Bond of Faith

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The ripples of Gool massacre were felt across the Pir Panjal as Kashmir valley erupted in protests bringing closer the historically estranged people. Shah Abbas reports the renewed bonding that has emerged out of the tragedy.

Gool-KashmirThe killing of four innocent civilians in Gool has added another tragic chapter in the bloody history of conflict ridden Jammu and Kashmir.

But it has at the same time helped Kashmir and Jammu regions come closer and feel the pain of one another.

At least 80 Kashmiris were injured and the 150 got arrested after a protest spree spread in every nook and corner of the valley against the BSF firing incident in Gool area of district Ramban.

Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani had even called July 26, as a “solidarity day” with the Muslims living in Jammu region.

But the unionists played a bit “communal”. Though Gool is part of Jammu region, yet the ruling National Conference (NC) leadership from Jammu province did not bother to visit the area on the Chaharum of the deceased civilians.

“Davinder Singh Rana should have come to Gool, as he is the NC provincial president of Jammu, but the people who are at the helm of affairs from Jammu do not consider us as their part for obvious reasons,” Abdullah Kasana, an aged habitant from Gool told Kashmir Life.

Kasana, however, did not explain the “obvious reasons” saying “we belong to a particular community so the Jummites, take serious note of our every word and action.”

Sources told Kashmir Life that when the leadership belonging to Jammu province failed to reach Gool, the chief minister and NC, working president, Omar Abdullah instructed minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Ali Mohammad Sagar and minister for CAPD and Transport Chowdhry Mohammad Ramzan to attend the Chaharum and Fateh Khawani of the civilians who were killed in police and BSF firing in Gool, Ramban.

Kasana is of the opinion that the majority of the Gool Gullab Garah, inhabitants wants to be affiliated with the valley and the Jammu people are well aware of this fact so they keep distance with the Chenab Valley people.

“The people living in Udhampur, Kuthua and parts of Jammu district are well aware that the inhabitants of Chenab Valley feel themselves more comfortable with Kashmir Valley so they maintain a distance with us,” Kasana said.

Law maker Er Rashid is also of the same opinion. “The Gool incident and the reaction thereafter from the people of Jammu division proves that Hindu communal forces dominate just two and a half districts of Jammu,” he said.

Gool is part of Ramban district which is administratively part of Jammu. Interestingly, however, Jammu was missing in crisis management. The response to the killings had communal colours.

From Kupwara to Kargil, wherever Muslims lived, they were on protest while non-Muslim belts behaved normally. Despite being part of Jammu within the parties, only Kashmiri politicians were seen in Gool, so far. This can upset many equations in the region, residents believe.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly condemned the Gool firing incident and immediately took up the issue with the Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde claiming excessive use of force against unarmed protestors was totally ‘unacceptable’. He also issued the 54th enquiry order of his government since 2009.

But to Awammi Ittihaad Party (AIP), president and MLA, Langate, Er Rashid, “First fake encounters, then fake enquiries and finally fake condolences and condemnations has been the trade mark of Omar Abdullah regime”.

Four people were killed and 44 others, including security personnel, injured when BSF opened firing on people in Gool Ramban, protesting against the desecration of Quran July 18.

Taking suo motu cognizance, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Union Home Secretary and the Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir to file the report within four weeks.

The reports of incident, if true, is a “serious case of human rights violation”, the right’s body observed.

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