilgrims during their stay in Saudi Arabia.

Some of the facilities provided by the government include: arrangement for polio, meningitis and influenza vaccinations for pilgrims before their departure, a 75bed hospital and 12 branch officecum-dispensaries in Mecca, a 15bed hospital and 12 branch officecum-dispensaries in medina, three medical teams at Jeddah airport to provide medical aid round the clock to Haj pilgrims in case of emergencies and 17 ambulances in Mecca and Medina.

What does the Kashmir government provide for Amarnath pilgrims apart from physical security? There is a separate Haj Cell in the Ministry of External Affairs. And the Haj Committee of India has its own huge premises in Mumbai as it has in other Indian cities built not on unused forest land but on costly urban land provided by state governments.

But in Kashmir, Indian pilgrims on a visit to a holy place in their own country cannot get temporary shelter even in unused forest land.

It is difficult to miss the irony of it all. The truth is that Kashmiri Muslims do not want anybody to stay in the vale of Kashmir except, one presumes, certified Muslims. The Kashmiri Pundits have long ago been driven out cruelly from their ancestral properties now occupied by Muslims.

There were Hindus in Kashmir long before Islam came into existence. But now those self-same Hindus are not wanted. How else can one describe the Kahsmiri Muslim attitude except as an approach moved by greed, selfishness and gross inhumanity bordering on the despicable?

In Kashmir nobody other than Kashmiris can buy land and live there while Kashmiris of whatever religion can freely buy land anywhere else in India and no questions asked. So what are Kashmiri Muslim afraid of, considering that Kashmiri Hindus have already been driven out and all the vale is theirs? And who, among Indians, would want to live amidst an ungracious, selfcentred people guilty of largescale genocide? The unhappy truth is that our secularists have no inkling of what is behind the revolt in Jammu. It is not political. It is not communal. It is a revolt against injustice, against the indifference of the UPA gorvernment and the wishful blindness of our self-styled secularists.

The fault is not of the people of Jammu. The fault lies squarely on the hate-filled communalism of the jihadis, openly supported by the Kashmir Muslim political parties and the indifference shown by the cowardly, mindless and effeminate UPA government.

As the French scholar Francois Gautier put it, what the Jammu Hindus are saying is: "Enough is enough". And Delhi would be wise to take note of that and act accordingly instead of laying the blame on the BJP.

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