After the convoy ferrying Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) soldiers was attacked in Pulwama, hate posts against Kashmiris and Muslims have flooded social media. Such is the intensity of the messages that many hotels are now displaying messages barring the entry of Kashmiris in their property. What’s worse is that Indian netizens are defending these posts.
While many celebrities and intellectuals have requested people to empathise with the country’s brave soldiers who have died in the attacks, hate-mongering continues to be the undertone of the scores of tweets and Facebook posts. We happened to speak with people from Hyderabad in order to get a clear picture of their views on the issue.
Ajay Gandhi, founder and trustee of the Manthan Foundation, said, “It is very sad that what was done by a terrorist, and in all probability funded and supported by Pakistan, can lead to retaliation on fellow citizens. Indians need to stand by each other through this, not fight amongst ourselves. What does a Muslim or a Kashmiri have to do with this attack? It defies logic.”
In sharing her opinion on the country’s response to the attack, Elahe Hiptoola, film producer and activist, said, “What has happened is very disheartening, but putting out gory hate messages against the people of a particular sect or religion is completely uncalled for. I completely agree with our people that Pakistan is an enemy country. Then should we not be finding ways to stop them from attacking us? Instead, we’re fighting one another. What’s worse is that while authorities from the CRPF, celebrities, and intellectuals, have put out messages requesting people to stop the hate-mongering, not a single politician has come out in this regard, not even our Prime Minister.”
Bharani Kumar Aroll, managing director at Infopeers Solutions; general secretary, Cyberabad Security Council and secretary, HYSEA, said, “While there are miscreants present in Kashmir, not every Kashmiri has something to do with terrorism. Around 20-25 per cent of our nation is Muslim. The idea of cutting them out, or even cutting Kashmir off financially, is plain ridiculous. Let’s not forget that Kashmir is as much a part of India as any other state is.”
Spiritual leader, Srimani M., too, shares a similar perspective on this. “Hate-mongering amongst us and targeting Muslims and Kashmiris who are also a part of this nation is not the answer to this crisis. Hate only begets hate; it’s a downward spiral. Having said that, I believe that we must continue to take appropriate security measures, but that shouldn’t affect innocent citizens,” she believes.