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Waves of murder cause memories of Kashmir’s dark past

Srinagar – Kashmiri Hindu activists were listening to religious hymns on their mobile phones when interrupted by a tragic WhatsApp message. It brought news of the deadly shootings of a prominent chemist from his community, just a few miles from the home of an activist in Srinagar, India’s largest city in Kashmir.

Sanjay Ticco, 54, worriedly bolted the gates of the house and gathered his family in the dining room. His phone continued to be crowded with calls from members of the frightened minority community.

Within two hours of the killing of Makhan Lal Bindroo on October 5, the assailants shot and killed another Hindu man, a street vendor in Bihar, eastern India, and a Muslim taxi driver elsewhere. I shot dead. Two days later, two teachers (one Hindu and one Sikh) were shot dead in a school outside Srinagar.

The killings caused widespread anxiety, especially among the religious minority Hindus in the region, locally known as Pandhita, and an estimated 200,000 fled Kashmir after the outbreak of the anti-Indian Rebellion in 1989. ..

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Like chemists and about 800 other Pandit families, Tickoo chooses to stay behind to live with his Muslim neighbors, while other prominent Hindus are quickly moved to safe accommodation. I did. He was later transferred to a fortified Hindu temple protected by paramilitary soldiers in downtown Srinagar, the city center of anti-Indian sentiment.

“I’ve seen death and destruction from a close distance, but I’ve never been worried,” said Tickoo. “The killing spread the panic faster than the virus.”

The killing of the chemist Bindroo was the first in 18 years for local Hindus from this small community, who chose not to migrate from conflict-torn areas. Fearing more such attacks, authorities gave them jobs and housing to nearly 4,000 Hindu employees who returned to the area after 2010 as part of the government’s resettlement program. Provided a vacation.

Tickoo chose to stay again, but after the killing, about 1,800 Hindu employees left the Kashmir Valley. It brought back memories of the 1990s. It saw most local Hindus fly to the Jammu Plains of the region and other parts of India, the majority of Hindus, in a series of community-targeted killings.

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The killing “caused memories that resonated with Pandhita’s early history and large-scale migration,” said Uncle, who studied the Pandhita Immigration Camp for his doctoral studies and is currently teaching anthropology at South Asian University in New Delhi.・ Datta said.

The killings were widely condemned by both pro-Indian and anti-Indian Kashmir politicians. In a thorough crackdown, government forces asked more than 1,000 people in an attempt to stop more violence. Police blamed the rebel group Resistance Front (TRF) for the killing. Dilbag Singh, the region’s chief police officer, described the attack as “a conspiracy to create terrorism and community rifts.”

In a statement on social media, TRF claimed that the group was targeting people working for Indian authorities and was not targeting on the basis of faith. The statement of the rebel group could not be verified independently.

Targeted killings continue despite ongoing crackdowns.

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Attackers re-shot and killed four migrant workers (three Hindus from eastern Bihar and Muslims from northern Uttar Pradesh) in three separate attacks on Saturday and Sunday. Increased the death toll to 32 this year. According to police records, 21 local Hindus, 4 local Hindus, local Sikhs, 5 non-local Hindus and 1 non-local Hindu were killed. bottom.

Sidik Wahid, a historian and former deputy prime minister of the Islamic University of Science and Technology in Kashmir, said the recent killings attracted attention only in the context of inter-denominational concerns, even if people of all religions were killed. , Subsequent discussions are focused on statistics rather than losing lives.

“The first is distorted and the second overlooks the tragedy, both of which represent great losses for Kashmir,” Wahid said.

In Kashmir, Hindus lived peacefully in villages and towns with Muslims for centuries as landowners, peasants and government officials throughout the Himalayan region. The war between India and Pakistan in 1947 caused Kashmir to gain independence from Britain and split between the two countries. However, within a decade, divisions arose as many Muslims began to distrust India’s rule and demanded that it unite its territory under Pakistan’s control or as an independent state.

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When Kashmir turned into a battlefield in the late 1980s, militant attacks and threats led to the departure of most Kashmir Hindus who equated with Indian rule over the region, and the rebellion also aimed to wipe them out. Many believed that it was. It reduced Pandit to a very small number.

Most of the Muslims in the region, who have long resented Indian rule, have denied that Hindus have been systematically targeted, and India has thrown them as Islamic extremists in the Kashmir free struggle. It is said to have been kicked out.

These tensions renewed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 and when the Government of India pursued plans to accommodate returning immigrant Kashmir Hindus in the new town.

Islamic leaders are religious, especially after India deprived the region of semi-autonomy in 2019 and removed inherited protection of land and work in months of blockades and communications blockages. He described such a plan as a plot to create a division of the community by separating the population of the area along the line.

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Since then, authorities have passed many new legislation, fearing critics and Kashmirs could change the demographics of the region.

These fears became even more pronounced in early September when authorities launched an online portal for immigrant Hindus and registered complaints of distress sales and invasion of their property. Official figures show that 700 complaints were received in the first three weeks.

Thousands of Muslim families who bought property from Hindus were angry. Authorities even called on some Muslim families to surrender their property.

“The online portal seems to be the main trigger for the killings,” said activist Tickoo.

Among the minorities in the region, Sikhs live relatively comfortably with their Muslim neighbors and have emerged as the largest minority after Hindu migration. But they too are facing targeted killings.

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After the murder of the 46-year-old Sikh school principal, Supinder Kour, hundreds of angry community members carried her body to Srinagar, demanding justice and raising religious slogans. Some Muslim residents have joined them.

“I don’t know who the murderer is. Do you think you can speak freely even if you know it?” Said Sikh leader Jagmohan Shinraina. “We are sandwiched between two guns, a national and a non-state.”

Rina said the Sikhs did not flee after Chur’s murder, but claimed that his community was upset. He said the minority was “manipulated for politics” while the state “provoked and punished” the majority of Muslims in the region through new legislation.

Tickoo and Raina said the killing was a “sinister sign” for Kashmir. In a similar comment, they argued that the changes in India two years ago “hurt all of us on earth.”

“And the wounds are now cancerous,” Rina said.

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Follow Aijaz Hussain on Twitter at twitter.com/hussain_aijaz.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.



Waves of murder cause memories of Kashmir’s dark past

Source link Waves of murder cause memories of Kashmir’s dark past

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