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50 shades of twisted depravity: How Amarnath Yatra is being tarnished to peddle separatist narrative

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Sanghamitra
reader, writer, dreamer, no one

In India, a large section of self-proclaimed secular, liberal media and politicians have been practising a version of ‘secularism’ that is actually nothing but blatant Hindu hatred. Extending the umbrella of Hindu hatred, that perspective has also been widened to include hatred of anything indigenous, anything that forms the core of Indian nationalism and identity. Over the years, observant watchers would agree that the hatred has evolved into open shaming of Hindu practices and to such extent that the so-called secular liberals often consider India’s national security and its territorial integrity to be of far less importance over their desperate need for Mulsim appeasement.

Perhaps on cue, a specific section of global media too is often seen indulging in the blatant shaming of Indian culture and hatred for Indian practices. We have seen how The New York Times has repeatedly carried out their propaganda against India. From Indian attire to India’s security concerns, they have made every possible attempt to deride, shame and tarnish India’s global image.

Kashmir has been a burning issue for India since decades. A global trend worldwide can be seen when one looks at events happening across the world. Islamist terrorism is spreading its wings globally for years now. When armed terrorists carry out bomb blasts, terror attacks and mass murders, there is also a growing section of media and political force that indulges in apologist activities. They attempt to blame everything, from cultural discrimination to racism to stress and anxiety when it comes to terrorists. A sinister reflection of that behaviour has also been visible when it comes to India and especially Kashmir.

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In July last year, a bus carrying 60 Amarnath yatris was attacked by a group of Islamic terrorists who sprayed bullets on innocent, unarmed Hindu devotees. The attack was not the first of its kind, Amarnath yatra has been the target of Islamic terrorists for a long time. There have been attacks previously too. in 2000, a total of 89 people were massacred in five different co-ordinated massacres that happened over two days. Attacks have happened and Hindu devotees have been killed in 2001 and 2002 too. Let us see how some of our secular liberals have reacted after the 2017 Amarnath Yatra attacks.

Sitaram Yechury on Twitter

Barkha Dutt on Twitter

This year, thankfully, the Amarnath Yatra began and concluded without any Hindu pilgrims losing their lives in the hands of Islamic terrorists. The Indian government had left no stone unturned in providing security measures and had deployed thousands to armed soldiers with modern surveillance technology to ensure the safety of the lakhs of pilgrims who take the arduous journey to get a glimpse of what is one of the most revered Hindu shrines.

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However, several media organisations across the world have a problem with India protecting its citizens, especially Hindu citizens. An August 9 article in Foreign Policy states India is trying to create a ‘Jerusalem like’ situation in the ‘divided’ region of Kashmir through the Amarnath Yatra. Incredulous as it may sound, the article is laden with a number of assertions on how India is sending hoards of Hindu pilgrims in an attempt to “Mix religious and national sentiments to turn the disputed territory into a sacred ground that can never be surrendered.” 

foreign Policy article on Amarnath Yatra

The article makes bold assertions, from making it clear in the first paragraph itself that the Amarnath Yatra is nothing but a state-sponsored attempt to ‘capture’ Kashmir by India’s Hindu nationalist government, it goes ahead to assert that the BJP government is trying to support the ‘Hindu claim over Kashmiri land.’

The article in Foreign Policy

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As if blatantly challenging India’s territorial integrity was not enough, the article also goes ahead to assert that it is the Hindu pilgrims who are carrying out the government agenda of ‘claiming’ Kashmir. Sadly, the article very conveniently forgets to mention that Hindus have always lived in Kashmir. The article has no mention of the lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits who were massacred and were forced to leave their homes. Leave alone Kashmir’s ancient heritage, that has roots in Shaivite Hinduism and asceticism nurtured with centuries of Hindu saints, poets and kings, the article paints a picture of Kashmir being an exclusively Muslim territory, with India now thrusting its Hinduism upon its poor, hapless Muslims through activities like the Amarnath Yatra. For them, India being prepared to protect its own citizens is a crime because the citizens happen to be mostly Hindus.

Sadly, this was not even the only article to make such depraved assertions of a twisted ideology.

A 16th July article in Turkish state-sponsored media outlet TRT World titled “Is India trying to subdue Kashmir through religious tourism?” takes a similar stand. it claims India, which is undergoing a ‘Hindutva transformation’ has, over the years, institutionalised the Amarnath yatra and is carrying our a ‘cultural imperialism’ to assert India’s claim over Kashmir.

An article in TRT World

Not stopping at that, the article also goes ahead to claim India’s imperialist attempts to ‘claim’  Kashmir through the Amarnath shrine are creating an environmental disaster for the Kashmir valley. it also adds that Hindutva organisations and the present government of India are deliberately creating a surge of Hindu pilgrims in the valley to ‘create demographical tensions’ in the region and expresses the notion that all of this is a part of the fierce attempts by India to assimilate Kashmir into the Indian state. it even mentions that ‘there are even attempts to make these yatras a permanent affair.’

The article on TRT World

They went further and also claimed that the Indian army’s primary job is to maim, kill and torture Kashmiris day in and day out.

How conveniently these articles forget to mention that it is the Indian army that saves Kashmiris during floods and other natural calamities, runs hospitals and health camps and its primary job is to protect the innocents Kashmiris from their radical Islamic jihadi brothers who have been trained and funded by Pakistan to kill their own. The black ISIS flags being waved at protest rallies and the brutal stone peltings on security forces that have injured thousands of soldiers find no mention either. The systemic and selective killing of Hindus over the years in Kashmir in an attempt to eliminate Hindus from the valley find no mention in these hallow narratives of malignant smear campaigns.

Hidden beneath all the assertions and allegations is a more sinister agenda. An agenda to mainstream jihadi Islamist radicalism. By painting the Islamic terrorists as a ‘product’ and not the cause, by portraying security forces in Kashmir as a threat to its present status, by conveniently ignoring the brutal genocide of Kashmiri Hindus, these elements are actually driving the greater cause of subtle propaganda peddling, a psychological mission to programme unsuspecting minds into believing that the terrorists are rebel heroes and they only take up arms to protect themselves. Just like Burhan Wani was projected as the ‘poor headmaster’s son’ and more recently Rahul Gandhi stated that it was joblessness that created ISIS.

While inside India a large section of liberals was busy establishing the ‘secular’ roots of Amarnath Yatra by hailing the false narrative of Buta Malick ‘discovering’ the shrine, certain sections of global media worked to portray the pious journey as a malicious attempt by wicked Hindus to snatch Kashmir from the Muslims. Looks like India and Indians will have to be prepared for a war of narratives.

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Sanghamitra
reader, writer, dreamer, no one

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