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कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

SECULARISM SHREDDED IN KASHMIR

AUM
SECULARISM SHREDDED IN SRINAGAR

By Brigadier Chitranjan Sawant,VSM

Rajneesh Sharma of Jammu and Ameena of Srinagar fell in love in the paradise. They did not realise that the heaven would turn into hell for them if they stood firm in their resolve to proceed with their amorous activities. Their love affair and courtship lasted for more than five years and the families of both the boy and the girl knew what was in the offing. So far so good. Both the man and the woman were majors and in the eye of law were competent to make a decision on a subject that affected their lives. They chose to get married as their love had blossomed and demanded that it should be taken to its logical end.

One may wonder how they met and how did the love last for almost half a decade in the not so friendly environment of the Kashmir valley. Well, Rajneesh used to go to the Kashmir valley year after year on the holy pilgrimage to the cave of Lord Amar Nath. That is where he met Ameena and they fell in love. She is educated and has seen life in this world for 25 years. She is a pretty woman and he was a handsome man. Her family put no spokes on the amorous path of progress and his family did not object either. Perhaps there was tacit approval of what was going on.

When Ameena disclosed her desire to convert to the Hindu Dharm and marry her beau ideal, hell broke loose in the Muslim society and opposition to the wedding became an Islamic issue. Ameena eloped to Jammu. Rajneesh and Ameena went to the Arya Samaj, Jammu and declared their intention to tie the knot. The Arya Samaj received them with open arms and supported their idea of a wedding. On conversion to the Vedic Dharm, Ameena became Aanchal and along with Rajneesh performed the Havan, walked seven steps together in Saptpadi and took the vow to be together in life and death as husband and wife. Rajneesh’s father and the entire Sharma family along with friends, relatives and neighbourhood celebrated the Vedic wedding with feast, fun and frolic that it merited.

Back in Srinagar, Ameena’s father lodged an FIR with the Kashmir police that his minor daughter had been kidnapped by Rajneesh and forced to marry him. The complaint was against facts of the case. However, the communal overtones swayed the course of action and the Srinagar police went to Jammu and arrested Rajneesh. They brought him to Srinagar, tortured him endlessly for days and beat him black and blue for no fault of his. The bride, Ameena, in Jammu supported her husband through thick and thin but it did not cut ice with the pre-conceived notions of authorities in Srinagar. Ameena’s brother turned out to be the villain of the piece in perpetrating physical and mental cruelty on Rajneesh till he died of wounds inflicted on him. Here was a case of custodial death.

When Rajneesh’s dead body was brought to Jammu, the news of his torture and custodial death spread like wild fire. Jammu city was on fire. The anger of the people burst out and the crowd thrashed senior administrative and police officers for the out and out partisan attitude of the administration. Now the people’s demand is – order a CBI enquiry into the circumstances leading to the custodial death. The J&K government has ordered a magisterial probe but everyone knows that it is just an eyewash.
Surprisingly the leaders in the government have not yet faced the people with a word of solace to comfort the grieving family. MUM is the word for the Chief Minister, leaders of opposition and others in the Kashmir valley. The story is different in Jammu where the issue may assume political overtones. The communal divide is complete and secularism has been shredded by leaders who profess it in public, but not in private. The need of the hour is to take an impartial course of action and allow a central agency to investigate so that the guilty are brought to book. The law of the land should be allowed to take its own course.

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