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Bigotry of low expectations: How a Muslim family from Shopian was hailed for displaying common human decency after a Hindu woman died

Great emphasis was also placed on the fact that the Muslims apparently braved heavy rain to help their 'Pandit brethren'. The deceased Kashmiri Pandit woman was apparently a 103-year old Uma Devi.

Certain news of an alleged incident broke out on Friday and odes began to be paid to the mythical construct of ‘Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb’. According to certain individuals on social media, a Muslim family had performed the last rites of a deceased Kashmiri Pandit woman in the Parhochi village of Shopian.

Others claimed that the Muslims had helped keep the spirit of ‘Kashmiriyat’ alive through their actions. However, unlike others, some conceded that the Muslims had not performed the last rites themselves but had only helped with the conductance of the rituals.

Great emphasis was also placed on the fact that the Muslims apparently braved heavy rain to help their ‘Pandit brethren’. The deceased Kashmiri Pandit woman was apparently a 103-year old Uma Devi.

One media portal, ‘Fast Kashmir’, even reported on the matter in glowing terms. However, the details mentioned in the report only help to cement our growing suspicion: It was simply bigotry of low expectations. It was reported that when the news of the Kashmiri Pandit’s demise became evident, Muslims in the neighbourhood came together to help the bereaved family cremate the deceased amidst a torrential outpour.

It is rather bewildering that such a demonstration of common human decency is being credited with ‘Kashmiriyat’. The conduct of the Muslims in the community is indeed quite commendable but it had nothing to do with Kashmiriyat. If anything, their actions reflected a strident refutation of the ideology that is mired in conflict.

It was Kashmiriyat, in fact, that led to the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley in 1989-90 and their subsequent exodus. And three decades later, acts of common decency are being glorified beyond all recognition, with lots of exaggerations, in order to exalt a genocidal concept that continues to stir the plague of terrorism in Kashmir.

It needs to be emphasised here that the actions of the Muslims in Shopian represent common human decency. It is human decency to look out for the well-being of a family in the neighbourhood which has just lost a revered member. It is common human decency to help out people in distress. It is common human decency to offer condolences and console people who have just lost their beloved. There is nothing exceptional or unique about the whole situation, it is what ordinary decent human beings do for their fellow man.

That such an ordinary demonstration of human kindness is being glorified out of proportion and embellished with complete fiction in order to aid in a certain brand of propaganda only goes on to highlight that the primary concern of the concerned individuals who have engaged in such a narrative is to participate in an obscene celebration of perfectly ordinary human kindness.

It is, of course, something that we witness regularly. Whenever some Muslims display common human decency, sections of the community jump in to hail their actions with the explicit intention of whitewashing the toxic radicalism that has such a terrible hold within the community. In the current instance, the said Muslims from Shopian were glorified to wash away the crimes committed against the Kashmiri Pandit community and convey the impression that Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits share very cordial relationships, which is far from the truth.

It is known that Kashmiri Pandits had to suffer a genocide at the hands of the Kashmiri Muslim community. It is known that Kashmiri Pandits cannot return to their homeland to this very day. it is known that ‘Kashmiriyat’ continues to fuel terrorism and separatism in the Valley. And a simple demonstration of common human decency and kindness will not alter reality.

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