Attack on Amarnath yatra pilgrims is ugly politics of terror pushing Kashmir over the edge

Seven have died in what can only be termed a heinous assault on a religious procession that has great cultural significance for the Hindus.

 |  -minute read |   10-07-2017
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Seven Amarnath yatra pilgrims have been killed and several injured in what can only be called a despicable, barbaric act of cowardice to spread and further vitiate the already jangled nerves of Kashmir and the whole of India. In a heinous terror attack, the peaceful procession to Amarnath was jolted as terrorists opened fire on a bus in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on the evening of July 10, Monday.

The bus was from Gujarat and wasn’t part of the main yatra convoy and was not registerd with the shrine board, as per CRPF, or the Central Reserve Police Force sources. Troops have been rushed to the site of attack, and even the police party in Bangtegoo area in the district came under assault from the terrorists.

amarnath_071017102859.jpgPhoto: Indiatoday.in

 

This is extremely distressing and an absolutely unpardonable act of barbarism that’s likely to push the Kashmir conversation, as well as the communal rhetoric simmering in the country, over the edge. At a time when restraint was needed not only from the government but also from the people, given the state of tensions that exists in West Bengal, Kerala and particularly Jammu and Kashmir, this incident literally pours gallons of fuel on an already burning fire.

According to a report in The Indian Express: “The attack took place hours after the Jammu and Kashmir Police claimed to have busted a Lashkar-e-Taiba module with the arrests of two persons, including Sandeep Kumar Sharma alias Adil, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh.”

J&K former chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed his deep sadness on Twitter, adding that there were fears of such an attack.

Journalist Barkha Dutt echoed his sentiment too.

She has also put up a short post on Facebook, summing up her first reactions:

“For 22 years I have loved Kashmir with my heart and soul; been pained by its tragedy, been exasperated by the failure of compassion and political imagination, been aghast by the terrorism and crushed by its heart breaking tragedy. I have always argued that Kashmir is too complex for binaries. But today after the terror attack on the Amarnath Yatra- targeted at police and yatris among the casualties- another watershed moment of shame and horror has been added to the state's tortured history, the second after the lynching of Ayub Pandith, I ask myself-. What Azaadi, What Politics, What Kashmiriyat. What is happening is simply Sickening beyond words. And every single day this only costs those who say Kashmir is a political issue all their moral legitimacy. - Barkha Dutt.” 

Reactions on Twitter are pouring in, ranging from utter shock and disgust, to feelings of being betrayed.

It must be remembered that Amarnath Yatra had been suspended from Jammu due to precarious and tense situation, particularly around the first anniversary of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani. Although internet services were blocked for two days to curb any insurgency during the time, they were only reopened this morning.

Curfew has been imposed in towns and fresh restrictions have been placed on the movement of people in the Valley. But nothing can contain or describe the feeling of abject horror at this communally directed terror attack, picking Hindu victims at a time when the Hindu-Muslim narrative has reached the lowest of lows.

No amount of national security bluster or preparedness can take away from the fact that this would go down in history as one of the definitive crossings of the tolerance Rubicon, even though it was hardly being practised on the ground.

The terror attack on Amaranth yatris, perhaps to avenge Burhan’s death, would perhaps tighten the grip of the security forces over the Valley. Were the terrorists even thinking of the innocents in whose name the act of barbarism was, after all, carried out? We don't think so.‚Äč

Also read: I'm a Kashmiri and a 'coward'. Whom do I fight for azadi?

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