PLEA: RESTORE COMMUNAL HARMONY

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Communal Hate In India Fans Insecurities In Kashmir   

  Pakistan Amplifies It To Deepen Anti-India Sentiment

The fresh wave of communal tensions and attacks on minorities in mainland India is disturbing. Reports of organized clashes between the two communities in some parts of the country and the subsequent spillover of such incidents have a cascading impact on Kashmiri mind space. Hate speeches are another major point of concern. Be it by any community, the impact of hate speech is always detrimental upon a nation. Our thoughts form our words. Our words drive our actions. Hate speech hence forms the root of many forms of violence in the society. Those who see it in isolation will do a great disservice to the great nation that is India.

Pakistan Capitalizes On Hate Incidents Reported From India

Pakistan’s propaganda machinery is maximizing every incident of communal hatred in India. Its social media brigade is meticulously using such incidents to breed insecurities among the youth in Kashmir. All incidents of communal hate reported from India are amplified and released in a deluge on the Kashmiri social media to build hate against the mainland. Comments made by youth in the mainland on social media platforms are edited and maximized in order to breed insecurity and hate among the Kashmiri youth. Hate speech by citizens in the mainland is used by Pakistan as ready-made fodder to inflame the Kashmiri youths. As it is, the anti-India social media deluge driven by Pakistan indoctrinates our youth with enough venom. But Pakistan can choose to indulge in foul play and use foul language. It is not driven by democratic values, nor does it have any obligation to conduct itself as a responsible neighbour.

The same cannot be said about the bonafide citizens of India. We all live by an unspoken social contract by which we agree to conduct ourselves with grace and with responsibility as the citizens of the world’s largest democracy. Those who indulge in hate speech or in hate-driven communal actions are demolishing the social contract that binds responsible citizens of a democracy. The Supreme Court and the government must step in to control these flaming fires. Otherwise, innocents on both sides of the religious divide shall be consumed by these flames. It is pointless to claim that why should citizens in the mainland conduct themselves with responsibility and grace if terrorists are targeting and killing minorities in Kashmir. The citizens of a progressive, development-oriented nation cannot be equated with terrorists. The conduct of the terrorists cannot become the benchmark for how the citizenry of free and democratic India must conduct itself.

Growing Mistrust Between Communities Is Damaging India’s Global Image

The growing mistrust between communities that have lived together for centuries with harmony is reflecting badly on the global image of the country. Research and analysis over decades has established that far-right Hindu extremism and Islamic extremism feed off one another. Each helps the other to sustain and flourish. It has also been observed that the growing extremist tendency amidst the majority community in mainland is strengthening the religious extremism in Kashmir. The utterances at the national level against the Muslim minority further strengthen the anti-India narrative in Kashmir. Admittedly, Kashmir has been in the grip of religious extremism for decades. The fundamentalists who drive the narrative of terrorism or Jihad are exclusivist in their outlook.

There is also no denying of the fact that many among the miniscule minority community of Kashmiri Pandits who chose not to leave in 1990 are living under fear as terrorists keep attacking and killing them mercilessly. The fear among the members of minority community in Kashmir is deep now. Pakistan is adding fuel to fire by consistently inciting and indoctrinating Kashmiri youth. Pakistan exploits the utterances against minorities in mainland India to its strategic advantage. The hatred-filled social media platforms in India are amplified by Pakistan to breed fears among the Kashmiri youth and push them to religious extremism.

The religious polarization and the hatred expressed by some members of the majority community against the minorities in the mainland cannot be justified. 

Why Pakistan Cannot Be A Template For India

Pakistan and its ideological extensions in Kashmir don’t follow any rulebook. They are on the perpetual mode of undermining, rather demolishing the principles of humanity. That is precisely why the peace-loving people across the world who believe in human values and coexistence call such extreme action as terrorism. Given this fundamental difference in outlook between the Indian nation and the Pakistani state, the events unfolding in India go against the Indian ethos, culture and of course against the tenets of the Indian democracy. One cannot justify the communal hatred which has engulfed many states in the country.

Pakistan can choose to indulge in foul play and use foul language. It is not driven by democratic values, nor does it have any obligation to conduct itself as a responsible neighbor. The same cannot be said about the Indian citizenry. We all live by an unspoken social contract by which we agree to conduct ourselves with grace and with responsibility as the citizens of the world’s largest democracy. Those who indulge in hatred, or those who are create wedges between the communities are demolishing the social contract that binds responsible citizens of a democracy. Some people justify the provocations by the majority community in India by citing the killing of members of minority community by terrorists in Kashmir. Such talk and sham justifications demean and denigrate Indian culture and ethos. Majoritarianism by one community in one particular region of the country cannot justify majoritarian supremacy in any other region. The conduct of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists cannot become the benchmark for how the citizenry of free and democratic India must conduct itself.

Unfortunately, hostility between communities is deliberately fanned by political leaders. There are deliberate attempts to foster contempt for each other. Hindu fundamentalist groups consistently try to normalize the theory of the “clash of civilizations” by Hindu extremist groups. Strange though it may seem, within a nation bound by its Constitution and also the common interests of the citizenry, there seems to some sort of unwillingness to coexist.

Civil Society Must Rise And Stem The Negativity

The rising animosity between the communities has resulted in the rise of disturbing incidents of Islamophobia and deadly terror attacks. These claim the lives of innocents, and fuel more hate and fear against each other. All such incidents help extremist groups to strengthen their divisive narratives. At times, these degenerate further into terror activities. The competing fundamentalist narratives are potentially dangerous for a country that has earned so much of goodwill and respect in the global community. These machinations admittedly fetch political dividends to politicians on both sides of the religious divide. But the nation has to pay a price for it.

As there is no meaningful and constructive engagement and interaction between the two communities, one often witnesses a vicious circle of rage. Fear among the people of one community feeds fear among the members of another community elsewhere. This ultimately results in a toxic cycle of violence followed by more violence, making it difficult to achieve peace and stability. The powerful Indian civil society must step in to open the channels of communication between the two communities. Leaving politics and politicians aside, the Indian civil society must educate people and remind them of the great Indian ethos and culture reflected in the Constitution and the democratic values of the country.

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