Muslim-Sikh cooperation in Kashmir


ALI SUKHANVER

According to an analysis, there are more than 1.8 Billion Muslims and more than 50 Muslim majority countries but among this huge crowd, it is something very unfortunate that there is only and only Pakistan to hold the hands of the helpless Kashmiris in their miseries and distress. This selfish rather cowardly attitude of the so-called Muslim Ummah (community) is simply a blob of shame on the serene face of the whole Muslim community. Far better in courage and determination is the Sikh community which is standing shoulder by shoulder with the Kashmiris everywhere from the valleys of Sri Nagar to the streets of London, raising slogans against Indian atrocities in the burning paradise of Kashmir. Recently when the Modi government imposed restrictions on phone and internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, just to counter the protest processions of the local people, a group of 32 Muslim girl students from Srinagar was on a visit to Pune. Because of the restrictions imposed on all communication tools, the girls lost all contact with their family. They were facing shortage of money too as their tour could not be completed within the planned period. So these girls approached the Sikh Gurdwara Committee in Pune for help. The members of Gurudwara committees in Pune and Delhi joined hands to arrange for their safe return to their homes. The Pune committee arranged for their air-tickets to Delhi and from there the members of another Gurudwara committee arranged for their transportation to Srinagar. The way the Sikh community provided shelter, care and support to the Kashmiri girls in trouble is no doubt marvelous.

Rajeev Khanna penned down an article in ‘The Citizen’ in the second week of this August 2019 with the title ‘Punjab Comes Out in Strong Support of Kashmiris’. The article says, ‘One state that is vociferously raising its voice in support of the people of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A by the central government is neighbouring Punjab. Right from the government to various political organizations and civil society activists and organizations both in India and abroad, there has been opposition to the step taken by the Centre, particularly the manner in which it was done by silencing the voice of the Kashmiris’. Same level of support and care for the Kashmiris from the Sikh community is being observed all over the world. Analysts are of the view that this support is reciprocal; it is an outcome of a mutual understanding between the Kashmiris and the Sikhs. This year in the month of March a protest was arranged by a host of Sikh organizations in central London. The protesters were seeking release of Sikh prisoners in Indian jails. They also demanded end of atrocities against Sikhs and Kashmiris by the Indian government. The protest procession was joined by a large number of Kashmiri groups also who had flags of Kashmir and Khalistan in their hands. Media reports said that the protest was very much calm and peaceful but later on it turned violent as a pro-Modi group arrived at the scene and started shouting abuses at the peaceful protesters. The Scotland Yard had to intervene to normalize the situation.

“There is a big problem; it’s not a small thing that (special status) has been revoked. We are extremely disappointed,” said Harbinder Singh talking to the Reuters last week. Harbinder is a businessman from Srinagar belonging to the Sikh community and his services for bringing Sikh-Muslim communities closer are well known and widely acknowledged. President of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee, Jagmohan Singh Raina also expressed his concerns over the present situation in Kashmir in a recent statement. He said, “They (Indian Government) have committed a big blunder; they could have changed laws, but at least they should have consulted us.” He further said expressing his grave fears for the future of the Kashmiris “We Kashmiris didn’t have much, we just had this special status, and now this is also taken from us. This will mean that our people will find it hard to get jobs here.”

The Sikhs are just 2% of the total population in the Indian-Held Kashmir but are spread across the state, says a recent report. From farming and government services to running bakeries and provision stores, they are engaged in all types of social and economic activities. They have a very cordial relationship with the Muslims and interestingly the illegally deputed Indian forces treat them with the same brutality and cruelty with which they treat the Muslims. In short their common sorrows and joys and their common enemy has merged them into a single identity. This Muslim-Sikh unity is not limited only to the Indian Held Kashmir; all over the world the Sikh community is providing all possible support to the Kashmiri Muslims and same passion for the Sikh community is expressed by the Muslims. This unity demonstrated by the Sikhs and the Kashmiri Muslims has become a pain in the neck of Modi governmentwhichis very much misguided by its own created notion that by depriving Kashmir of its special status, it would succeed in crushing the demand for an Independent Sikh state Khalistan and that for an Independent state of Kashmir.

The Modi government must keep in mind the fact that no independence movement could be crushed with the help of such silly actions. Neither the Muslims nor the Sikhs in Kashmir are like a ready-to-eat soft cake placed in show-case of some bakery. If it was so easy to swallow them, the Modi government would not have imposed such a long curfew in the valley. In spite of a very strict curfew, the ongoing protest in the Indian Held Kashmir in itself is a proof that the voices of the Kashmiris and the Sikhs could never be silenced; it is their determination which is going to be the last nail in the coffin of Indian hegemonic desires in near future.

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