Pakistan pointed out the class composition of the 40 jawans killed in the 14 February Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir while rejecting claims of Pakistan's role in the suicide attack.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday on the Pulwama attack, Major General Asif Ghafoor, Pakistan armed forces official spokesperson and DG Inter-Services Public Relations, claimed that the class composition of the security forces killed in the attack gives indicators of the motive behind the attack. While not clearly stating the motive, the DG ISPR claimed that incidents like this always take place in India around the time there's an election in the country.
The DG ISPR's comment on the class composition of the killed jawans has come around the same time, when an article published in Caravan pointed out the caste structure of the jawans killed in the attack and accused right-wing groups of "exploiting the sacrifices of the downtrodden" to support Hindutva nationalism.
"Underlying the feverish display of nationalism by the urban middle-class, comprised predominantly of upper-caste Indians, is an irony that few have paid attention to — the lower-caste poor account for most of the deaths," the article said.
"Forty jawans were primarily from lower-caste communities. In all, they comprised 19 jawans from Other Backward Classes (or backward castes), seven from Scheduled Castes, five from Scheduled Tribes, four from upper-caste backgrounds, one high-caste Bengali, three Jat Sikhs, and one Muslim," it said, adding that only five out of the 40 jawans, or 12.5 percent, came from Hindu upper-caste backgrounds.
The article then claimed: "This figure bears out a truism starkly visible in India at present — the Hindutva nationalism of the urban middle-class, largely spearheaded by right-wing groups, conveniently exploits the sacrifices of the downtrodden".
The article has faced a lot of backlash on social media with users terming it a divisive step and even CRPF retweeting a user's reaction to the article:
We in CRPF identify ourself as Indians. Not more, not less. This pathetic divisiveness of caste, color, and religion doesn't exist in our blood. You should strictly refrain from insulting all the martyrs. They are not statistics for your demeaning and meaningless write-up. https://t.co/SOlRUwF878
— Moses dhinakaran (@dhinakaran1464) February 22, 2019
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also slammed the article, terming it callous, on Twitter. "When a jawan sacrifices his life to secure yours, do you think he cares about your caste, creed, religion, etc? He fights for India and not for a Hindu, Muslim or Sikh. Rise above this petty mindset," she tweeted.
In a surcharged atmosphere with a fervent desire for war, this is callous.
When a jawan sacrifices his life to secure yours, do you think he cares about your caste, creed, religion, etc? He fights for India & not for a hindu , muslim or sikh. Rise above this petty mindset. https://t.co/AI6rBlZIKn
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) February 21, 2019
With India launching a multi-faceted campaign to alienate Pakistan at the international stage for continuing to provide safe haven to terror organisations like Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has claimed the responsibility for the Pulwama attack, the DGISPR is now using existing class divisions in India to turn the focus away from Pakistan.
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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2019 19:25:08 IST