By Anil Bhat
In early May 2018, separatists in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) directed their stone-pelters to target young school children and tourists. One child and one tourist were killed. While schools and education have been Pakistan’s and its separatist pawns’ targets for some years, particularly after the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016, about forty schools have been burnt and destroyed recently.
Tourists provide a means of livelihood for many Kashmiris. If tourists too are being attacked by the network of these traitors and separatists, then the future of tourism and the economy of the Kashmir Valley looks increasingly bleak.
In June last year, separatists abducted Lt. Umar Fayaz from a marriage ceremony in Kulgam town and killed him, after which they brutally massacred and mutilated six J&K policemen in Anantnag district. This was followed by the barbaric lynching of Deputy Superintendent of Police Ayub Pandith by a mob outside Srinagar's Jama Masjid, marking an unprecedented high (until then) in the Pakistan-sponsored and supported proxy war and radicalisation of the Kashmir Valley.
The lynching of Pandith, who was chief of Mirwaiz Omer Farooq's security detail, by a mob only reinforced the fact that the separatists have sunk to their lowest in killing Kashmiriyat, which they claim to champion and expose their claims for seeking the best for the Valley.
After the killing of the police personnel and Pandith, the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said: "This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way. The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and fights with you. It is a dirty war... That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations.”
After the killing of a 22-year old tourist from Tamil Nadu in an incident of stone-pelting early in May, General Rawat said in an interview “I want to tell Kashmiri youth that Azadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never. There is no way we will not respond and respond sternly. Those who want to fight us, we will fight them," said Rawat in remarks which attracted some criticism.
Why does state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti want the central government to halt security force operations during the holy month of Ramzan and the Amarnath Yatra Hindu pilgrimage? Pakistan’s army, its terrorists and its paid pawns, the separatists, have all been known for desecrating religious festivals by continuing and at times even stepping up attacks during Ramzan and the Amarnath Yatra.
On July 11, 2017, during the Amarnath Yatra, terrorists launched an attack on a bus ferrying pilgrims, killing seven Gujarati women and children as well as injuring 19 others. There have been many cases of terrorist attacks in Kashmir Valley both during Hindu and Muslim festivals.
This request by Mufti Mehbooba and Kashmiri political parties for a ‘cease fire’ during the Amarnath Yatra and Ramzan has come as both Pakistani and Pak- supported Kashmiri terrorist groups in the Valley have been under severe pressure by the Army, security forces and J&K police resulting in many top terrorist leaders being killed. This operation must be continued without any ceasefire.
There is a fair constituency of Kashmiri youth, who do not subscribe to radicalization and rioting but who want to get ahead in life within the Indian system. This has been proven by the response to many recruitment tests by the Army and J&K police, where up to 1500 applicants have shown up.
Terrorists and their supporters are intimidating young Kashmiris wanting to join the Army, police or security forces. Many J&K police personnel’s homes have been raided by terrorists/their supporters to threaten them for discharging their duties.
Separatists have also issued diktats against sending children to the Army's goodwill schools, which could not be burnt and where students have been faring well, accusing these schools of compromising 'Kashmiriyat', which actually is being erased and replaced with Wahabbism by Pakistan supported Kashmiri terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen and the separatists.
The great irony is that while the proxy war by terror and radicalization is perpetrated by Pakistan through the traitors/separatists, many of them continue to enjoy government-funded facilities. It is a moot point why they are not in jails for various crimes and aiding acts of war against India.
This writer has relentlessly recommended that Pakistan sponsored terrorism, radicalization, stone-pelting, murders of innocent Kashmiris, ruination of education and so on can only begin to end after all those ‘politically correctly’ referred to as ‘separatists’ are put into jails outside the state of Jammu & Kashmir. No matter how strong the actions taken by the Army across the Line of Control and in the hinterland are, no matter how many surgical strikes are launched, no matter how effective other security forces are since the BJP assumed power in 2014, terrorism in the Valley will continue till the terror-funding and dissent-spreading traitors/separatists are around.
House arrest does not affect their subversive activities. Even putting them in jails in J&K will not stop them. While the traitor/separatist leaders must be put in jails outside J&K, all their networks of organizers must be effectively disabled. Only then can meaningful peace come to the Kashmir Valley.
(The author is a former Indian Army spokesperson and a strategic analyst. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)