The killing of Rahul Bhat, a Govt employee at chadoora Tehsil office in Budgam, Vijay Kumar, a Banker at Areh Mohanpora in Kulgam, Rajni Bala Govt teacher at HS Gopalpora Kulgam, Amreen Bhat, TV artist at her home in Budgam, has once again brought to the fore a chilling reminder of the incidents of 1989 and 1990. The list includes many Kashmiri pandits who either stayed back in 1990 or returned to their motherland.
Take the instance of the two non-local labourers shot by terrorists at a brick kiln in Budgam district. The brick kiln is located away from the village in an isolated spot. These poor labourers were cooking their dinner when terrorists, with their faces covered, came and fired at them. The labourer, Dilkhush Kumar, who died, hailed from Bihar. He had reached Budgam a week ago and was in search of work at this brick kiln. The terrorists targeted the labours because they were unarmed and not local residents.
The killing of innocent Kashmiri Pandits and non-locals by terrorists is indeed sad and poses a big challenge. Such targeted killings must not spread the false assumption that the situation has not changed in the Valley in the last three years. On the contrary, I feel this is concrete evidence that terrorism in the Valley is taking its last breath. Terrorists are being killed in encounters. They no more attack our security forces with AK-47 rifles. Tourists are coming to the Valley in large numbers. Kashmir is creating records in industrial investments. All these are the results of the changed strategy of the Centre in the Valley. If innocent people are being killed to spread fear, the only shortcoming that I find is that the local administration did not anticipate or, I can say, failed to understand the sudden change in the strategy of terror groups.
Security forces have been guarding camps where migrant workers live, but several of them have already left, choosing life over livelihood. Most of the victims were targeted at work, be it a bank manager on his way to the bank, a teacher going to school, or labours at work or returning home. But as the fear psychosis grips Kashmir, Off duty cops have always been soft targets. Nine cops have been killed this year, whereas 20 were killed in 2021.
The killing of members of the minority community is a spontaneous and totally condemnable act. Young boys with no criminal record, but sympathisers of terrorists, are being used to carry out the target killings. It has several times threatened in the recent past that any non-Kashmiri purchases land or any other immovable property in Kashmir would be treated as an “Occupier“ and targeted.
To cover up the Pakistan and known terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish e Mohammed and ISI formed new terror organisations like Kashmir Tigers, The resistance Front (TRF) who carry out these gruesome attacks on Kashmiri Pandits are actually an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish e Mohammed.
The motive behind carrying out such killings is to disrupt peace and harmony in the Valley after post abrogation of Article 370. Panchayat, Block development council polls were held in a peaceful atmosphere. Besides peace, development and thriving tourism has frustrated Pakistan and ISI, which is making persistent attempts to derail the ongoing peace development process in Jammu and Kashmir.
There have been protests in Jammu demanding that Kashmiri Pandits be moved to the Jammu division immediately. One must realise that this is what the terrorists and their masterminds want. They are choosing soft targets to save themselves from security forces. There was a protest at Lal Chowk, Srinagar, against ‘targeted killings’, while the imam of the Anantnag mosque said after Friday prayers that “killing of innocents cannot be termed as jihad”. “If some people think that a Muslim is doing jihad by attacking minorities, then I oppose such acts. Islam has not allowed such jihad where minorities are killed because of their religion”, the imam said. He appealed to all Kashmiri Muslims to come out and protest such killings.
Statements given by former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti on record that new domicile and land laws were aimed at changing Kashmir’s religious composition gave legitimacy to the terrorists to target Kashmiri pandits, and non-locals as Mehbooba Mufti in her speech in a public rally in Kulgam bluntly said that Indian Armed forces are not here to protect us but to terrorise and harass common people.
Another motivation behind the targeted killings comes from the lack of reaction of the silent majority to the new wave of terrorism. The silence of the majority Muslim community against such senseless violence is taken as an endorsement of the society of such terrorists and acts of terror. Thus terrorists consider it part of their religious duty to justify such dastardly acts of terrorism.
Unfortunately, the majority community is a mute spectator of this bloodshed, not knowing that it will isolate the Kashmir society from the rest of India and the world.
“ABHI NAHI TOU KABHI NAHI“
If Kashmiri Muslims do not wake up and protest against these target killings, the next victims of this violence will be Shias, Ahmadiyas and Sufi Hanafiyas. Moreover, the silence of the majority is incentivising the hybrid terrorists.
There is no doubt that local Muslims have been the worst victims of Pakistan sponsored terrorism, as thousands among them have been killed. Unfortunately, the silence of Muslims is making these terrorists more powerful to kill people in the name of so-called Jihad sponsored by Pak ISI. So wake up, Kashmir. Only condemnation won’t help out. Don’t fall prey to this so-called Jihad that gave Kashmir only destruction.
Every killing is deplorable, and it is a heinous crime. I feel pain about such killings. I want people to understand that we have to maintain brotherhood between communities. We shouldn’t allow miscreants to create an atmosphere of mistrust.