Calling all Indians
In the wake of the Mumbai terror nightmare that unfolded last week, Indians were forced to come to terms with, once again, the growing menace of religious and national hatred, as well as that of the failure of its own intelligence service. With news reports accounting plans that involved months of staking out of the locations and building up of arms by terrorists who blended into the cityscape of Mumbai, the incident seems to have gone off right under the nose of authorities and high ranking ministerial departments designed to thwart such efforts.
However even greater than the danger of intelligence failure is that of militant organizations founded on the ideology of hate against people and other faiths that run rampant and go unchecked, if not aided by the very authorities that led to their founding. Since 1989, India has dealt with a proxy war waged by Pakistani-backed Islamist militants who have tried to wrestle away Kashmir, by means of bombings, attacks on military personnel and the selective slaughter of Kashmiri Pandits whose ancestors once lived in a land that many have termed 'paradise on earth.'
From Farooq Kashmiri Khalil's Harakat-ul-Mujahedeen ("Islamic Freedom Fighters' Group") who signed onto Al-Qaeda's all out holy war in 1998, to the Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure"), Jaish-e-Muhammad ("Army of Muhammad") or Ayesha Andrabi's Dukhtaran-e-Millat ("Daughters of the Community"), which threatens all of the Valley's women, regardless of religion, for not wearing body-covering Islamic garb, each organization has made it its sole purpose to single out and exterminate those whom they feel do not conform to their religious or ideological agenda. And its victims are many - but most affected are those 350,000 Kashmiri Pandits who have been forced to flee their ancestral land to live in refugee camps in India - literally refugees in their own country.
Scattered throughout India and around the world, Kashmiri Pandits have been forced to deal with a lifestyle of terror and neglect; a lifestyle that now greater India is facing. With a government that has not prioritized the plight of Kashmiris, one must wonder if the five terrorist attacks on India earlier this year, and the latest attack on Mumbai are results of the gross neglect over Kashmir trickling down to the general populace? Has India's tolerance as a nation reached such a limit that bombings will now be accepted as a daily occurrence and Kashmir duplicated throughout the rest of India?