The 19th of January, 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the valley. A lot has changed since then but the more things change the more they remain the same. It is an undeniable fact that the same sentiments that led to the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus are very much alive and thriving today. The only thing that is markedly different is the political dispensation that is in power today and the manner in which they perceive the world.
Of course, those sentiments were most prevalent in the recent violence that broke out across the country against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The same brand of politics that forced Kashmir Hindus to migrate out of Kashmir does not wish minorities from the Islamic States of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to be provided citizenship in India. It is their ideological comrades that have driven out these poor Hindus and Sikhs from the abovementioned Islamic states.
When a Hindutva government seeks to alleviate the misery of these people, as far as is humanly possible, they are the ones taking great grievance against the same. It’s not surprising at all, it’s in the nature of Radical Islam to not only oppress people of other religions but also deny them the rights and privileges that they are due as a consequence of the violence Islamic fundamentalists have inflicted upon them.
One of the distinctive features of Radical Islamic Terrorism is that while terrorists are busy committing the most heinous of crimes against humanity, there is a cantankerous band of assorted morons who busy themselves whitewashing their crimes and immediately try to build a narrative that Islamophobia is the real concern when Islamic terrorists murder ‘Kaafirs’.
Thus, it gives Islamic Extremists the opportunity to cry victim while they are holding a knife to the throat of ‘infidels’. It has been happening in Kashmir ever since 1990 and the same patter can be observed in the aftermath of the passage of the CAA at the protests in Shaheen Bagh. There are stark similarities between the protests against the CAA and what happened at Kashmir thirty years ago. And there’s a need for a reminder of this fact.
During the anti-CAA protests, the country was witness to a spree of violence across India. While a lot of public property was damaged, in Bihar, a Temple of Hanuman was vandalized. Organized mobs rampaged across the country with only one thing in their mind: Destruction.
It wouldn’t be far fetched to assert that what happened in Kashmir could have happened again in Muslim dominated areas in other parts of the country if the police weren’t as alert as it was. There was a serious risk of widespread communal violence as well which was averted by the administration.
Cries for Jihad
It is important to remember that organized violence did not occur in a vacuum. It occurred on the backdrop of calls for Jihad that was made and extremely problematic Islamic supremacist rhetoric. The Jamia ‘shero’ made a call for Jihad and it was not too long after that violence erupted across the national capital. Genocidal maniacs were glorified by the same people. Poems that spoke of the destruction of Murthis were chanted and glorified. But there were very specific slogans that reminded one of the Kashmiri Hindu genocide the most.
The ‘Hinduon se Azadi’ slogan that was raised could be construed to have only one meaning. And if the people who raised these slogans were allowed to have their way, we would once again witness what happened in Kashmir in 1990. There is no other way to interpret those words. Then, there was the ‘Jinnah Wali Azadi’ slogan which clearly revealed the intentions of the protesters to partition the country again.
The Intellectual Defense of Islamic Extremism
Intellectuals of a certain bent have continuously acted as the first line of defence for Islamic Terrorism and Extremism. We witnessed the same happen in Kashmir for thirty years. The ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus was portrayed as voluntary migration. Radical Islamic Terrorism was turned into a battle for freedom. And the rape and murder of Kashmiri Hindus and the destruction of hundreds of Temples were brushed under the carpet. Some people like Barkha Dutt even justified the ethnic cleansing.
We witnessed a similar turn of events during the anti-CAA protests. The entire coterie of intellectuals and the mainstream media worked hard at their propaganda to turn a Radical Islamic protest into a “people’s protest” but that propaganda did not work. Faiz’s poem littered with Islamic supremacist overtones was whitewashed. The motivation behind these protests was propagandized to be secular when, clearly, they were motivated by the worst form of Islamic Supremacism.
The Sacred Hindu symbol of Swastika was desecrated and insulted and compared to the Nazi symbol and yet, it’s the Hindus who were accused of bigotry and being ‘illiterate’ when they took offence. A similar stance was adopted when Hindus took offence to the desecration of ‘Om’ during these protests. The Islamic Supremacist sloganeering combined with such anti-Hindu imagery left no doubt about the nature of these protests.
During these protests, the relationship between the Hindu and Muslim communities was damaged greatly and perhaps, irreparably. The first step towards repairing the relationship would have been to acknowledge all the crimes that were committed and apologizing for the same. The anti-Hindu sloganeering, the slogans calling for partitions, all those ought to have been condemned. The next step would have been to help the administration catch the criminals who engaged in violence and such behaviour. These should have been the first steps towards repairing interfaith relationships but the community, egged on by the intellectual mafia, is more interested in playing victim than genuine communal harmony.
The same has happened in Kashmir for thirty years. Even after committing a genocide, Kashmiri Muslims still claim to be victims. And the intellectual mafia continues to pander to their Islamic supremacist inclinations. Not once has there been an honest apology for the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus and not once did the intellectual mafia ask them to apologize and offer reparations for the same. And the same continues to this day.
Secularism: The burden Hindus must suffer alone
Even after suffering a genocide, the burden of upholding secularism falls on the shoulders of Hindus. It’s always Hindus that must adhere to the diktats of Secularism while other communities are free to dance on the corpses of the pillars of secularism they have just murdered. Hindus can be subjected to hate speech, disgusting taunts and even genocide but if they retaliate by exercising their democratic of voting for a political party liberals and Islamic extremists are not fond of, Hindus will be labeled fascists and Nazis.
Kashmiri Muslims have never been asked to adhere to secular values. Even after chanting ‘Hinduon se Azadi’, when Muslims make ‘La ilaha illallah’ (There is no God but Allah) the central slogan of their anti-CAA protests, it’s the Hindus who are accused of bigotry if they find the latter slogan problematic. The genocide of Kashmiri Hindus and the consequent treatment they have been subject to by Kashmiri Muslims following the ethnic cleansing is a testament to the fact that no matter how hard Hindus try, no matter to what extent Hindus appease Islamic Extremism, they will never ever be Secular enough. And it’s a futile endeavour that’s not worth the effort.