It is welcome that last Saturday, the central government issued an advisory to the states, in the wake of reports of attacks on Kashmiris, particularly students, in different parts of the country. Most of the attacks have been carried out by right-wing groups. Their political leadership should also send out a strict advisory, asking such outfits to stop acting out the script written for them by the Pakistan-based terrorists and their political backers. Make no mistake, the real target of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other such groups is India’s political cohesion; the victims of their attacks, whether security personnel or civilians, are only means to that end. Those who seek to vent their anger at the terror strike by forming hostile groups that attack other groups, such as Kashmiris, serve the cause of the terrorists and harm that of India.
India must always act true to its civilisational genius for accepting and celebrating, rather than merely tolerating, diversity. It is this tradition that found articulation in India’s Constitution as a concept of citizenship that is not based on religion or ethnicity. And it is precisely this constitutional value that most irks Pakistan, which was founded on the basis of religion but soon split into two as religious identity proved insufficient to contain the conflict over attempted linguistic/ethnic domination of East Pakistan by West Pakistan. The notion that Hindus and Muslims can live together in a single state is anathema to the two-nation theory, the founding ideology of Pakistan. India’s success as a nation, an economic powerhouse and a global power delegitimises the idea of Pakistan, and it is that nation’s perpetual goal to prove that India’s cohesion is artificial, brittle and can be broken.
Those who foist schism on India’s multiple identities of language, region, religion and ethnicity are allies of the two-nation theory. India must find and punish those who attack its citizens and soldiers. Those who attack other Indians attack India itself and are guilty of treason, however much they might wrap themselves in the national flag.
This piece appeared as an editorial opinion in the print edition of The Economic Times.
via Time for unity, stop sectarian attacks