It is common knowledge that the Kashmir region of the State of Jammu & Kashmir not only is now cleansed of its native population of Pandits but is also home to the largest concentration of Muslims who want to secede from India. These secessionists have of late got further motivation from communists of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) situated in Delhi and self-styled Ambedkarists of different educational institutions spread across the country, particularly in southern India, supported by Christian missionaries who have been on a conversion drive for decades.
Reverberations of the slogans raised in JNU on 9 February were heard on the NIT-Srinagar campus following the match between Indian and West Indian cricket teams in the World T20 tournament that India lost on 31 March. “Bharat tere tukde honge, insha’Allah, insha’Allah” (India, you will be broken to pieces, God willing) was heard along with “jiye, jiye Pakistan” (long live Pakistan), “Hindustan murdabad” and “Pakistan zindabad” — the known slogans of the Hurriyat Conference.
The minority of non-Kashmiri students of the institution, who hail from different parts of the country, responded to their separatist colleagues only when their hostels were attacked by extremists who are not students. The Kashmiri inmates had obviously tipped off the outsiders after the heated exchange of words. When the goons pelted stones at the Indus Hostel that houses non-Kashmiri students, the latter assembled, hoisted the National Flag and raised the slogan, “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. These Hindu students then went to register their complaint with the institution’s director.
What followed was shameful. Jammu & Kashmir Police joined the rioters to launch an assault on the Hindu students — right in front of the NIT director’s office. Up to five cops cornered every student and beat each of them so mercilessly that some ended up with broken limbs and the others with cuts and bruises all over the body.
Worse, even teachers of Kashmiri descent, who are the majority in the said institution, have threatened the Hindus students of dire consequences, beginning with failing them in exams.
This monstrosity by the State police under a government that is supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which seeks pride in being a nationalist organization, is unacceptable. If the coalition with separatist People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has not done enough damage to the BJP’s reputation in the rest of the country already, the news of this riot, which could have turned into an anti-Hindu pogrom, will seal its fate everywhere. But how the BJP fares in elections is hardly the country’s concern. What we shudder to think is that the force that wishes to see India disintegrated is increasingly gaining strength and we are yet to develop a social, institutional, or organizational response to the challenge.
As of now, all patriots must assemble in different places of the country to lodge protests against the government at the Centre to make its partner in Jammu & Kashmir ensure safety and security of non-Kashmiri students staying precariously in hostels of the NIT campus. Since their careers are at stake too, their examination papers — like those of the test that was held on 3 April — must be parcelled outside Kashmir to be checked by competent, non-Kashmiri teachers.
Thereafter, we must all pressure the BJP to make its partner in Jammu & Kashmir behave by taking exemplary action against the rioters as well as the hoodlums in uniform, or bring an immediate end to its coalition with the PDP. An inquiry must be instituted to probe the teachers; those found guilty of threatening the students must be sacked.
As such, trying to make separatists see sense in staying with India has never worked. There has been no sign that the PDP-BJP government is working on such a project. Hence, the provincial government put in place to honour the numbers in the Vidhan Sabha and represent the Valley, Jammu region and Ladakh alike has stopped serving its purpose.