Former J&K Chief Ministers and political rivals Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah came together on Monday to issue a joint appeal to the Centre to ensure the “safety and security of Kashmiris everywhere”. Expressing dismay over the attacks on Kashmiris, following the Pulwama terror strike, they said: “Intimidating Kashmiris is aimed at creating a wedge between different communities in India.
We should not allow the terror to divide us. By using such incidents to divide us, we fall into the trap of those behind the attack on CRPF soldiers; we are wittingly or unwittingly playing to the tunes of our enemies.”
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PDP president Mufti and NC vice-president Abdullah said that by “attacking, terrorising, intimidating Kashmiris, the youngsters of Kashmir are implicitly being told that they have no future outside of the Valley”.
They asserted that attacking innocent people because of their ethnicity or religion does not honour the sacrifice of the CRPF men. “Kashmiri Muslims or the Muslims of Jammu didn’t attack our CRPF jawans the other day, terrorists did. This violence is a convenient tool used by some to shift the blame. Let us unite against terror, let’s not allow terror to divide us,” they said.
They said it was tragic to see educated and civilised people “spearheading vicious propaganda to paint Kashmiris and terrorists with the same brush”. “The thought behind such attacks is to divide us. Our pain must not fuel such diabolical plans because eventually the axe forgets and the tree remembers,” they said.
Expressing dismay over the “continuous rhetoric being used against Kashmiris”, they said: “No mainstream political party will condone terrorism. The ferocity of the rhetoric by certain media channels is also dangerous. They churn lies, hatred and divisive agenda by berating the national interests.”
While expressing concern over the reports of violence and arson in Jammu, they urged the political dispensation and civil society of Jammu to ensure that cooler heads prevail. They appealed to the Centre to ensure that directions are issued to all state governments to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiris.
“It doesn’t augur well for a democratic country like India to hound its own people in its response to the heinous attack on our forces…” they said.