By Sushil Kutty
Scrapping Article 370 gave the Modi Government much to crow about. But it did not stop the terror attacks. Or the terror killings. Today, the Kashmiri Hindu is back in his hellhole of the late 1980s. There’s a new strain of terrorists stalking him and killing him with a bullet to his head. Women are not spared.
They say it’s the retribution of “The Resistance Force”. Should we conclude, then, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah failed to read the errors of their way when they scrapped 370? The answer is in the sudden spurt in targeted killings of Hindus in the Kashmir Valley. In the state’s impotence to perform against them!
The [email protected]#[email protected]*ds are not sparing even harmless ‘paani-poori’ vendors. A high school Sikh principal and a Hindu teacher were pulled out of a line-up of teachers and shot dead. The two had made the mistake of answering “Hindu” instead of “Muslim” to a pointed question. It wasn’t murder, it was brutal execution.
Now, there’s the familiar trope that the victims are heroes! From the elderly Kashmiri Pandit chemist to the taxi aggregator, all the five killed in cold blood in Kashmir are being hailed as heroes. BJP spokespersons are skirting the hard questions. Instead, they’re talking of the “gaurav of dying for the tricolour” and the unsung bravery of the unheralded victim!
It’s nauseating. This repetitive ode to the State’s failure to bring to heel a new strain of terrorism. The exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1989-90 was hastened by bone-chilling calls from the mosque, to get out or face the consequences. Now, it’s the silent bullet to the back of the head; no warning, no ultimatum. Far more scary; far more bone-chilling.
Every Hindu in Kashmir now knows he is in the crosshairs. The CCTV footage of one killing is particularly shocking. The perpetrator is seen silently step up behind the ‘Hindu’ and shoot him dead from less than a foot away. Can anybody make sense out of such martyrdom? The victim died on his feet!
August 5, 2019 Amit Shah gained worldwide attention – equal parts herodom and equal parts notoriety – for scripting the takeover of Kashmir. Much was expected of the move. Kashmir shut down and unarmed Kashmiri rendered incommunicado. Not the armed terrorists though. They had the ammo to spare and spray
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his usual silent self, worse than even ‘Maunmohan Singh’. Modi hasn’t spoken on Lakhimpur-Kheri nor has he condemned the targeted killings of Hindus in Kashmir. It’s time Modi is disabused of the notion that people vote for him no matter what.
Modi and the BJP must be conveyed that he/BJP cannot anymore count on a Hindu vote-bank. That the situation has changed since 2014 and 2019. The Hindu bonhomie with Modi has ebbed. The honeymoon is over. The Hindu has seen through Modi’s camouflage.
Narendra Modi’s confidence that he stands no risk probably stems from his belief that there’s no alternative to him. That the West Bengal outcome did not disturb his ratings and nor will a setback in Uttar Pradesh in 2022. He believes his hardcore Hindu will vote for him irrespective and regardless.
But the BJP is rattled nevertheless by recent events. Whether it’s the appointment of a Dalit Chief Minister in Punjab or Congress victories in local elections in several states, including in Maharashtra, the BJP is sagging against the ropes.
The not so random targeted killings of Hindus in Kashmir may trigger a renewed exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley. The ‘State’ has no clue who the terrorists are. With anger boiling over and the Uttar Pradesh elections slated for Jan-Feb 2022, panic has set in. Amit Shah has sent a team of counter-terror experts to help the local police.
This is the tourist season in the Kashmir Valley and “Hindu tourists” make up the bulk of tourist arrivals. Pakistan-based terror groups are on a high after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Amit Shah will have to prove he is better than his junior MoS (Home) Ajay Kumar Mishra in every which way. (IPA Service)