The ceasefire violation on the LOC in J&K by Pakistan, which led to several casualties on both sides, including those of civilians, was deliberately timed for the day before Diwali. That nation’s institutionalised hatred of India takes it to such abysmally uncivilised levels. It was the symbolic opposite of the ritual exchange of greetings between nations during festivals. While Diwali greetings came in for from many heads of government and state, Pakistan chose, instead, to vent its animosity towards India by ensuring that tragic news reaches soldiers’ homes on Diwali day. One of the families thus affected was that of a young BSF soldier from Uttarakhand.
Indians must take note of this and never forget. It has been seen that, in the rush to ‘improve’ relations, or overtaken by a flush of goodwill, countless such crimes have been forgotten in the past. The brutalities inflicted on Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities at the time of Partition were quickly forgotten, to the extent that it was considered inappropriate even to record or commemorate them in one way or another. Only a passing mention was made of them in the history books – probably a single incident like the Jalianwala Bagh firing has taken up more space. It is only recently that efforts were made to establish a Partition Museum in Amritsar, which was inaugurated by the Punjab CM Amarinder Singh in 2017. It was an extreme of political correctness that this sub-continental version of the Holocaust was sought to be papered over. It is only natural that India remains vulnerable to fake overtures of ‘bhaichara’ from across the border.
Another mistake was made in failing to hold Pakistan accountable for its inhuman behaviour when around two hundred Pakistani Army war criminals were identified for the brutalities inflicted by them during the Bangladesh War of Liberation, but were repatriated home by India. Bangladesh has not forgotten and, to this day, continues to punish those from among its own population who committed these misdeeds. It is no surprise, therefore, that Pakistan has continued with terrorist attacks over the decades and provides sanctuary to identified terrorists. It is only of late that India has hardened its stand a bit, but delivery on the ground has still fallen short. One needs only to consider the policy of Israel towards those who kill its citizens to know what the gold standard is in such matters. India should not set itself up any longer as a soft state, but that is only possible if the people become aware of the kind of adversary they are dealing with.