Nightmarish Scenario

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On October 10, three persons received burn injuries when a Kashmir-bound truck was attacked with a petrol bomb at Shiv Nagar area of Udhampur district. The assailants broke the front glass of the truck to throw in the bomb over the driver, conductor and another person sleeping there, all Kashmiris. The attack followed the tension in the area over the discovery of the three cow carcasses. The victims with severe burn injuries are being treated at the Government Medical College, Jammu. A day earlier, BJP legislators made a murderous assault on Engineer Rashid for organizing a beef party at MLA hostel.

This is not all. Protests were also held in Jammu city against Engineer Rashid’s party. Bajrang Dal activists burnt Rashid’s effigy at Rehari area of the city and demanded his immediate arrest for hurting Hindu sentiments. National Panthers Party, a Jammu centric political outfit also held a protest led by its chairman Harsh Dev Singh. Similarly Hindu Shiv Sena held a protest at B C Road area. Others who took to streets are Hindu Kranti Dal, Shiv Sena Hindustan, Sri Ram Sena, Rastryawadi Shiv Sena and Freedom Fighter Association.

These incidents have given rise to a nightmarish scenario in J&K. It almost appears that the religious intolerance that has reared its ugly head across India is now making its way into J&K, a Muslim majority state. The ban on beef and the attendant politics over it has become a license to perpetrate violence and create divide between communities. This is creating a climate of fear. Cow has taken the political centre stage in rest of India where the Hindu majority holds the animal sacred. A Muslim majority state seemed an unlikely candidate for the controversy. But this is what has been the case. Cow is now astride over the politics of J&K too. Unless the issue is sensitively handled, the situation holds every prospect of spiralling out of control.

However, what is important about beef ban is not its immediate fallout on the peace in the state which for all its destabilizing impact will be temporary. It is the underlying purpose of the nationwide politics being played over the issue. From the looks of its, beef ban seems hardly about the religion or the sensitivities and sentiment of a particular community. It is an out and out political move, pernicious  and cynical in its import. It is about assertion of a majoritarian cultural ethic. It is not about developing a mutual understanding between the communities. It is about the domination of the minority community by the majority. And ironically in Kashmir it is about the domination of the majority by the minority. 

What has abetted this troubling state of affairs is Modi’s lingering refusal to reject this state of affairs. He has  spoken generally against the growing communalism in the country and never specifically condemned a communal incident.  He even didn’t condemn the Dadri lynching of an elderly Muslim man by his Hindu neighbors on the suspicion of eating beef. This has made the state complicit in the rising intolerance in the country. And made the minorities apprehend the worst. 

In Kashmir people are apt to question PDP if this is what it joined BJP for. More than seven months after the coalition was formed, no promised flood rehabilitation or the development package has materialized. But BJP’s ideological footprints are pressing closer by the day. 

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