New Delhi: Ahead of the Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir, several attempts are being made to polarise the electorate. On November 11, on such attempt to polarise Jammuities was put to display, when a group of Hindu Right Wing leaders including Madhu Kishwar, Sushil Pandit, and Ajay Chrungoo, came together at a seminar namely, “The Save Jammu Crusade”/ “Ikk Jutt Jammu Maha Adhiveshan,” organised by a famous right wing social media group named Shanknaad.
Political commentators believe that the right wing forces are trying their level best to polarise Jammu to affect the upcoming election and to develop a strong foothold in the region.
The seminar talked about “the dangers posed to the people of Jammu from the growth of Muslim colonies in and around Jammu, and how it is a concerted effort to change its demography.”
As per the reports, Advocate Anukar Sharma, who had spearheaded the campaign favouring the accused in the Kathua case, appealed for unity among Hindus to fight an alleged “Islmaic Invasion” in Jammu. The famous right wing activist and writer, Madhu Kishwar also appealed to the people saying, “There is need to take emergency steps in Jammu, otherwise Kashmir’s situation will be repeated in Jammu.”
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She also reiterated her point by saying, “Kashmiri Pandits are examples of how Hindus were pushed out of Kashmir. They (Muslims) have declared demographic war on Jammu. You see, how Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and Bangladeshis have settled in Jammu, while in other states they are not allowed to live in. Forests are being encroached as they have been given a free hand.” Further underlining her argument on how Muslims are growing in Jammu, she alleged, “Jammu had only three Muslim Mohallas and three Masjids, but now several Muslim colonies have come up across Jammu. This is an effort to establish Muslim colonies around Jammu, and enclaves have been established in a planned manner.”
The speakers at the seminar showed their unflinching solidarity to the people of Jammu and warned them against the “subversive” Muslims. Activist and a Kashmiri Pandit, Sushil Pandit, asked people to stay vigilant against the “demographic assault that has now been unleashed upon Jammu.”
Experts say that this is an attempt by the right wing forces to replicate the BJP-Modi model in Jammu and mobilise people. The seminar has also elicited multiple reactions on the ground. Many people accepted that in the last four years, polarisation has amplified.
Reaction on the ground
Newsclick reached out to the people and questioned them on the claims made by the Hindu right wing. Their response portrayed that the people are becoming aware of the machinations of the right wing forces.
Talking to Newsclick, about the propaganda spreading methods of the Hindu Right wing forces, a local named K D Singh said, “Jammu division is very much polarised right now. When advocates and writers talk on communal lines, its normal for people to fall into the trap. For instance, if a lawyer, Ankur Sharma, will talk of such things, people tend to believe that there is something really wrong and they need to protect themselves from that. They become cautious which results in hatred. And this is exactly what they want. Panchayat elections are nearby and such seminars are part of the broader agenda by the right wing party.”
It should be noted that the seminar didn’t saw a huge audience coming in, as claimed by the speakers. As per the organisers, it was claimed that thousands of people had joined the seminar but the pictures available clearly show that not more than 100 people had gathered.
A Kashmiri Pandit and activist, R.K. Bhat told Newsclick, “People like Sushil Pandit, Anupam Kher, Ashok Pandit and the ilks can never represent Kashmiri Pandits. They have their own agenda following which they come out with such statements, or else why would anyone create differences when they want to go back and settle down in Kashmir. They have always misrepresented us and they were never there for us when we needed them. At that time, they were making money and now, when they are at their retirement age, they are coming out with such statements to create a sense of animosity. They have their own agendas and we don’t promote that.”
However, there is no data available to ascertain the alleged growing population of Muslims as claimed by the right wingers. Experts have called it a “pack of lies” just like various other lies propagated by the RSS to affect the electoral process.