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Kashmir Valley remains silent on Ayodhya verdict

The Kashmir Valley has been indifferent to the Supreme Court verdict on Ayodhya.  

Known till recently for spontaneous statements from separatists and regional leaders, and public protests, the Kashmir Valley has been mute to the Supreme Court's verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute on Saturday. The silence is symptomatic of a sense of dejection and dissatisfaction gripping the younger generation.

Fida Iqbal, a retired Kashmir University Professor, was not surprised by the lack of any overt reaction to the verdict over the past three days.

“When the Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992, a shutdown was observed in Kashmir. But not on account of the demolition. Kashmir, on the call of the separatist Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, had then observed a bandh against the killing of human rights activist H.N. Wanchoo on December 5, 1992. Kashmir has mostly maintained a distance from the mainland Muslim issues. The trend continues,” said Mr. Iqbal.

It is not only the street, but even traditional political camps, including separatist Hurriyat, and the mainstream parties like the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), reserved their reactions on the issue that has been part of mainstream political discourse close to 30 years and saw the BJP’s surge to power in the 1990s.The silence by the political quarters seem deliberate and meaningful, as the fact remains that all top 34 political leaders detained at Centaur Hotel in Srinagar were watching news channels all day and indulged in agitated debate during the lunch hour on Saturday, sources said

Detained in the Centaur Hotel in Srinagar, all three former chief ministers, — NC’s Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, and PDP's Mehbooba Mufti — were reportedly glued to news channels through the day, even though there were massive power outages, due to heavy snowfall.

“What has befallen Kashmir on August 5 is of greater consequences. People are yet to react to that episode. People are living with a deep sense of fear due to the clampdown on the civil society and political leadership. Silence is not normal,” said Imtiyaz Khan, a political science lecturer in Srinagar.

However, the younger generation, mainly in their 20s is internalising the episode. A law student Amir Majeed, 23, described it as “the beginning of India drifting from its core values pronounced in 1947 and putting on display a brazen Hindutva agenda.”

“The verdict has ached our heart. It was as much a sentimental issue for Muslims as it was for Hindus. It was bound to inflict a wound. This memory is going to stay for many, many years to come. The Hindu fundamentalism will only give birth to Muslim fundamentalism, and it will see the space for secular politics shrink fast in the Valley. The verdict for sure has disappointed many in the Valley,” said Majeed, a resident of Srinagar old city.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 4:10:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmir-valley-remains-silent-on-ayodhya-verdict/article29947081.ece

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