Valley Pandits Speak Out: "You Do Not Become a Nationalist By Waving the Tricolour"
NEW DELHI: “You do not become a nationalist just by picking up the national flag and waving it. They are insulting our tricolour“ said the irate and visibly worried President of the Kashmiri Pandit Sangarash Samiti (KPSS) Sanjay Tikku in an interview with The Citizen from Srinagar.
KPSS has issued a strongly worded statement (see below) stating, “chanting some slogans and hoisting of flags cannot be parameters to tag a person as Nationalist or Anti-Nationalist. A person, irrespective of colour, caste, creed or religion, who have contributed to achieve normalcy in this part of the world is a true Nationalist irrespective of the fact whether he hoists a flag or not, or chants a slogan or not.”
Tikku said that this kind of reaction from non-locals who have the support of certain political parties, vitiates the environment and strengthens extremism. “Does New Delhi want to create 1990 all over again?” he asked. Tikku is amongst the Kashmiri Pandits who braved the years of insurgency, refused to fall prey to politics and stay back in the Valley. His old mother, who is still alive, refused to leave her home and as Tikku says, “we have had problems, we have faced these, and now who are these people to come waving flags and making life difficult for everyone here.”
Tikku said that the atmosphere that was being created in the country after JNU, and now NIT, was not conducive the secularism and peace. “I am a proud Indian, I belong to India,I will not leave India but I do not know what all this is about,” he said. Usually soft spoken, and quiet it was surprising to hear him agitated, with anger lacing his words.”Kejriwal started this flag waving, and shouting Bharat Mata ki Jai, and Vande Mataram. The BJP is now shouting these slogans, and using the tricolour to create divisions,” he said.
“Here in Kashmir some sections raise the Pakistan flag, does that mean that every Kashmiri is a Pakistani?” Tikku said pointing out that he was tired of all these displays of extremism. As he pointed out there is the large majority in between, but it is getting squeezed between this polarisation, and is feeling increasingly insecure. “Of course all this makes very insecure” he said. “We are the ones on the ground, we are here facing all the issues on a day to day basis.” He added, “this is madness, these are mad people destroying the very concept of nationalism and secularism of India.”
The full text of the statement issued by KPSS reads:
Back to back two incidents which happen to be engineered in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and National Institute of Technology, Kashmir have shattered or exposed the political instability in India. If raising slogans and hosting flags can change the demography of a Country then in Delhi itself almost every recognized countries flag hosted on their respect Embassies. Chanting some slogans and hoisting of flags cannot be parameters to tag a person as Nationalist or Anti-Nationalist. A person, irrespective of colour, caste, creed or religion, who have contributed to achieve normalcy in this part of the world is a true Nationalist irrespective of the fact whether he hoists a flag or not, or chants a slogan or not.
This is really unfortunate that from the past one month, few mislead students have kept India hostage in addition to that some local and national political parties have not wasted any time to cash the same in their interests. Without any doubt, till date, State of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India with some special status and International interference. Mere raising slogans and hoisting flag cannot change the status of this part of the world.
Some mislead Kashmiri organizations from the both sides of Pir Panjal Range having backing from some across the border agencies are also trying to add up in this flare, which in the longer run can cause irreparable loss to the people of this State in particular and to this Country in general. To achieve some vicious plans these agencies are using these shallow organizations to create a wedge in the society across the Country, for which every Nationalist have contributed at ground zero to fill up and have given countless sacrifices in the interest of the people and Country.
KPSS expresses concern on the issue, as it is very easy to eliminate an enemy at the border but is very difficult to push a multi faced vested interest person inside the country ,that causes larger damage to any stabilized and flourishing Country like India.
KPSS appeal to the all stake holders, across the nation to show some sanity and deal the situations with some responsibility towards Society and its people. Mere chanting some slogans and hoisting of flags cannot be parameters to identify a Nationalist.”
(Photograph: Protests near the NIT campus. Credit: HT).