The brutal killing of three innocent civilians including a Kashmiri Pundit, a Kashmiri Muslim and a Dalit Hindu Bihari migrant worker by Pakistan-backed militants has not only broken the long spell of violence-free atmosphere in Kashmir valley since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 but has once again brought shame to Kashmir’s secular and syncretic culture of Kashmiriyat.
The killing of Makhan Lal Bindroo, in particular, has shamed Kashmir’s entire majority Muslim community as we have yet again failed to protect our brothers and sisters from our minority Hindu community, which in any case is already reduced to a tiny tribe as nearly 97 percent of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee Kashmir valley in 1990 after the onset of militancy.
What is really tragic is the fact that Makhan Lal Bindroo, who was an owner of a very famous and prominent pharmacy shop established in 1947, did not leave Kashmir valley even during the dark days of 1990 and had endured all the pain and suffering together with his Kashmiri Muslim brothers and sisters. He continued to serve the Kashmiri Muslim community, many of whom would approach him from far-off places in Kashmir valley for medicines.
So why was Makhan Lal Bindroo murdered? Just because he was a non-Muslim? a Kashmiri Pundit? a Hindu? We must also remember that yet another poor Hindu Dalit non-resident migrant labourer Virender Paswan from Bihar’s Bhagalpur district was also killed the same day.