Restraining the monster

Having allowed, if not actually encouraged, the so-called ’fringe’ elements to physically targetting the Kashmiris, especially Kashmiri students and youth, and asking them to leave ‘India’ and go back to ‘their Kashmir’, Union Ministers are now finding it is high time to tell the fringe elements that ‘Kashmiris’ are also ‘Indians’ and should be treated as such. Physical attacks on Kashmiri students in Rajasthan and issuing of threat notices to Kashmiris in Uttar Pradesh, asking them to leave ‘India’ and go back to ‘their’ Kashmir, left those who govern this country  with no other alternative but to  crack the whip on the hate-mongers. Having got the official nod, the police in UP are doing what they were afraid of doing till the other day, namely, removing the anti-Kashmiri hate posters and arresting some of the culprits.
Removing the posters, however, will not disabuse the hearts of the hate-mongers of the hatred they have been brought up on.  It will not make them feel, as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh exhorted, that ‘they’ are also flesh and blood of ‘us’. ‘Kashmiris’ have long been portrayed to ‘Indians’ as traitors, secessionists, anti-nationals and pro-Pakistanis. People holding responsible positions have urged that the Army should return bullets to those who pelt stones at them, without ever trying to find out why youths armed only with stones confront the army, knowing full well that they will die in this unequal confrontation. Fathoming the cause of their anger will help find out the solution. Treating them as traitors and treating them as such will, as the experience of the past few years has shown, only help to swell their numbers. And turn the situation from bad to worse.
As Rajnath Singh has said, the Kashmiris are Indians and have to be treated as such. Those who are euphemistically called the ‘fringe elements’ have never been told that ‘they’ are ‘our’ blood brothers. They have been brought up on irrational antagonism against the Kashmiris. Restoring sanity in them will prove to be far more difficult than poisoning their minds. Rajnath Singh has done exactly what it is incumbent on him to do as the country’s Home Minister. But his duty does not end here. He has also to tell his party and all its associated organizations to give up the path of hatred and hostility and begin a new journey along the road of bhaichara and brotherhood.

Sunday, 23 April, 2017