In the wake of Monday's lethal terrorist attack on Amarnath yatris, the question is not what the consequence shall be for Kashmir. Of more importance is what the consequence will be for the rest of India and for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the wake of the attack, demands for reprisals are rising and the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) is leading the charge. In a virtual declaration of no-confidence in the government, the VHP
has asked, among other things, for a full-time defence minister and a ban on the employment of Kashmiri Muslims across India. It has also repeated its position: India’s Hindu majority must stop being a supplicant; all this talk about our Muslim brothers who have 'lost their way' must end. The attack is on the Prime Minister.
In contrast to VHP's bellicosity, the central government is saying that the pilgrims died because they did not follow the security drill. Islamic organisations have also bitterly criticised the attack on the pilgrims.
After the 1990s, there had never been an attack on Amarnath yatris, till Monday that is.
However, the question now is whether the violence will spread elsewhere, especially as the attack comes in the midst of the Supreme Court staying the Centre’s notification on the movement of cattle and its slaughter.
Conventional wisdom states that riots don’t happen in areas where Hindus and Muslims are engaged in commerce, like Varanasi or Moradabad. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the opposite is also true. In Gujarat, violence occurred despite these ties. As it did in Maharashtra and Coimbatore too.
What can be said with authority is that violence does not occur when the state administration does not want it to occur. This hypothesis will be tested in the days to come.