Chai Khana: The Public Square

Murder of Makhan Lal Bindroo: Blot on Kashmiriyat

Brutal killing of 3 innocent civilians including a Kashmiri Pundit, Kashmiri Muslim and a Dalit Hindu Bihari migrant laborer by Pakistan backed militants has not only broken the long spell of violence free atmosphere in Kashmir valley that has remained mostly peaceful and violence free since the abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution of India in 2019, but the brutal killings have once again brought shame to Kashmir’s secular and syncretic culture of Kashmiriyat.

The Killing of Makhan Lal Bindroo in particular has shamed Kashmir’s entire majority Muslim community as we have yet again failed to protect our brothers and sisters from our minority Hindu community, which in any case is already reduced to tiny tribe as nearly 97% of Kashmiri Pundits were forced to flee Kashmir valley in 1990 after the onset of militancy in Kashmir valley.

What is really tragic is the fact that Makhan Lal Bindroo, who was an owner of a very famous and prominent pharmacy shop established in 1947 had never left Kashmir valley even during dark days of 1990 forced exodus and had endured all pain and suffering together with his Kashmiri Muslim brothers and sisters. He continued to serve Kashmiri Muslim community, especially Kashmiri Muslim patients, who would approach to him from far off places in Kashmir valley for medicines.

So why was Mr. Makhan Lal Bindroo murdered? Just because he was a non-Muslim? a Kashmiri Pundit? a Hindu? We must also remember that yet another poor Hindu Dalit non-resident migrant laborer Virender Paswan from Bihar’s Bhagalpur district was also killed on the same day.

These killings unfortunately once again bring forth to the surface the communal and anti Hindu character of Kashmir’s militancy, which is supported by Pakistan. While most members of Kashmiri Muslim community swear by the secular and purely political nature of Kashmir’s aspiration movement, the fact remains that Kashmir’s separatist militant movement is inherently Islamist in ideology and is staunchly anti Hindu. Despite what most Kashmiri Muslims living inside Kashmir valley may think about their aspirational ideology, outside world always points that Kashmir’s aspirational movement is not only violent, Islamist and jihadist but is vehemently against non-Muslims, especially Hindu community.

The forced exodus of Kashmiri Hindu Pundit community in 1990, which was solely driven by the fact that Kashmiri Pundits as minority Hindu community were seen as hurdle in Kashmir’s aspirational movement and therefore were forced through violence, intimidation and rape to flee Kashmir valley enmass. No one outside Kashmir valley in all major international forums is convinced of the so called ‘Jagmohan Conspiracy Theory”.

So, why does majority Kashmiri Muslim community keep denying the anti- Hindu character of Kashmir’s aspiration movement?

It is very clear that Kashmir’s aspirational movement was never secular. It always had Islamic character as the ultimate goal is to basically create a Muslim theological state. The definition of “Nizam-e-Mustafa” may vary, but it is nevertheless a Muslim theocratic state that is pretty much the motivation of Kashmir’s aspirational movement. Since India is a Hindu majority nation, Hindu community is the unnamed oppressor. Kashmiri Hindu Pundit community unfortunately bore the worst brunt of this staunchly communal character of Kashmir’s aspirational movement, where there is not much space for non-Muslim minorities.

This anti-Hindu and anti-non-Muslim character of Kashmir’s aspirational movement has always forced Kashmir’s separatist ideologues to answer as to why aren’t Kashmir’s Hindu minority with Kashmir’s aspirational movement, if it were really that secular.

Kashmiri Sikhs, who are now the largest religious minority of Kashmir valley are also not happy with the rising tide of religious radicalism in all parts of Kashmir valley that has negatively impacted Kashmir’s Sikh minority as well. Kashmiri Sikhs complain of religious harassment and compulsion to convert to Islam.

Kashmir has a major problem of Islamic religious radicalism, which the Kashmir’s majority community refuses to acknowledge, even as it seeks global sympathy for its aspirations. The world will always ask uncomfortable questions that Kashmiri Muslim majority community does not want to confront.

Kashmir’s Muslim community’s conduct during forced exodus of Kashmiri Pundit community in 1990 will always haunt Kashmir’s Muslim community’s quest for political aspiration. The much discredited “Jagmohan Conspiracy Theory” had no takers in last three decades at international level including OIC and therefore Kashmiri Muslim community cannot take moral high ground by simply absolving themselves of any wrong doing and trying to paint Kashmir’s overtly religion driven aspiration movement as secular and inclusive one.

Kashmir and its people have long suffered for the lies and deceit and wrongful propaganda that has not only discredited Kashmiri community at international level but also portrayed Kashmiri Muslims as intolerant, radical, violent and terror promoting Muslim community like Taliban. Even after three decades, we have achieved nothing and except for few internationally rogue nations, most of global community including almost all Muslim nations don’t support political aspirations of Kashmir’s Muslim majority, even though they do express concern at human right violations of Kashmiri Muslim community in general.

It is very important for Kashmiri Muslim community to confront the ghost of religious radicalism and anti Hindu character of its aspirational movement, which cannot be supported by any civilized nation in today’s world. Any society that mistreats its religious minority cannot win sympathetic support of the global community. Kashmir’s Muslim community have to acknowledge that its aspirational movement has been violative of the rights of Kashmir’s religious minority, which is also a sin as per Islamic jurisprudence, which guides Muslims to protect their religious minorities.

Unfortunately, such is the scale of religious radicalism, which inspires Kashmir’s political aspiration movement that most Kashmiri Muslims don’t feel introspective of what has happened to Kashmir’s Hindu minority. There is not only a sense of denial but also collective approval of what has happened to Kashmiri Hindu Pundits. Therefore, under such circumstances, it is too much to expect from Kashmir’s majority community that they would truly reflect upon the senseless and brutal killing of shri Makhan Lal Bindroo, who was a Kashmiri Pundit at the end of the day.

The author is a Senior Political Leader & General Secretary of People’s Democratic Front.



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