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Amarnath attack debunked


July 22, 2017

While seven people have died in the Amarnath Yatra attack, attempts by journalists like Burkha Dutt to link it to Islamic militants have backfired. According to reports, a bus was reportedly attacked by militants on July 10 in the Anantnag district, allegedly the second such strike on the Amarnath pilgrims in Kashmir since 1990. Soon after the attack, Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti met the Indian home minister in New Delhi to discuss the security situation in the state. “The Amarnath Yatra attack was carried out to cause communal tension in the state, but the entire country and political parties have stood together and condemned the attack,” she said. 

The facts that have come out are that the Amarnath attack on July 10 that killed seven pilgrims was not because of any security lapse but because the bus got late with two of its tyres getting deflated and subsequent delay in getting the passengers on board the bus. The police said the bus carrying pilgrims was caught in a crossfire when militants attacked a police post. There was no attack on Hindu pilgrims by alleged Muslim militants. So the story of communal tension died in its tracks.

While the attack was unanimously denounced by all quarters, especially all Kashmiris, journalists like Burkha Dutt tried to link it to alleged Islamic terrorism. The narrative of “Kashmiri Islamist terrorists have killed Hindu pilgrims” was used to whip up the passions of Hindus against Muslims.

On the other hand, one former DIG police posted in the Valley in the past has warned the Indian media, saying that "some of the television channels seem to be devoted to the Indian Army; they behave as if they are part of the forces and fighting the battle on the ground along with them. Every action of the Army is eulogised, howsoever, reprehensible such a stance may appear to its viewers. These channels have been joined by a band of former Indian Army officers who are invited to the studios just for one reason: They happily toe the channel’s nationalist line." He added that "if New Delhi is serious about changing the scenario in the Valley, the security forces, the administrative machinery and politicians need to pay attention to the sensitivities of the people."

Meanwhile, the Indian government has made it clear to opposition leaders that it is open for talks with “all stakeholders” as far as the issue of Kashmir is concerned. The report did not identify who the apparent stakeholders were.

So what is the situation in the Valley now? The new-age militancy with popular support continues to grow, with chief stakeholders -- Kashmiris and Pakistan -- still waiting for serious overtures from New Delhi. 

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