It’s shame that a budding actor has been subjected to threats and forced to apologise by extremists in Kashmir . That they have zero respect for the talent of Kashmiri children is obvious the manner in which “ Dangal” fame actor Zaira Wasim Khan was trolled on social media, forcing her to surrender her talent to the diktates of extremists who want nothing but their own unilateral mindset of moral policing .
Zaira is just 16. May be she felt threatened by the posts on social media that decried her for meeting the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti . Extremists read her meeting with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and her projection as a role model to Kashmiri youth as an offense to sentiments of the people in Kashmir troubled by the unrest in Kashmir that claimed nearly 90 lives, left few hundred blinded and several thousand injured . Is Kashmir going to be guided by one set of narrative where only the extremism and Talibinization can grow and no other alternative can think of finding an expression .
Indeed there is a situation in Kashmir . There is an issue. Violence has crept in day-to-day life and the people are getting used to it , accepting it as a way of life in a conflict zone . The Zaira episode demonstrates that it is not just the conflict between the militants, their sympathisers and security forces . There is something larger and more worrying scenario in Kashmir – extremism wants to gobble everything , including what the people should eat, wear and do , read and adopt a particular way of life . It is fight between the freedom of expression and the forced closure of everything .
Zaira should have been encouraged . Her fears must be allayed. She should be allowed to grow the way she wants to . If her talent is stifled the way it is being done , then those who were proud of her till other day in the Valley would retract .
It is the time for all the human rights activists to speak out . No mistake should be committed in reading it as extremists’ methods of imposing their way of life and narrative . There is no other issue involved. It is simple extremism and Zaira has also been cowed down by the propagandists who believe that the girls’ place is within the four walls of their houses. It is unacceptable and shameful.