In A First, Separatists Quiet After Militant's Death

4 August 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: In a departure from past practice, the separatist leaders in Kashmir today abstained from issuing statements on the death of Lashkar-e-Islam deputy commander as an unprecedented cold war clouds the region's separatist bloc. None of the separatist groups issued statement commenting on the death of Tariq Mir, whose body was recovered on Monday morning from a stream near the Sumbal area of Bandipora district. Mir reportedly drowned while attempting to escape a cordon. The police on Monday said Mir was trying to escape the site of Friday evening shooting at Mirgund in which three policemen were injured. Mirwas a close associate of Kashmir's most wanted militant and Lashkar-e-Islam commander Qayoom Najar. The region's separatists religiously issue statements to commemorate a militant's death in which they 'pay tributes' and offer condolence. However, in Mir's case, the separatists maintained a silence which is rooted in the cold war that has engulfed the separatist camp after the emergence of Lashkar-e-Islam. The outfit formed by Najar, Mir and several other militants in north Kashmir after rebelling from the Hizbul Mujahideen, has carried out a series of attacks in the recent months against the telecom sector. The attacks were carried in defiance of the criticism from the separatist leaders, who in a rare display of protest against the rebel militant group had called for shutdowns after the group killed separatist activists and former militants, accusing them of working for security agencies. The only statement on Mir's death came from Sheikh Abdul Rashid, alias Engineer Rashid, who represents the Handwara constituency in state Legislative Assembly. Rashid, who today visited the slain militant's home in the Mawar area of Handwara, said New Delhi should introspect its Kashmir policy and acknowledge the dispute of J&K. 'It needs to be analysed and introspected that while the Army, the police and other security organisations are celebrating the death of hardcore militant Tariq, common masses in general and people of the Mawar area in particular are mourning his death. Their faces were reflecting the love and faith for the slain militant,' the legislator said. Hundreds of residents participated in Mir's funeral, which was held at his native place on Monday evening.