Amidst the effort to radicalize the state of Jammu and Kashmir another vilification, and divisive campaign seems to have been launched to polarize the Muslims, and Hindus particularly in Jammu. Civil society in Kashmir, and the mainstream opinion makers based in Valley are being used as a tool to harp on the differences between the two communities, and also on the backward status of Muslims of Jammu who are a large minority in this province.
Paper after paper in Kashmir, and studies of dubious distinction are harping on how the minority muslims in this region have been failed by the government, and local politicians, and this has been happening since the partition. There are also instances of new definitions of Pir Panjal region, and Chenab valley are coming up which never existed in the past but the current PDP government in collaboration with BJP have authorized these formations. While the BJP right now is enjoying both power, and some allege pelf as well has become a willing collaborator in the devolution of the integrity of the Jammu region which in the long run could prove a disaster for the entire populace including both Muslims, and Hindus. The sinister campaign in the name of development is being played at the behest of powers which are inimical to the unity and integrity of the nation.
The lack of development in Jammu province is universal and it is not because of communal-ism but due to failure of the administration, and bad planning of the state government. Also the successive state governments in J&K have only seen Muslim rulers, and ministers, and the reality is that it is the Kashmiri leaders of the same religion who have discriminated against their brethren in Jammu region. In fact it is only the ethnic Kashmiris who have benefited post-partition in the state whereas rest of the population has been left seething only in anger.
Hindus and Muslims in Jammu share same culture, customs, traditions, and heritage, and there is little to distinguish between the two communities. There are increasing instances of how the blood-shed during partition which happened across the country is being used to incite the communal differences, and put the entire blame on Hindus, and this would indeed create massive differences in the population. What is sad, and very dangerous is that there is no counter-voice, and no statement has come to oppose this discourse. Neither the civil society nor the intellectuals have opposed this narrative which could prove extremely dangerous in the years to come as the state is already grappling with fears of radicalization.
Dogras of Jammu have been very accommodating of migrants from across the state, and majority of them are Muslims from valley. If there was any feeling against them this movement could never have happened but despite the contribution of people towards supporting the Indian nation, the Kashmiri pundits, and others who came to Jammu both the centre and state have failed to appreciate this community, and instead it is being vilified.
It is time that a counter-point emerges to check the propaganda of these preachers of hate or else the secular character of the Jammu’s social fabric would be destroyed forever.