Kashmiriyat is dying, but we can save peaceful Jammu and Ladakh

For god’s sake, let us not further compromise the two regions by continuing to marginalise their people and their distinct identities.

 |  2-minute read |   13-07-2017
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We have all been deeply saddened by the horrific manner in which the Amarnath yatris were gunned down by militants in Kashmir Valley on July 10. It is difficult not to express one’s grief, sorrow and anger at this tragic incident.

It is heartening to see how people from across all communities came forward to condemn this act. As a concerned citizen of the state, I feel it is my duty to highlight the new ground reality of Jammu & Kashmir that is mostly ignored in the media and political narratives.

In this moment of sorrow, let us not lose touch with the reality. Let us not get swayed by those who, on the one hand, are happy to lend support to terrorists, azadi and pro-Pakistan narratives and then come out and condemn the killings. Even the strongest condemnation is on a weak wicket so long as their support to terrorism and militancy continues unabashed.

I also want to make it clear that all expressions of a setback to the so-called “composite culture” or even the more popular term “Kashmiriyat”, that are being flaunted loosely by all and sundry today, are nothing but rhetoric and hollow phrases.

Any semblance of this was demolished in 1987 when the Hindus were massacred, raped and driven away from the Valley. Today, the Valley has almost 100 per cent Muslim population with a fast-growing radical Islamic mindset that has no space for “outsiders”.

ladakh-embed_071317033908.jpgIf there is any semblance of a 'composite culture', it lies in these two regions and in their deep-rooted culture of 'Dogriyat' and 'Ladakhiat'. Photo: Reuters

Unfortunately, this greatly reduces the space and impact of the liberal minority Kashmiris who came out to condemn the massacre of the yatris. Be that as it may, the government of India is committed to resolving this conflict that has been simmering since 1947 and the process continues.

In the meantime, we must make all efforts to save the other two larger regions of J&K, namely Jammu province and Ladakh from the rapidly growing fundamentalist forces that threaten to radicalise the peace-loving regions.

If there is any semblance of a “composite culture”, it lies in these two regions and in their deep-rooted culture of “Dogriyat” and “Ladakhiat”. Here, Hindus, Muslims, Gujjars, Bakkarwals, Sikhs and Buddhists have lived together in peace and harmony.

The harsh reality is that since 1947, there has been a concerted effort to marginalise their regional identities on communal lines. For God’s sake, let us not further compromise Jammu and Ladakh by continuing to marginalise their people and their distinct regional identities.

My appeal to the Prime Minister and the government of India is that while they must continue to address the Kashmir Valley issue, at the same time, they must also engage and strengthen the regional identities and aspirations of Jammu province and Ladakh. Perhaps comprehensive and progressive regional policies exclusive to these two regions are the need of the hour. 

Also read: Yatri bus killings not a terror attack


Vikramaditya Singh Vikramaditya Singh @vikramaditya_jk

The writer is a member of the J&K legislative council and a senior leader of the Peoples Democratic Party.

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