Friday, August 29, 2008

A Kashmiri Hindu journalist's views on Kashmir: Hatred towards Muslims!

Well-known cricket writer & journalist Pradeep Magazine has written a piece on Kashmir. It's an interesting article which begins with the writer's admission that as a Hindu and a Kashmiri he is supposed to write about the 'agony of exile' but that's not exactly the case.

Magazine left the Valley much before militancy and recalls his early impression about Kashmiri society. " I am afraid I will have to agree with my people on the ‘other side of the divide’ when it comes to believing that the Army/police, and even the top echelons of the administration, are unsympathetic — even insensitive — towards them."

"I say this on the basis of my own experience of the Valley when I went there a couple of years ago after a gap of almost 25 years", he goes on to say. In my memory, Muslims were everywhere — except in the kitchen, where they were not allowed by orthodox Hindus. They were the providers — the milkman, the sabziwala, the meat-seller — they were all Muslims, but were not to be treated as social equals.

About his visit in later years Magazine writes about the general feeling of hatred towards the locals-- One could see the hatred on the faces of the armed CRPF men towards the locals. It was only when they saw a bindi on my wife’s forehead did the armed men relax and ask us what we were doing among these “bhe…” (abuse of sister-fu*&#r).

"On one of the evenings that I spent at the fortified Gupkar Road, I had my fill of Scotch with some senior administrators. None of them was Muslim. In their utterances, it was clear that they, too, had a clear anti-Muslim bias that bordered on hatred. I savoured the delicious Wazwan, prepared for the senior members of the bureaucracy by their Muslim cooks. Unless they were deaf, the cooks must have heard all that was said in the room."

Read the article 'Home and Away' at the website of HindustanTimes.com

Such accounts reveal a lot about the way we have handled the state. The bureaucracy and the army has to be sensitised more. In wake of the current controversy it is more important. After all, nobody can dispute the fact that CRPF and militry do fire readily at Kashmiris (read Muslims) than on protestors in Jammu over the issue of Amarnath Yatra.

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