Opinion: What Kishtwar violence in Jammu and Kashmir indicates

Curfew has been employed in Kishtwar and the government has kept up its firm blackout on all news emanating from Kishtwar town. State home minister Sajjad Kichloo has resigned taking responsibility for the riots. People are continuously defying curfew and clashes are taking place. Both communities- Hindu and Muslims are involved, Muslims are enraged because their id prayers and procession were allegedly disrupted by a couple of Hindu youths, and Hindus are angry because most of the shops burnt are theirs. People say that more than a hundred shops have been burnt, however, according to police, 48 shops were burnt, three of which belong to Muslims.

Any violent activity in the valley increases the concern of national integrity and much when it happens immediately after the intrusion of the Pakistani army in our territory. Center might be denying the involvement of external agents in initiating the riots but, the killing of five jawans at chakna-da-bagh and the continuous violation of the ceasefire from the Pakistani army shows that the role of external agents in Keshtwar violence could not be neglected. Jihadi forces which were indulged in fighting western forces in Afghanistan are now free, it might be the possibility that these jihadist forces are now active in this region. Reports show that sectarian politics fuelled riots, but I assume, it might be fuelling, but not the only cause of riots.

Communal clashes are easy to initiate when there are differences in the society like in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and especially in Jammu and Kashmir because of the history associated with it. Differences in societies should be handled with care and equity. They should not be used in vote bank politics, because when communal difference is exploited in politics to increase the share of the vote, clashes are bound to happen. With the approaching Lok Sabha elections, these clashes might be the result of politics of polarization played by political parties.

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