July 2016 News

Divided By Militancy, Civilians Fear Mob Justice As Kashmir Boils

17 July 2016
Nazir Masoodi

Srinagar: Even days before Burhan Wani, considered the face of militancy in Kashmir, was killed, the simmering tension in the Valley had become palpable. Anyone seen to be providing information against militants had become a target. For the last two weeks, house of Doda Khan in Warnow, a remote village of Kupwara district, has remained locked. An angry mob of over 5,000 people tried to set it on fire. The family has fled without a forwarding address. The people had come seeking revenge after rumors that Doda Khan had helped the Army find and kill a militant in an encounter. 'They tried to set his house on fire. We also fled from here because we feared that our houses will also catch fire,' said Miskeen Pathan, a neighbor of the Khan family. As the Army and police swooped in to save Doda Khan and his family, the fear of vigilante justice became more real. Lal Din, who is working as a Porter with the Army says he is sacred that he too may become a target. 'I am very scared because if any such encounter takes place here, I can be accused for informing the Army. I am more sacred of people than militants,' he said. The abandoned house of Doda Khan tells a harsh reality of Kashmir. An unidentified militant is killed and people wanted to take revenge from a person who they suspect was an Army informer. The Valley has not witnessed such anger and hostility towards its own people before. Though the simmering anger in people of Kashmir predates Burhan Wani's killing last week, its the backlash has brought the Valley to its knees. The angry protesters have not only attacked several police camps, but on Thursday, a mob torched nine homes including one where Burhan Wani was killed in Anantnag's Bamdoora village. Their anger was also let loose on those seen as close to the ruling People's Democratic Party. Over 7,000 apple trees in an orchard owned by Khurram Mir, a businessman were mowed down by a mob. Many believe that Burhan Wani's killing was just a trigger and the anger in people had been building for a long time.