Militant Posters, Jihad Calls Return To Valley

23 September 2008
The Indian Express

Srinagar: In a flashback from the early nineties, the posters of militant leader Mushtaq Zargar have reappeared on the walls and lamp posts of downtown Srinagar. The posters, which have incidentally replaced those of mainstream political parties and even of separatist politicians, exhort people to follow the path of jihad for Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. “Zargar’s message is for one and all. Kashmir will become Pakistan,” says the poster with a grim-faced picture of Zargar. The posters dot a long stretch of the city’s congested interiors, a traditional stronghold of moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. There are scores of them around the Grand Mosque as well as Mirwaiz Manzil, the Hurriyat chairman’s ancestral house at Rajouri Kadal. Though militant groups have called for a halt to their activities “to facilitate the ongoing mass protests in Valley”, the posters show Zargar, the most wanted Kashmiri militant commander, eager for a new role in the changed political climate. The development is unusual as despite militancy holding its sway till a couple of years back, the militant graffiti on the walls had all but vanished after the mid-nineties. “The Hurriyat has nothing to do with the posters. Zargar runs his own outfit and does whatever he thinks is fit,” said a Hurriyat leader.