It seems Kashmiris are at the receiving end of the new found love for nationalism in the plains. If you fail to wear your loyalty towards your nation on your sleeves, you will be tackled and taught a lesson by the ultra-nationalists, in whatsoever way they deem fit. They will not wait for your side of the story, instead will pass judgement on their own. The same thing happened when Kashmiri students were manhandled, beaten, and roughed up in Chandigarh a day before Pakistani cricket team played a match at Mohali. It is purely a matter of personal choice which team you support in a game of cricket. There is no politics involved in it. It is just a game.

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In Mohali, after some Kashmiri students – who had travelled all the way from Srinagar to cheer for their favourite team during ongoing WT20 – were attacked by some miscreants after the match. Even Kashmiri students, who are studying in different colleges and deemed universities of Punjab, were singled out and harassed, in some cases attacked by the locals. Despite Governor N N Vohra’s appeal and assurance things did not cool down for Kashmiri students outside the valley.

Post eruption of militancy in Kashmir a large number of Kashmiri students, traders, businessmen, research scholars, work force migrated to different Indian cities hoping to find a safe and secure future. But the sense of insecurity among Kashmiris, especially after such attacks and harassments, has made a large chunk of them uproot their settled lives and come back. This has further widened the gulf between mainland India and Kashmir.

The coming together of PDP and ultra-nationalist BJP in Kashmir raised hopes that the “healing touch” policy viz-a-viz Kashmiris will be taken to the next level. But that did not happen. Rather, it was completely opposite. Within a few months of PDP-BJP alliance a truck driver from south Kashmir was attacked and killed by Hindu mobs in Udhampur. He was accused of carrying bovines in his truck, which later turned out to be hoax.

In Omar led NC-Congress collation government a number of appeals were made, directed at none in particular, to ensure that Kashmiris are not harassed in Indian cities while looking for accommodation. But it fell on deaf ears. His (Omar’s) rule saw more than sixty Kashmiri students getting expelled from Meerut University for celebrating Pakistani cricket team’s win over India. They were not just expelled but slapped with sedition charges!

Instigated by the media’s black-out of any such news which has a Kashmiri on the receiving end, last week non-local students at Srinagar’s NIT beat up locals inside the campus. They (non-locals) even went on rampage damaging college furniture and manhandled teachers. Let’s hope that this incident is handled maturely before it turns into a major controversy.

In such an insecure atmosphere efforts like Bharat Darshan, Desh Ki Yatra become meaningless exercises.


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