By Malika Pandey
Following the Pulwama attack, the enmity towards the Kashmiri students has made me interrogate the rule of law because of the threat of lumpenization of public sphere. The Pulwama attack has galvanized the natives of Uttarakhand who threatened the Kashmiri students to immediately leave the state after the insensitive comments made by a few students following the terror attacks. The natives feel affinity to the Indian army as a large number of their kith and kin serve the country. The condition got complicated further when four sons of the Himalayan state got martyred and saw some Kashmiri students celebrating these deaths.
I was enormously troubled when the news of this palpable and pervasive anger amongst people and their oppression towards Kashmiris reached me. Throughout the world we see people either fighting for power and fame. Then there are those who fight for justice and decency. Although I highly condemn the Pulwama attack where more than 40 of our CRPF jawans were martyred, our fight should be against militancy and not against the people.
There were a lot of Kashmiri students who conspicuously refrained from saying anything about the terror attacks. Despite this they were berated by people. The students who have come from these fringe places to the cities in search of better education and opportunities have the fundamental right to live. It is our political and moral responsibility to be empathetic towards them and not take law in our hands. Two colleges of Dehradun city – Alpine College of Management and Baba Farid institute of Technology – have decided not to admit any of them in upcoming academic sessions. This hostility should be replaced by an insight about soliciting people’s support towards peace and not war-like situations. Telling the students to leave their premises by the landlords and allegedly beating unarmed students in Dehradun have signaled the scale and intensity of depredations being faced by them. Yet there are people from the city and Khalsa Aid Foundation who have come to the rescue of the students. We need to understand that all lives are important – from those of our army men to Kashmiris. We need to show solidarity for both.
As someone from Uttarakhand, which has always been famous for its immeasurable generosity, I would like to say that we all need to continue to live up to our ideals. In times of crisis, we ought not to forsake our fellow beings. We need to understand the actual faultiness which have been blurred and how situations have turned out to be a battleground for power politics. We need to refocus our attention towards building appropriate spaces and empathetic attitude towards one another. The trust deficit can only be bridged when we remake alliances and look towards all possibilities and perils, so as not to make any community alienated because in the end it is the humanity which is all we have. This mutuality between groups is more important than ever before.
Malika Pandey is doing Bachelors in Political Science at the University of Delhi.
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