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Attacking India's integrity

Attacking Indias integrity
If Monday's terrorist attack on Hindu pilgrims is any indication, fanaticism in India, particularly in Kashmir has become heartless. The Islamic terrorist groups, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba – who are suspected to be the motivators behind the attack, perhaps do not realise that there is no end to bloodbath and they will soon hear the reverberation of gunshots in their own domain, as this was an attack on integrity and sovereignty of India as a whole. The terrorists killed seven yatris (pilgrims), including six women and injured another 19 on the first Monday of Shravana, one of the holiest months in the Hindu calendar, while they were on the Amarnath Yatra - an annual holy ritual for devout Hindus to a mountainous cave revered as the abode of Lord Shiva.

Do these Islamic terrorist groups want to use the Kashmir issue as a religious movement to establish Islamic rule? How do they seek to define themselves? Who are their heroes? Armed, jihadist terrorists who target innocent civilians? Is this how they would like to be represented? Since the groups like the Lashkar- whose chief Hafiz Saeed, enjoys complete impunity in Pakistan, even though a $10 million prize has been announced on his head by the United States in 2012- are now completely in charge, the answer is a big 'Yes' in any case! One must not forget that the holy pilgrimage of Amarnath Yatra is not only related to the faith of the Hindu community, rather it plays a pivotal role in survival of the local economy of hotels, porters and foal operators as well. Kashmir, from time immemorial, is linked with its Shaivaite traditions and syncretic roots. But in an atmosphere of growing trauma, it appears that the merchants of Islamic fanaticism have ruined the valley of Shalimar and Nishat. They are charged to provoke communal riots in India by driving a wedge between Hindus and Muslims.
In the last several decades, when devotees have come on an annual pilgrimage from across the country, the yatra has been attacked by terrorists five times. On August 1, 2000, the LeT terrorists attacked the Amarnath pilgrims, killing 30 devotees in Pahalgam, the base camp for Amarnath yatris. Again on July 20, 2001, 12 yatris were killed, including three women pilgrims and two police officers, when LeT terrorists hurled two grenades at a camp where pilgrims were resting. In other incidents, two pilgrims were killed and three wounded when grenades were hurled at a taxi in Srinagar, which was on its way to the Amarnath cave shrine base camp on July 30, 2002; three LeT militants entered the Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp early morning on the August 6 and opened fire, killing nine people and injuring 27, including pilgrims and security personnel. The same year saw two attacks on Jammu's Raghunath temple as well, which claimed 18 lives. Similarly, on June 21, 2006, 10 pilgrims were injured, though no one was reported to be killed when militants hurled grenades at their bus in Srinagar.
Condemning this terror attack on Amarnath yatris, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he is pained beyond words by the incident and asserted that the country will not be bogged down by such dastardly attacks. He has spoken to Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and the state Governor regarding the issue. Corroborating similar views, the Congress chief also termed the attack on Amarnath pilgrims as 'a crime against humanity', and called for decisive action against its perpetrators. "The attack on the devotees of Lord Shiva is a crime against humanity. The entire nation is in shock," she said. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called on security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police to act swiftly to nab the perpetrators so that a stern message can be sent out to anti-social elements that attack humanity, and punitive action can be taken against them on their crime against the law. As the leaders of almost all the political parties have condemned this terror attack, they must come together to tackle this demon of religious fanaticism. And, that too – without mud-slinging at each other!
The time has come for the law-makers of India to realise that the motive behind these attacks was to foment trouble in the Valley, in order to create a bigger communal flare up in the rest of the country. This attack echoes as a harbinger to larger crises.
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