Arson, the crime of deliberately setting things on fire, is a preferred method of Hindutva terrorists. From the carnage against Muslims in Gujarat 2002, through many other incidents then classified as communal ‘flare-ups,’ to the attack on Muslim truckers in Udhampur, these terrorists like to burn. More precisely, they like to burn Muslim buildings and bodies. The reason, if it can be called that, for trying to burn Kashmiris alive seems related to the ‘beef ban’ issue, and resistance to that Hindutva ‘law’ in Kashmir. The authorities should, of course, track down every single person responsible for this attack and bring them to justice. But the question is: will Kashmiris be at all surprised if no action is taken, and these terrorists ‘manage’ to escape? The simple answer is no. Because targeting hapless Kashmiris is a norm, as is the absence of justice; and in this particular case, as was witnessed in 2008, attacking Muslim truckers and enforcing blockades on Kashmir has had wider support among sections in Jammu.
To reiterate: the Hindutva parivar’s main agenda is set by their founding fathers. And that is to turn Muslims into second-class citizens. And violence, to enforce diktats, to drive people out from areas, or just mass murder, is used in service of that aim by the foot soldier section of the Hindutva-vadis. Ideological and political cover and justification is provided by other sections, like the parent-body, the RSS, and its political wing, the BJP. Here, the ‘invention’ of issues to then invoke and deploy violence is a well-planned strategy. Be it the claim that the Babri Masjid was an (a)historical affront, to the idea that eating beef is tantamount to committing sacrilege. Forget facts and history, these inventions are deliberately embedded within ‘religious sentiment’ and thus made, well, ‘holy cows’ and enforced by that violence.
There is another angle to this beef ban brouhaha: and that is how Kashmir is being sought to be made the central zone of the issue, and then it is played out in India too. Like the use of yatras in Kashmir to lay a religious, ‘historical’ and psychological claim on territory, the beef ban issue is being used to, inversely, draw Kashmir deeper into the Hindu-nationalist imagination. The attempt is to make it ‘central,’ so as to deploy these religio-historical claims against Kashmiri political sentiments and aspirations. The Hindutva brigade doesn’t act blindly, it thinks things out. The attack on Kashmiri truckers isn’t a random act of violence.