Attack on pilgrims, act of cowardice

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No civilised society in the world would ever appreciate the recent attack on pilgrims in Anantnag district of Kashmir by some fanatic and anti-social elements, in which two women pilgrims sustained injuries. The incident not only ashames Kashmiri society, who claims to be hospitable to pilgrimage, but also daunts flourishing tourism of the state, besides disturbing prevailing peace. The stone pelting on the pilgrim bus not only injured pilgrims, but also sent ripples of fear among thousands of Pandits who traditionally throng the ancient shrine in Tulmulla, Ganderbal district of the Kashmir valley on the annual pilgrimage.
The attack on pilgrims on their way to Kheer Bhawani Temple in Kashmir is the latest outrage in an unending series of attacks on innocent people in the valley. While the tourism industry in the state is resurrecting after post flood slump, this trend of attacking pilgrims would turn out to be another jolt to the biggest industry of the state. The unfortunate part of the incident is that the pilgrims were attacked, but no action has been taken against miscreants involved in the incident.
This incident comes at a time when the government is claiming to ensure dignified return of the community. As per media reports, the pilgrims said that the bus was deliberately targeted. Moreover, in recent years, there has been a campaign to prevent Pandits from visiting their ancient places of worship and separatists have issued open threats against the minority community, while as the govt is totally silent. Going by the broader perspective of the attack on pilgrims, it shows that Kashmiri Muslims are becoming intolerant on the name of religion and are deliberately creating fear psychosis among pilgrims visiting the state. This event also takes one to the chronology of the Kashmir conflict, wherein pilgrims were never touched other than subtle stray one or two incidents. It took years for Kashmiri people to make an image of good hosts, but such incidents daunt the image of Kashmir and Kashmiriyat at international level, as pilgrimage of Jammu and Kashmir is world famous and people across the globe visit the state as a pilgrims. The government must ensure that strict action should be taken against such activities and fool proof security should be provided to pilgrims of any faith and people of the state, especially Kashmiri Muslims shun these elements of hate and support government in making kashmir a hate-free zone.

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