Lalchowk, Jawahar Nagar Blasts Haunt Valley
14 May 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: Two major explosions in Srinagar Civil Lines, which left four civilians dead and over a hundred wounded on Wednesday and Thursday, have triggered off the Valley's rumour mill. Telephone calls and brief data transmissions over cellphones created an atmosphere of chaos and confusion, particularly in this capital city, on Friday and Saturday. Like on Friday, thousands of telephone calls and SMSs exchanged between the subscribers sent the security agencies in a tizzy. Today's rumours included the assassination of the senior Hurriyat leader, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, who was hale and hearty, though perhaps shocked over the killing of a namesake, Abdul Gani Bhat of Bagh-e-Mehtab. Mediapersons and Police officials had a tough time in distinguishing between the news and the rumour as people kept on saying that a bomb blast had just occurred at Hyderpora .... Jawahar Nagar.... Rajbagh....Boulevard.... The yellow-colour vans of Bomb Disposal Squad ran from one corner of the city to another with their hooters on. At the end of the day, total number of shooting and blasts in the city was zero. Rumour mongers took much of pleasure in targeting schools and public places. Due to this scare, a large number of students remained indoors. Investigations revealed that even the students themselves were spreading the rumours with an objective to get 'another holiday'. On the other hand 'leaders' continued to send in their condemnations of the unclaimed blast at Lalchowk. For obvious reasons, none beyond J&K Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone and J&K Liberation Party head Hashim Qureshi has mustered courage to condemn the Jawahar Nagar blast, claimed by three militant organisations. In a statement faxed to Excelsior from Berne, Switzerland, chairman of United Kashmir Peoples National Party (UKPNP) Sardar Shaukat Kashmiri condemned not only the twin blasts but also the 'double standards' of the separatist Kashmiri leaders who remained mute spectators to the destruction caused by the Jawahar Nagar blast. Shaukat Kashmiri, who also happens to be the general secretary of Dr Nazir Gilani's International Kashmir Alliance (IKA), described the Kashmiri leader's silence vis-a-vis the Jawahar Nagar blast as 'extremely shameful and patently hypocritical'. According to him those who remained silent over Wednesday's blast had no right to condemn the one that occurred on Thursday. 'Had the Lalchowk blast been claimed by a militant organisation like that of Jawahar Nagar, these carpet tigers would have been continuously silent. A number of Kashmiri groups, including Hurriyat, have unfortunately created double standards vis- a-vis the bloodshed of Kashmiris. This is indeed a black chapter of Kashmir's history', Shaukat Kashmiri said in his statement and warned the Valley's separatist leaders that the posterity would not condone their 'duplicity and hypocrisy'. He also condemned the silence of the so-called human rights champions who had been working with 'one eye shut and another open'. Meanwhile, hundreds of schoolchildren continued their demonstrations in Srinagar, Ganderbal, Baramulla and other areas to register their protest against the Lalchowk blast which harmed 25 students of Biscoe and Mallinson schools. A massive demonstration was also witnessed at National Institute of Technology (erstwhile REC Srinagar) where the trainee students asked the actors of violence to stop bloodshed of innocent schoolchildren.