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ARMED RALLIES IN JAMMU

Armed rallies held on the occasion of birth anniversary of former autocratic ruler Hari Singh in Indian occupied Kashmir’s Jammu province recently have instilled a sense of insecurity and restlessness amongst the minority communities particularly the Muslims who have unfortunately been worst victims of violence, bloodshed and mayhem at the hands of Hindu extremists.

Taking an exception to the rising tide of chauvinism, which is gaining momentum in the region, Jammu Muslim Front (JMF), an association fighting for the rights of Muslims in the region, had expressed grave concern over growing sense of insecurity among the minorities saying that the Government should investigation as to why these armed rallies were allowed. The Front leaders said that youth carrying swords and guns during motor car rally has put a question mark on the administration as well as on the police force whether they can handle them in case they would have went violent. “Such rallies have become a symbol of threat to other communities. In democratic system, the administration should be run under the law not with the swords or guns,” the JMF statement said adding that this is not the first time they have witnessed such a rally. It has become order of the day.

“Jammu Muslims have seen worst kind of massacre in world history and same situation should be prevented by the Government with its serious efforts. We suspect intentions of such armed rallies. We don’t trust administration or police. We don’t want them to repeat the history in Jammu. For Muslims, it was an unforgettable thing as many lost their dear ones during the worst killings in human history. Muslims in Jammu are worried,” they concluded with a hope from the Government to see if they can check such activities in future.

The Muslim community of the Jammu that has always bore the brunt of extremism are justified in raising their concerns over such kind of dangerous communal activities and armed rallies carried out by fascist organisations under the garb of “self-defiance”. These rallies as a matter of fact strengthen the widespread belief that RSS and other groups, thriving under the nose of BJP government, are nurturing extremism in Jammu just to harass and terrorise minorities.

Such kind of incidents can not and should not be taken in isolation; the pro-vocative programmes organized by Hindu extremist groups have been taking place, frequently, in the region over the past several years. For instance similar kind of event was conducted by the RSS activists in which participants of the procession carried firearms and swords in R S Pura town adjacent to Jammu border. Even Rashtra Sevika Samiti, an Indian Hindu nationalist organisation parallel to men’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), organised a fortnight-long ‘self-defiance’ camp for women from the various states in which the candidates were, among other things, trained in use of weapons including rifles. Later on women activist of Rashtra Sevika Samiti (RSS) were seen performing stunts during the concluding ceremony of a 15-day programme in Jammu. So the sequences of events taking place frequently in the region suggest that whatever is happening in the region is somewhat a dim preview of bad things likely to hit the region again.

It may be recalled here that the Muslim community of the region that has been living there for last so many centuries not only witnessed the brutal and deadliest violence but was also reduced to mere minority as a result of massacres/forced migration. Renowned journalist Ved Bhasin, popularly called as the ‘Grand Old Man’ of English journalism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, had exclusively reported the large-scale killing of Muslims particularly in Udhampur, Chenani, Ramnagar, Bhaderwah and Reasi areas. According to Bhasin, the RSS played a key role in these killings, aided by armed Sikh refugees who even paraded the Jammu streets with their naked swords.

According to a report published in The Times, London on 10 August 1948 “2,37,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated – unless they escaped to Pakistan along the border – by the forces of the Dogra State headed by the Maharaja in person and aided by Hindus and Sikhs. Some reports suggest that the week long massacres staged in length and breadth of the region resulted in the widespread killing of over a half million Muslims, however, Horace Alexander’s article on 16 January 1948 in The Spectator put the number killed at 200,000.

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