Can Kashmir Bear the Cost of Terrorism…?

three kashmiri youth killed by LeT terrorists in Old Baramulla town

Silence of civil society over the killing of three kashmiri youth identified as Asif Ahmad Sheikh, Haseeb Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Asgar by LeT terrorists in old Baramulla town is a sign of slowly dying Kashmiriyat.

Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 02 May 2018

Youth beheaded in Bandipora in early April, three youths killed by terrorists in Baramullah three days back and three school-going seven years old children injured today by stone-pelters! So here is real agenda of Pak abated terrorism – ‘manipulate and change behaviour by creating fear, uncertainty and division in society’.

Few subjects divide people like terrorism. Political and media agendas shape our understanding in simplistic and often polarising ways but it’s the job of modern civil societies to ignore the hype and seek real solutions beyond the rhetoric. Somehow civil society in Kashmir is slave to myopic agendas, radicalisation, polarisation, violence and is itself a highly fractured entity. With no voice and practically no conscience, here is despondent Kashmir on a suicidal path.

Here is Kashmir of today where there is no life and every act of violence brings Kashmir and Kashmiriyat closer to death. Terrorists have no moral values but surprising part is that most of the people in Kashmir are silent on brutal killings of three youths (18-21 years) in Baramullah on 30 April 2018 and even on pelting of stones in Shopian on May 5, 2018, in which three school going children, seven years old were seriously injured. Truly, terrorism is the most cowardly act that knows no borders or seldom has a face. Tomorrow’s terrorism may be even worse as the civil society in Kashmir appears to be silent, is accepting violence and is not forcefully condemning these reprehensible acts.

On April 30, 2018, three boys, all in their early 20’s, identified as Asif Ahmad Sheikh, Haseeb Ahmad Khan and Mohammad Asgar were killed by LeT terrorists in the evening near Baramullah. Police said they had no track record of being involved in any political activity or intelligence gathering activity. So what was their crime? Nothing, absolutely nothing!  The terrorists viciously fired 15 rounds at these young boys, who were on their way to Khanpora in Old Town. One Pakistani and two local Lashkar terrorists were identified as the perpetrators behind the gruesome act. The mindless killings bring forth the brutality of these terror outfits and the threats that they pose to Kashmir.  Earlier in April 2018, Lashkar terrorists inhumanly beheaded a young shepherd in Bandipora. Manzoor Bhat’s decapitated body was found on the outskirts of Hajin on April 6. These are a few instances where terrorists have targeted civilians in Kashmir to spread fear, uncertainty and division in society.

Today three children were injured, one seriously, after a group of stone-pelters attacked their school bus in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on May 02, 2018. Eight-year-old Rehan was hit by a stone on his head after unknown people pelted stones on the bus. The Class 2 student was taken to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment.

So here is Kashmiriyat dying every day. Peripheral agendas of terrorists and Hurriyat are ruling the roost and soon Kashmiriyat shall be consigned to folklores. Do ideological differences give anyone the right to kill and injure a person? But why to talk of ideology as there was never an ideology behind the Kashmir turmoil. It always was plain simple ‘never question my slavery to the masters in Pakistan’. To further divide and brutalise the society, these agendas are despising the idea of democracy and showing obsession to the idea of Caliphate. So here is turmoil in which ‘being human is missing’.

In today’s discourse on Kashmir one wonders if anyone is talking of governance, education, development or jobs. Civil society is too scared to open their mouth; so and so much that their existence is doubtful.

In this conflict ridden society none owns the violence of beheading, killing of youths and injuring children by stone pelting. Not owning of violence is the politics that everyone has mastered in Kashmir. It helps shape opinion and more importantly safeguard interests.

The killing of any human is not allowed anywhere in any religion. A political approach to the problem can lead to a solution. The whole solution to any socio-political problem is to be based on interest and welfare of citizens belonging to any religion, region and ideology. But who will think as here are people in Kashmir guided by their vested interests and fear and they have reconciled to be dumb-driven cattle.

There is urgent need to redeem Kashmir from the current turmoil. What do we need to do?

Firstly, the uncontrolled and rampant use of guns must be stopped. It must be the call of people of Kashmir as they can enforce this more enduringly.

Secondly, arguments must be across the tables and not through violent encounters. Brutalisation of society is a game which surely will be lost by Kashmiris.

Thirdly, an idea of development is a must. What will these young stone pelters do when they shall become forty years old? Isn’t Kashmir better than any part of Pakistan even today?

Lastly, civil society must adopt a conscientious voice. They must guide the political discourse with sole idea of development. All other agendas must be jettisoned. A proactive outreach to youth by the civil society is an absolute must.

Speed is of essence. Any further delay will have one more generation lost to the vicious cycle of violence. Kashmiris can’t and must not let it happen.

national defence editor and promoter

Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal and web channel, National Defence.


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