Separatist Strategy: Slaughter and Terrorise Innocents
No Outrage Over Slaughter by Terrorists
On 29 October, Kashmiri terrorists believed to be of the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit barged into a hut in village Katrusu Kulgam where migrant labourers were staying and sprayed them with bullets, killing six on the spot. This was cold blooded murder of a kind that is not new to the Kashmir Valley's 30 -year old insurgency. Yet, it fuelled little or no outrage across the world.
A week later, freedom fighters lobbed a grenade inside a busy vegetable market in Srinagar killing one person instantly and maiming dozens of others. This market was mostly frequented by poor wage labourers from other states. The deceased was a street vendor selling toys who hailed from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. A similar grenade attack in Sopore town on 28 October had left 20 injured.
There have been other attacks that have gone virtually unnoticed. One was the killing of a labourer, Sheti Kumar Sagar, from Chhattisgarh on 16 October whose bullet ridden body was found near a railway bridge in Pulwama district. That day, two non-local apple traders were shot by terrorists, one died on the spot and the other was injured grievously. A couple of days earlier, insurgents had shot dead Sharif Khan, a truck driver from Rajasthan, and set his truck carrying apples ablaze.
The list of civilian killings by terrorists in the Kashmir Valley is long and dreary. These started 30 years ago and have continued. The abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution and the state's bifurcation have nothing to do with it except provide more justification for violence.
Innocent Kashmiri civilians have been picked up and murdered by terrorists for crossing their paths. Many civilians have been accused of being police informers and killed. Even a 17-year old girl, Ishrat Muneer Bhat of Pulwama district, was picked up by terrorists and killed on 31 January 2019.
The grenade attacks, the cold-blooded killings and silent threats have forced thousands of migrant workers who provide skilled and unskilled labour in the Kashmir Valley to flee. Kashmiris have fallen silent.
According to a newspaper report, Indian intelligence agencies have intercepted phone calls between terrorists based in the Kashmir Valley and their handlers in Pakistan which suggests there is a concerted effort to push out the 20,000-odd migrant workers believed to be resident in the Valley. The Separatists want an exodus similar to the one of Kashmiri pundits that took place in the early 1990s.
Terrorists have also set fire to at least two schools in the past week or so and have threatened students against appearing for their board examinations. Traders and businessmen have been told not to open their establishments until told to do so by the separatist and insurgent leadership.
The sad part is that these are not isolated incidents but rather a trend, part of a well thought out design of separatist insurgents. Therefore, it cannot and should not be ignored. The message is clear: the Kashmir Valley will not be allowed to return to normal.
This strategy of never allowing peace to return has resulted in unending tragedy over the past 30 years. Thousands of innocents have been gunned down in the Kashmir Valley, as have government soldiers, by insurgents. Yet, this aspect of the ongoing civil war has rarely been highlighted in the international media or raised in world for a by rights groups. Killing of soldiers and civilian government supporters are considered a given. It isn't a big deal.
Yet, the heartlessness is difficult to ignore for people whose lives have been destroyed or scorched by this kind of violence. Hundreds of thousands - both Hindus and Muslims - have been displaced from the Kashmir Valley during the past 30 years and many thousands have been slaughtered by so-called freedom fighters. Their stories are not told and the families of these victims have to endure the horror they have experienced and to relive them forever.
During the Nineties, terrorists and Pakistani agents systematically killed and chased away over 250,000 Kashmiri Hindu pundits; they also gunned down hundreds of political workers and grassroots leaders of mainstream political parties, chiefly of the National Conference.
The Kashmir Valley was also Islamised during this period with organisations like the Jamaat e Islam playing a major role with its anti-NC ideology. The Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which had initially spearheaded the armed struggle was wiped out by Jamaat and pro-Pakistani elements.
All this was done to consolidate Pakistan's control over the armed struggle in the Kashmir Valley. With the pro-Independence forces eliminated, Pakistan started sending in Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish e Mohammad and other Pakistan based groups to fight in Kashmir. Their agenda was slaughter to produce fear and keep the Indian security forces tied down.
How many Kashmiri fighters lost friends and dear ones to these vicious elements in that phase no one can tell. The times are even beyond lament. Those brave young men will remain memories with a few and will die out with the new generation who will not even know what happened.
The Indian government is often accused of perpetrating a bloodbath in the Kashmir Valley, slaughtering thousands of innocent Kashmiris in order to supress the demand for freedom. This image of thousands being gunned down by government forces in the Kashmir Valley has become dominant in the foreign media.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth: Thousands are not being gunned down in the Kashmir Valley. Yes, the Internet continues to be down in many areas, yes, businesses are choosing to stay closed, in many places parents are refusing to send their children to school, and yes, a number of Kashmiri politicians remain illegally detained, but Indian security forces are not running berserk on the streets gunning down innocent people. This is blatant and awful propaganda.
The fight against terrorism continues and Indian security forces from time to time locate, isolate and shoot dead terrorists. These encounters are not random or arbitrary and are usually based on specific human intelligence inputs. During these 'encounters', as they are locally known, fierce gun fights occur in which government soldiers are often killed or injured. It is not senseless massacre by government troops as it is usually portrayed by Separatist and Pakistani propaganda.
Today, no one in the Valley dares to talk against the slaughter and cruelty of the insurgents. Fear is the key and the general view that nothing can be said against the fight for aazadi. But the destination is not always of paramount importance, so is the way or manner in which it is achieved. The aim can never justify everything; what road one takes to reach the goal is equally important. I fear we have lost the way long ago.
|Terrorist Violence in the state of Jammu & Kashmir 1989-2019|
|Year||Security Personnel Killed||Civilians Killed|
|Source: Compiled from Parliament questions|
5 November 2019