Amarnath Yatra terror attack: Foolish to blame Not In My Name protesters

Peak whataboutery isn’t helpful when security lapses and intelligence failure must be carefully scrutinised.

 |  Angiography  |  8-minute read |   11-07-2017
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A terror attack is a terrible tragedy in the first place, and in case it specifically targets members of a particular community, it’s the most heinous and despicable display of crude barbarism on earth. But instead of condemning it fully and forcefully, when a terror strike becomes a case of political point-scoring and shielding the state, which is ultimately responsible for the well-being of its citizens, we witness harrowing instances of political whataboutery.

Amarnath Yatra terror attack is one such instance. It’s a most dastardly act of pure cowardice, and as per reports, the banned terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba operating out of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is responsible, the Jammu and Kashmir IG Police, Muneer Khan has said.

pti_071117124752.jpgSecurity person stand guard after militants opened fire on the Amarnath Yatra in which some pilgrims were killed in Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday. (Credit: PTI Photo)

Ismail, a Lashkar operative from Pakistan and the Lashkar commander for South Kashmir, was heading the group of three-five militants that carried out the dastardly attack on Amarnath yatris in Anantnag, according to intelligence sources.

This morning, Union home minister Rajnath Singh convened a high-level meet to assess the situation, and J&K governor NN Vohra, the chairman of the Amarnath Shrine Board, Army corps commander and DG Police SP Vaid were also present.

There were intel reports that the Amarnath Yatra could come under attack and the media has already covered it, explaining the gravity of the situation, the sensitive nature of the yatra per se at a time when Kashmir is boiling over. Security lapses have come to the fore such as the fact that the bus was not registered with the Amarnath Yatra Shrine Board, it was tailing a police convoy, and even then it got attacked leading to seven casualties and several injuries.

While the attack was overwhelmingly condemned by all, particularly Kashmiris themselves, there were some who immediately found in this an opportunity to discredit the #NotInMyName protesters, who had gathered at Jantar Mantar in the beginning of July to protest the lynching of 16-year-old Junaid Khan at Ballabhgarh on the Delhi-Mathura train.

It’s ironical that today itself, there will be another protest at Jantar Mantar under the #NotInMyName banner, even as those who compulsively found fault with citizens protesting against mob lynching and demanding an answer from the state. This is the lot – comprising ruling party spokespersons, to ministers and right-wing journalists who double up as government propagandists – which considers lives lost to be unequal, to the extent that they’d rather say the protests happen for one lot of victims and not for the other, exactly what they accuse the #NotInMyName protesters of.

Of course, there were police, civil reactions, which nevertheless put these whatabouters in place with a firmness of purpose and determined secular adherence to keep #NotInMyName above any communal colourations.

The sadness of Indian politics that’s bookended by competitive communalisms and its gatekeepers, ushers and powerbrokers is only compensated by the great Indian citizenry that’s pouring its heart out, demanding justice for all. In fact, the @NotInMyName banner on Twitter has clearly spelt out that there is no distinction and discrimination between victims of different terror groups, whether they are cow-crazy paramilitia with covert state backing, or terrorist groups operating from beyond the border, also with rival state backing.

It is with the firm civic responsibility of concerned citizens that there will be another gathering today at Jantar Mantar, demanding, reiterating that the acts of terror are not in our name.

In fact, the statement put out by #NotInMyName on their Facebook page, deserves to be reproduced in full.

We are saddened by the news that seven pilgrims on their way to Amarnath have been killed in an attack by people who can only be described as enemies of humanity. The Kashmir police has issued a statement that the attack was on a police van and the yatris died while the fleeing attackers fired indiscriminately. The Amarnath Yatris have never feared an attack even when the situation in the valley was worse than what it is at present.

Kashmiri people have always taken pride in the fact that the Yatra was always safe and never came under any threat. It is tragic that this faith and trust today stands shattered by elements who obviously want to kick start a chain of incidents that will bring more tragedies, more deaths and more hatred.We as citizens have to intervene in this situation and mourn the death of those civilians who unexpectedly became collateral damage and also take a firm stand against politcal violence no matter who the perpetrator.

Kashmiris in the valley have been caught in a vortex of violence and it is not too long back that we saw all those disturbing images of young people carrying pellet wounds over their bodies. All lives matter and dead bodies should not become part of a politcs that divides people on the basis of religion.

The seven dead did not deserve to die and it is only when we stand up and demand an end to this politics of hatred that we can prevent the deaths of innocents going on a pilgrimage or returning from Eid shopping.

Not In My name campaign gives a call to gather at Jantar Mantar and stand in vigil against hate and in grief with the families of those killed. Please carry posters of #Notinmyname and solidarity with families of those killed. We stand against hatred and our posters too should reflect our stand.

We call upon all citizens to ensure peace and resist any call to violence.


Date - Tuesday, 11 July, 2017Venue- Jantar MantarTime- 7:00PM

Anyone who’s concerned should be at Jantar Mantar today, or at least show solidarity with its truly liberal call of social justice for all, reinstating true secularism, rebuilding of social bonds, utter and absolute condemnation of violence.

That will be true display of nationalism and patriotism, not patriot games on Twitter and TV channels to inflame the mood further.

Also read: Not In My Name: An ex-officer explains why he doesn't want India turning into a Hindu Pakistan


Angshukanta Chakraborty Angshukanta Chakraborty @angshukanta

Former assistant editor, DailyO

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