Srinagar: Many Indians have already started an “online war” against Kashmiris after the militant attack on the Indian Army in Uri. As soon as news of the attack broke, a large number of Indian netizens hit the popular sites of Twitter and Facebook with abuse and mockery of Kashmiris and justified the killings of protestors in the past two-and-a-half months of the anti-India uprising in Kashmir.
“A couple of my Indian friends on Facebook deleted me from their friend list because I had uploaded at the time a picture of mine with my friends having fun in Delhi,” said Waqas Khan, a regular Facebook user. “The timing was just a coincidence. But it was mistaken as an expression of joy at the killing of the army men, which was not at all my intention,” he said.
Many Kashmiris had to face a much more hostile reaction. Kashmiris who questioned the silence of both Indian media and social media users over the killings of more than 85 unarmed Kashmiris had to face hateful comments that justified the usage of pellets and shooting at unarmed protesters. “Every Kashmiri who supports separatism deserves pellets and should be killed,” wrote Sandeep Naik on Facebook while replying to a Kashmiri who had expressed shock over the “biased” coverage of Indian media.
Another Indian, Bhaskar Trivedi , while replying to a post by a Kashmiri that was highlighting human rights violations the Indian army has been part of , wrote, “F*** off to Pakistan. The day article 370 is removed, I will buy a piece of land there, eat apples, employ such Kashmiri slaves (as you), underpay them and harass them.”
A Kashmiri who administers a pro-freedom page on Facebook said that he was tempted to reply to the “hateful” posts of Indians, but he desisted from doing so because he had faced persecution for his posts in the past. “During the 2010 protests I had to spend a few days in the police station, just because I was highlighting the oppression that Kashmiris were facing at the hands of India. Hence, this time around I resisted from replying to the hostile Indian social media campaign,” he said.
Indian on social media have not only been bristling at Kashmiris who highlight the Indian oppression in Kashmir, they are also furious at the sharing and retweeting of posts of Pakistanis like Nadeem F Paracha who have downplayed the war rhetoric by resorting to humour.
A Kashmiri student has already been expelled from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) for posting comments on Facebook on the attack on the army base in Uri. AMU Vice Chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah took a “very serious view” of the issue and expelled the student, who was pursuing MSc in Organic Chemistry, after personally probing the matter, university spokesman Rahat Abrar had said.