On august 1st 2000, in Pehelgam town located in Anantnag district of Kashmir, massacre of 105 people (according to PTI) was carried out by Kashmiri separatist militants. 2 of my cousins and their father (my uncle) were gunned down in this cowardly attack. They were also my neighbours. We went to school together. They were survived by my aunt (who took a bullet in her thigh) and has a limp now 17 years later, and the eldest daughter.
I remember the lowering of coffins from the trucks as I watched it on TV, after the bodies were airlifted in Indian airlines from Pehelgam and dropped off in Delhi. I remember the names written on the coffins [N. Goel (15yrs), K. Goel (8yrs) and their dad N. Goel (45yrs). How can I not remember?
I am sure N and K did not know what Amarnath or Kashmir or Islam were. N and I went to the same class of the same school. They were good kids of educated and well to do parents. They had so much potential. My blood boils when I think about the arrogance and cowardice of their killers. They had no right to kill them.
Its been 17 years since then and nothing has changed.
Then Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee condemned the killings as “needless and gruesome”. The president K. R. Narayanan said, “I am shocked and deeply grieved to learn the mindless killing in the name of Jehad”.
Nothing changed. The separatists continue to create havoc in our lives. Broken homes are still broken. I don’t care about Hindu/ Muslim/ extremists/ fundamentalists. I care about my people. I am worried there are several more Ns and Ks in the world who do not get to fulfill their destiny, who do not get to live their dreams. Yet we continue to just condemn such attacks and sit cowardly.
Solution by dialogue has failed so far. They continue to kill the innocents. Small little surgical strikes and operations hardly help. I say let’s go full force and be done with it. I say let’s not take the easy road and let people die such pathetic deaths. I say let’s charge!