June 2018 News

Conversation Gives Glimpse Of Kashmir's New Radical Phase

9 June 2018
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Azhar Qadri

Srinagar: A conversation between an Army officer and a militant's family gives a glimpse of the growing cult of martyrdom in the Valley as the family rejects the Army's offer of surrender for their militant son and insists that it wants him to return home dead - as a martyr. The conversation in a 1:42-minute video has gone viral and shows the Army officer conveying the option of surrender to the militant's family in south Kashmir's Shopian district. 'When you (family) ask him, then he can surrender. If we (Army) ask him, he will not surrender,' the Army officer tells the militant's family. The undated video has been shot at the house of militant Adil Ahmad in Shopian's Jamnagri village. Local sources said the militant was suspected to be affiliated either with the Zakir Musa-led Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind or with a local unit of the Islamic State. 'We will not ask him to surrender. If he comes home alive, I will kill him with my own hands,' the militant's sister responds to the officer. She tells the Army officer that her militant brother had left home to be in the 'way of Allah'. 'He thinks he has done right. He must have done right then,' she says while confronting the Army officer. 'We will see his face only when he returns to this home as a martyr,' she said. The conversation between the militant's sister and the Army officer is, by far, the most telling evidence of a radical evolution of Kashmir's insurgency and also indicates a growing acceptability to the militant cause in militant families. It also reveals a sharp distinction between the current phase of militancy and its previous phases when families would mostly disassociate themselves from militant sons out of fear of repercussion from security forces. In recent years, several mobile phone calls between militants and their families have surfaced on social media where the families encourage their militant sons to fight when their hideouts are raided. The Army officer's failed attempt to convince the militant's family to urge him to surrender is part of the sustained efforts of the security forces to work on the 'return home' policy for local militants. The increasing recruitment of local militants has been a cause for concern for the security grid as several hundred young men - some of them with postgraduate and doctorate degrees - have joined insurgency in recent years.