Communal clashes spoil secular ethos in J&K
Abhishek Behl, www.merinews.com
WHILE THE Indian victory in the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa sparked wild celebrations throughout India, in Jammu and Kashmir it has lead to frayed tempers amongst the Hindus and Muslims in the state.
Despite the fact that both communities have been living peacefully, Jammu region has witnessed clashes in the aftermath of T20 World Cup. The specter of communalism has raised the hackles of both the establishment as well as the people as no one wants to get caught in a battle waged in the name of religion.
Communal eruptions are becoming a routine affair in Jammu region and this was proved yesterday (28 September), when sporadic communal clashes broke out once again.
Coming in the aftermath of 24 September flare up, when heavy stone pelting was witnessed between members of two communities at Radio Station, Poonch, this incident has aggravated fears of future communal violence.
Not only in Poonch, but different cities in the province including Rajouri, Reasi and even Jammu witnessed clashes between the two communities after the Indian World Cup victory.
In Poonch, the tension erupted, when some miscreants threw a stone inside the Jamiya mosque injuring a worshipper, offering Friday prayers.
Soon after the prayers were over, angry group of protestors marched through the bazaar raising religious and anti-administration slogans.
At the Parade Ground, the protestors turned violent, when Deputy Commissioner J S Pachnanda and senior officials reached the spot to listen to their demands.
However, efforts by Additional SP, Poonch, Tahir Bhatt and other officials to pacify the mob came to a naught as angry protestors refused to budge from the ground.
To prevent the situation from turning ugly, the police fired in air and in the melee some officials, including a tehsildar and police sub-inspector was injured.
Later in the evening, members of minority community marched to the police station demanding action against the protestors. It was only after senior citizens from both sides were brought to the table that tension was diffused and the situation returned to normal.
Though truce has been called in Poonch, but chances of communal flare up are high, sources said, adding that some anti-national elements were hell bent upon vitiating the atmosphere.
Talking to merinews, Aijaz Qazmi, a journalist said that efforts are being made to polarize the two communities in the district Poonch. “We have a history of secularism and Poonch has seen no clashes between the people on the basis of religion”, he added.
What these incidents suggest, said Surendra Sharma, Poonch resident is the fact that both communities have pent up anger against each other and this is likely to burst, if effective measures are not taken.
The police and administration should immediately take action against mischief mongers and miscreant, he said, adding a warning “once the relations are spoilt they cant be mended”.
Here it must be stated that communal clashes in the region were also witnessed in district Rajauri, when members of two communities clashed after celebrations broke out over the Indian victory in world cup finals.
About 30 persons were injured when members of the two communities clashed with each other. Police had to fire in air, lob tear gas shells and cane-charge the miscreants from two sides to bring the situation under control, on 24 September.
On the same day, similar scenes were witnessed in Reasi and Jammu city, where various student organizations blocked the main city roads to protest against the beating of some students in the government polytechnic in Jammu.
Though the situation was brought under control in Poonch, said Ranjit Kalra, a lecturer on international affairs at Jammu University, but it seemed that some anti-national elements were bent on creating trouble.
“There is a miniscule population which is wedded to anti-India ideology but majority of the people in the state, both Muslims and Hindus are nationalistic”, he said, adding that Jammu and Kashmir has a history of communal harmony and brotherhood, which has withstood the test of time.
Tags: India , Jammu Kashmir , Hindus , Muslims
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