Life inside a rallying cry

Basharat Peer in The National:

ScreenHunter_09 Dec. 20 08.45 I watched the video of Imran Babar’s phone call on a website at my parents’ house in Srinagar, the Kashmiri capital, a day after he called India TV. His voice and accent betrayed his lower-middle-class origins in Pakistani Punjab, far from the Deccan Plateau in southern India – even as he spoke of the oppression of Indian Muslims. But I was struck when he turned to Kashmir, saying: ““What was the Israeli Army chief doing in Kashmir? What is he to the Indian government? An uncle?” His voice was growing agitated and he shouted, “Was he there to teach what the Israelis do in Gaza and what they did to Bait-ul-Muqadas [the al Aqsa Mosque]?”

Here was a Punjabi terrorist who claimed to speak in the name of Kashmiris and Palestinians alike, assuming the mantle of oppressed communities to rationalise the murder of innocents in hotels and train stations. I was rattled, sitting in Srinigar, watching the loud theatre of terror drown out the complexities of life in Kashmir – watching the cause of Kashmiri independence become linked, in the mind of the world, with the deeds of jihadists in Mumbai.

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