Defeating Disruptive Forces in Kashmir
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 02 Jun , 2024

The recent murderous attack on a tourist couple in the Pahalgam area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district has one once again exposed the sordid underbelly of  terrorism in J&K, which the Islamabad and its proxies based in Kashmir Valley have unsuccessfully been trying to glamorise as an “armed struggle.” Coming at a time when normalcy is returning to J&K, this reprehensible incident has also raised serious questions regarding the real motives of those comfortably sitting across the Line of Control [LoC] and masterminding such senseless acts of violence.

For more than three decades, the hapless people of J&K have been used as cannon fodder by the Pakistan army in its proxy war against India and this observation isn’t wild speculation but an undeniable fact. Hasn’t Syed Salahuddin, who heads the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist group as well as the  United Jihad Council [a conglomeration of jihadist terrorist groups sponsored by Pakistan army’s spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), aimed at achieving J&K’s merger with Pakistan] himself admitted that “We are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir”? Emphasis added.

Hence, it’s time the people of Kashmir realised the true nature of Pakistan’s more than three decades old crafty manoeuvring in J&K, because as they say, those who forget their history are condemned to repeat it. The ones who were big enough to understand things when terrorism erupted in Kashmir during the late eighties-early nineties would recall that the initial aim of the ISI controlled ‘armed struggle’ led by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front [JKLF] here was ‘azadi’ [independence].

The elders would also recall that since a call for independence in J&K could arouse similar sentiments in Pakistan occupied J&K [PoJK], ISI created a new terrorist group named Hizbul Mujahideen [HM], which rejected ‘azadi’ and instead aggressively espoused J&K’s merger with Pakistan. What followed was an unprecedented bloody purge of JKLF by HM carried out on orders of ISI. Reflecting on the same, Pakistan based JKLF founder Amanullah Khan revealed the shocking fact that HM fighters had killed more JKLF cadres than the Indian security forces.

Unfortunately, this fact is not known to many young Kashmiris. Nor are they fully aware of how HM terrorists, at the behest of ISI, had systematically assassinated prominent Kashmiris who opposed the ISI’s sinister plan of waging Pakistan army’s proxy war against India through indoctrinated Kashmiri youth. They are also ignorant of the fact that the All Parties Hurriyat Conference [APHC] has been shielding the killers by feeding lies to the people of Kashmir, and this again is not hearsay but a substantiated fact coming from the very horse’s mouth.  

In 2011, former APHC Chairman Abdul Ghani Bhat while addressing a seminar on ‘Role of intellectuals in the Kashmir movement’ revealed that “[separatist leader Abdul Gani] Lone sahib, Mirwaiz [Moluvi Mohammad] Farooq and Prof. [Abdul Ahad] Wani were not killed by the army or the police. They were targeted by our own people, adding that “The story is a long one, but we have to tell the truth.” [Emphasis added]. Admitting that the so-called ‘armed struggle’ was started by “us killing our intellectuals,” he rued, “Wherever we found an intellectual, we ended up killing him.” [Emphasis added].

While other separatist leaders too have been supporting the so called ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir, they have also accepted its futility. Hurriyat [M] Chairman Mirwaz Umar Farook has gone on record to accept that “The dialogue process to resolve the Kashmir issue should be given a chance as efforts through military means have not achieved any results except creating more graveyards.” [Emphasis added]. And just last month, Hurriyat [M] issued a statement that it “stands firm in its approach of dealing with the conflict, which has severely affected the people of J&K for decades. The way forward is dialogue among stakeholders. Peace, stability and security of the region will naturally follow. Belligerence and violence will only keep the pot boiling.” [Emphasis added].

Former Hurriyat [G] chairman SAS Geelani had declared that “We [APHC] never denied or ignored the role of [the] gun in our struggle,” he also said that “The armed struggle won’t serve its purpose unless and until it is well-coordinated. It needs [the] support of a country, which could provide [a] supply of weapons, resources and training camps, which we don’t have… It also needs ideologically perfect youth. It needs strategy. The militancy in Kashmir lacks these things. [Emphasis added]. Since the eruption of armed movement, the militants couldn’t focus on these things.”

More than a decade ago, former APHC Chairman Bhat had predicted that the so-called ‘armed struggle’ “will not have support from any quarter,” and his prognosis is coming true. And though terrorist acts do still occur sporadically, the ‘azadi’ or ‘Kashmir banega Pakistan’ [Kashmir will become part of Pakistan] story is done and dusted. Instead, those currently indulging in terrorist acts in J&K are being motivated by Islamic fundamentalism, and this again isn’t a mere allegation and none other than the HM chief himself has admitted this.

In a 2016 interview given to Sonia Sarkar of The Telegraph, when asked why the Kashmir movement is getting Islamised, Salahuddin nonchalantly replied, “The Kashmiri movement was Islamised from day one.” He went on to explain “Why do you think an educated young man, who has a bright future otherwise, is willing to die? Is he mad? Azadi is not his objective. What will he do with azadi if he dies during the struggle?” Then the UJC chief confessed that “He is into militancy because he knows that if he dies for a noble cause, he would become a martyr, as per Islam. We tell him that he would get into the “real life” after this death and he would get peace. Khuda ussey raazi hoga.” [Allah would be pleased with him]. [Emphasis added].

There’s yet another breed of killers who don’t join terrorist ranks but if given money and a pistol or grenade are willing to target unarmed civilians as it doesn’t entail any risk. Referred to as ‘hybrid’ terrorists, these ‘hired guns’ (modified ‘supari’ of the underworld in large metros!) are difficult to identify and apprehend as they have no criminal background and attack their victims at a place where there’s no physical or electronic surveillance and the getaway is easy. The tourist couple visiting Pahalgam was undoubtedly shot at by hybrid terrorists and the question that begs an answer is ‘Why?’

Since tourists are in no way associated with the ongoing conflict in J&K, attacking them makes no sense whatsoever. Doing so only creates fear psychosis and dissuades visitors from coming to J&K and such incidents have the potential to adversely impact tourism, which is the region’s main industry and provides employment to thousands of locals belonging to all sections of society.

However, since Pakistan is hell bent on trying to prove to the world that peace and normalcy eludes J&K, post-Article 370 abrogation, it is obvious that this attack has been ordered by ISI just to buttress its propaganda. That Pakistan’s main [and sole] concern is to further its motivated Kashmir agenda even at the cost of destroying peace and the people’s livelihood, and this is what people of Kashmir must take a serious note of and unitedly oppose! 

Luckily, most Kashmiris have realised that they have been used as pawns by Pakistan all along, and are now more forthcoming in doing their bit to end the scourge of terrorism by passing information regarding terrorists to the security forces.

The fact that those involved in Pahalgam’s ‘blind’ attack on the tourist couple have been apprehended within ten days speaks volumes about the extraordinary professional acumen of the security forces as well as intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but this would not have been possible had the locals not provided information about such cowardly killers attempting to disrupt normalcy in J&K!

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Nilesh Kunwar

is a retired Indian Army Officer who has served in Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur.

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