Demonisation of Kashmiris and Muslims Won't Help Kashmiri Pandits

Tolerating calls for ‘revenge’ against Kashmiri Muslims may appeal to the hate brigade, but won't bring peace.

3 min read

Video Producers: Shohini Bose, Aparna Singh
Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam
Video Input: Faizan Mir

Yeh Jo India Hai Na… here we have an elephant in the room. An elephant we don’t talk about, an elephant about which we do nothing. What is this elephant? Where is this room?

The room is familiar. Kashmir. Recently, this is what we saw: Kashmiri Pandits being beaten up in Srinagar for protesting against the central government. This is what Kashmiri Pandits who took the government’s offer to return to the Valley have to say:

"Minorities are being attacked continuously for the last seven months. One of our brothers had gone to office, where he was sprayed with bullets and his corpse arrived in the evening. For how long will this happen? We do not feel safe here."
Kashmiri Pandit (Name withheld to protect identity)

Elephant in the Room → Demonising Kashmiri Muslims

Kashmiri Pandits are arguing that they are back in Kashmir but are not safe. That the government’s claims about militancy coming down are not true. And that promises that peace will return have not been kept.

"The entire Valley will witness an exodus again. What happened in the 90s will repeat itself in 2022 so that the administration can get a reality check on its claim of rehabilitating 6,000 Kashmiri Pandit families in the Valley."
Kashmiri Pandit (Name withheld to protect identity)

So, what is the elephant in the room? The refusal to understand that peace cannot return to Kashmir without the willing participation of Kashmir’s Muslims.


Elephant in the Room → Demonising Kashmiris

Demonising every Kashmiri Muslim in a film like 'The Kashmir Files', may earn cheers inside some cinema halls, may earn brownie points for ministers who urge us to watch the movie, and may excite bigots to put out a fresh round of hate on social media, but it only takes us further away from finding peace in J&K.

Kashmiri political leaders, party workers, and panchayat pradhans who have taken part in elections for years, defying terrorist death threats – we demonise them. Kashmiri government servants and police personnel, lakhs of ordinary Kashmiri civilians – we demonise them. Kashmiri students who come to study in other parts of India, we refuse to rent them rooms – we demonise them too.

However, can our response to the persecution of the Kashmiri Pandits be to just carry on the cycle of persecution and violence? Such calls for counter-violence suit haters sitting far away from Kashmir, it allows them to demonise India’s Muslims.

We saw that clearly after the release of The Kashmir Files. None of this, however, helps the Kashmiri Pandits.

Elephant in the Room → Calling All Kashmiri Muslims 'Jihadis'

While the terrorists are just a few hundred in numbers, we have chosen to label all Kashmiri Muslims as ’Jihadis’. But then, who’s left to talk to at the negotiating table? No one. And in that case, how does this government hope to end the violence?

Or is the unstated aim simply to keep the pot boiling? If so, let the hapless Kashmiri Pandits know that there is no real plan to keep them safe in Kashmir. In fact, quite the opposite.

Yeh Jo India Hai Na… here, what we are really doing is feeding the elephant in the room with a daily dose of hate.

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Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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