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Communal elements in Jammu

Attack on stranded Kashmir-bound passengers in Jammu on Monday is a shameful and provocative act aimed at disturbing the peace in the otherwise quiet city. While in Kashmir the stranded passengers and drivers are being served tea and food by the local residents, this compassion and sympathy is not only missing in Jammu but, quite contrarily, the stranded people are being subjected to the anger. That speaks of the two divergent faces of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The attack on Kashmiri passengers took place when some of them expressed anger against inadequate efforts by the government in making arrangements for air lifting them to their destinations.

The passengers, stranded for the past six days due to closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway, had assembled near Mufti Sayeed Hostel adjoining the Geography department of the College, to register themselves for airlift to Srinagar. As some people raised slogans against the government, it drove the attention of the students of the nearby college students who pelted stones on the passengers, creating chaos. A two-minute video shot on the occasion reveals that the Kashmiri passengers ran helter-skelter for their lives as stones and other projectile were hurled on them. Police while confirming the incident claimed that the Kashmiri passengers provoked the attackers by raising pro Pakistan and anti India slogans. Police is reported to have filed cases against some of the Kashmiri passengers for raising anti national slogans.

However, the video circulated on social networking websites nowhere shows the pro Pakistan or anti Pakistan slogans by the victims. It goes without saying that some elements are trying to disturb peace in Jammu and they are poisoning the minds of the people by spreading concocted stories about Kashmiris in particular and Muslims in general. Though majority of the Jammu people, who rely solely on valley people for their economic activities, have friendly relations with Kashmiri residents but there is a vocal section of Jammu society who are politically motivated, are hell-bent on destroying the friendly relations between the two communities. Some so-called NGOs run by communally motivated persons are, more particularly, acting on this script. A self-styled intellectual, who claims to be professor, on Monday, asked Jammu university authorities to cancel the admission of Kashmiri students. Some insane voices are publicly raised asking Jammu people to get together against the presence of Muslims in Jammu. Early this month, a seminar to this effect was organized in which the organizers and speakers pledged to work for “dismantling the Muslim character of Jammu and Kashmir”. They saw the Muslim presence as ‘Jammu under siege’. Jammu and Kashmir as a state is a single constituency.

It does belong to any particular section of people from a particular region. All the three major regions—Kashmir, Jammu and Laddakh—belong to all the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir. They have every right to live in any part of their liking. No individual or organization has any legal or constitutional right to question it.

People of Jammu and Ladakh have as much right to live in the valley as the valley people have to settle in other regions. Trying to make it an issue of law and order is the worst kind of anti-social activity, demanding a serious action by the law. People of Jammu know it for the fact that there economy solely depends on the people of the valley and other parts of the state. As the economic interests are the foremost in the emerging world today, the economic ties have bound the valley and Jammu people into an unflinching brotherhood. That is all the more evident from the prevailing peace and tranquility in the city. They give little damn to the provocations stirred up by anti social elements in this regard. But the state government, which is presently headed by the Governor S P Malik, should take note of the activities of the anti social elements who are trying to disturb the peace in the region. Governor should seek a report from the concerned authorities and order immediate action against such elements. The anti-peace people need to be dealt with a heavy hand of the law.