Zahid Rasool Bhat, set ablaze for being a Muslim in Indian-administered Kashmir
Indian-administered Kashmir is on the boil against the mob killing of 18-year-old Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was attacked with petrol bombs on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway near Udhampur on October 9th, when he was travelling back to the valley from New Delhi.
Bhat, the Kashmiri trucker, sustained serious injuries when the right-wing goons mercilessly beat him up and set him ablaze. Bhat’s killing raged violent protests followed by a shutdown on October 12th, called by the pro-freedom factions. The same day, the Jammu and Kashmir government had imposed strict restrictions in most parts of Kashmir to prevent protests against Bhat’s killing. However, Bhat’s body was taken for burial in a large procession by residents of Batengoo, his native village, amidst pro-freedom and anti- Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sloganeering by the mourners.
Majority of the pro-freedom leaders were put under house arrest. They held pro-India politicians responsible for Bhat’s killing, as the latter failed to provide security to the truckers.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed expressed shock over the death of the young man and assured that the person involved in the dastardly act will be punished. However, former Chief Ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah blamed the BJP and its ruling alliance partners for “stoking communal passions” which led to the Udhampur attack.
The prevailing situation in the Indian-administered-Kashmir and the rise of communal incidents against minorities in India is a disturbing trend. Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, whose party has formed an alliance with BJP-led Narendra Modi’s government in the conflict-ridden state, is helpless in the face of his coalition partner’s ideological fervour. As long as Modi does not discard the hindutva elements in the country, the situation will continue to remain troublesome.
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