Once again the communal frenzy is up in Kishtwar town giving an impression that tolerance for each other’s community is fragile. A Muslim dominated town has seen the sparks of communal hatred flying on trivial issues. Earlier, on 9th August 2013, after the Eid festival, there were clashes reported in Kishtwar. The trouble started as a bike rider was trying to make his way through a procession of Muslims going for Eid prayers. The bike rider reportedly entered into a heated argument with members of the procession. Anti-India slogans were raised and this led to clashes between the two sides. Curfew was imposed and army called out in Kishtwar town. This incident took place when National Conference-Congress combine was in rule and the region had a National Conference minister as the State Home Minister. A large number of houses and commercial establishments were reduced to ashes prompting the then Omar Abdullah government to impose a curfew in Jammu province. The region has been communally sensitive since the hanging of Afzal Guru. Just two days prior to Eid, the police entered several local mosques and removed posters of Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah with Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, which called on Muslims to take to the streets. It looks as if for years, rich and influential Muslims have been putting immense pressure on rich Hindu families to sell their properties in prime locations in the district to them, and move out. These properties were gutted in the recent violence with the intention of impoverishing and demoralising the Hindu community. The Tuesday clashes erupted after an ancient temple and two houses were gutted under mysterious circumstances. This time it has a BJP member as a minister from the region in the present PDP-BJP ruled combine and surprisingly the State Government has not issued a statement over the clash. What can one assimilate from the situation at ground level?
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