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The Amarnath Shrine Controversy

Rather late to the party Offstumped is still wading through the facts and details of this controversy but a couple of issues stand out.

Issue#1 - The role of the Government in acquiring land to facilitate a religious activity

Issue#2 - The reaction in the streets of Kashmir from the PDP which is a partner in the J&K Government to the assorted separatist outfits.

Normally Offstumped would have viewed the first issue from the prism of Flat World Hindutva that calls for religion to be free of state control from which follows the dharmic principle that religious institutions must stop seeking entitlements from the State.

It is based on this principle Offstumped had been critical of state interference in Sabarimala, Tirupathi and more recently in Tamil Nadu over the new year.  This same principle was also the basis for Offstumped to be critical of Muslim religious institutions and the Communal Socialism of successive Governments for having doled out many decades of entitlements from the State for Wakf and Haj.

But here is the problem with what is happening in the streets of Kashmir on the “diversion” of land to the SASB to facilitate pilgrim friendly activities for the Amarnath Yatra. 

 ‘This is a planned conspiracy to civil occupation of Kashmir’ by New Delhi, Ronga said, “We are not against Hindus and Amarnath Yatra, but we are against the transfer of land to SASB. The Muslims have been at the forefront to provide all possible help to the Yatris during the annual pilgrimage over the years. However, now the SASB is communalizing the issue”.The KBA president said that the SASB would use the land to raise permanent structures to settle non-Kashmiris, thereby changing the Muslim-majority character of the Valley. “It is a conspiracy to civil occupation and to change the Muslim character of the Valley,” he said.

That was the reaction from the Kashmir Bar Association and this reaction believe it or not has the tacit support of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP which is a coalution partner in the J&K Government.

The debate on the streets of Kashmir is not about state entitlements to religion but about who has first claim to the State’s resources. If in Manmohan Singh’s Communal Socialism Muslims had a first claim to State’s resources because they were a Minority, in the PDP’s Communal Socialism Muslim’s have a first claim on Kashmir’s resources because they are the Majority.

If anyone in India is in any doubt about what the separatist movement in Kashmir has been perverted to after decades of support and interference by Pakistan this should settle all of those doubts. 

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