Amid widespread violent protests, arsons and looting across the Valley, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, the first woman head of the only Muslim majority State of India, completed 100 days of her government on July 12, in which BJP is an important partner. Roads of the Valley were under siege of stone-throwers, being instigated from inside and across the borders, blood splattered on the streets and hospitals are over-flowing with number of injured, majority of them are men in uniform.
Who was Burhan?
The hard reality is that Burhan Muzaffar Wani was a terrorist, an enemy of the state who carried an award of Rs10 lakhs on his head. His life was marked and his death inevitable. He knew it, his parents knew it and the people of Kashmir knew it. It is, in fact, a wonder that he lasted this long.
His tweets on tweeter is an indication of his anti-India activities. He was quite active on Twitter and used the platform to spread hate against Indian authorities through his anti-India tweets. From Pampore to Kupwara terror attack, he celebrated the death of brave and courageous Indian security personnel while termed the terrorists (who gunned down innocent people) as ‘martyr’.
Buhran was instrumental in brainwashing many local boys to take up the gun by glamorising terror through social media; he the Hizbul commander who released videos warning of attacks if colonies for Sainiks and Kashmiri Pandits were set up in the Valley; he was the terrorist in the 2013 killing of four Rashtriya Rifles men in Buchoo Baala area in his hometown Tral; he was the terrorist to warn the J&K Police of more attacks; he was even the first Kashmiri militant to spring the idea of a Khilafat, an Islamic State, through a Facebook video which became wildly popular.
The way pseudo seculars teamed up to declared dreaded Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorist, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, as son of school teacher is an indication that strategy was already devised and they were only looking for an opportunity to derail the process of establishing lasting peace and strengthening democracy in J&K. Burhan Wani, along with his two companions, Surtaj and Masoom Shah was eliminated by security forces at Kokarnag. He had let loose a reign of terror in South Kashmir since 2010 but was in news because of his effective use of social media to attract the youth. Soon after his death pseudo liberals, separatists and enemies outside the country immediately teamed up to seize the opportunity to instigate youth of Kashmir to come on streets. Separatist leaders of Kashmir Valley, who have already launched a malicious campaign against setting up of Sainik Colony for the soldiers of Kashmir Valley in Srinagar and colonies for displaced Kashmiri Hindus of Kashmir Valley came forward to accomplish their nefarious designs by instigating the youth to restart “agitational” terrorism by selectively attacking township of Kashmiri Hindus and targeting Amarnath Yatries. The so-called strike, called against the killing of Buhran Wani was given only to interruptfirst woman Chief Minister’s dream of restoring “peace with dignity”.
“Anti-peace forces instigating violence”
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, in her first reaction after violent protest, was right when she dubbed youth, indulged in violence as “enemies of society” Asserting that 27 years of violence has given Kashmir nothing but graveyards full with bodies, destruction of houses and killing of thousands of youth.called upon the parents to rein-in their innocent youths to help end the protests and restoration of normalcy in the Valley, which has been hit by five consecutive days of protests.
The Chief Minister went on to say that such “mischievous elements” were always in search of an opportunity for the youth to come out for protests and then divert them towards security forces installations like police stations or a security force camp, where they are killed or injured in the firing.
“When young protesters and security forces come into an eyeball-to-eyeball position, these ‘clever and expert’ anti-social elements manage to flee leaving innocent youths at the spot, where they hadn’t desired to come for protests when they came out of their houses,” she pointed out.
The Chief Minister declared that her Government is determined to bring the State out of the present morass and it will succeed.
Protestors, who claimed to be mourning killing of Burhan Wani, have systemically attacked police stations and looted arms and other instruments. As per reports, security forces have not been able to trace the large cache of arms and ammunition, including over 60 rifles, that went missing from a police station in south Kashmir following a mob attack. Among the arms and ammunition that are still untraced are INSAS rifles, SLR rifles, AK 47 rifles, Light Machine Guns and Carbine Machine Guns. The Police Wireless Communication Code (PWCC) document, the coded language used by the department for relay of information, is also missing. Case diaries and some other records are also not traced yet.
There were funeral processions at 40 places, Hindu and Sikh houses were attacked, even the house of BJP MLA from Kulgam Ghulam Hassan Jargar was attacked. Besides government establishments and offices, 70 ambulances were burnt. Udhampur, which generally remains calm in such situations, there also pilgrims of Amarnath Yatra were attacked, which led to the suspension of the Yatra for three days. All these developments suggests that the actions were premeditated and the killing of Burhan was just an excuse to execute the plan.
In 2016 itself, more that 80 terrorists are killed by the security forces and separatists tried their best to use all funeral processions to show their strength. The reality is most of the people gathered in such events are spectators and very few actually get into violent acts.
Shockingly, the main stream parties of J&K, especially opposition National Conference (NC) too has tried to fish in the troubled water despite the fact that its leadership was aware that Buhran Wani was a terrorist. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s tweet after Burhan’s killing was more or less provocative. “Alas Burhan isn’t the 1st to pick up the gun & won’t be the last. @JKNC_ has always maintained that a political problem needs pol. Solution,” Mr Abdullah, who is the working president of main opposition NC, wrote on micro-blogging site twitter. Omar claimed that no militancy related incident was attributed to Burhan during his tenure as chief minister. He also said that the killing of the top HM commander means some tense days in parts of the valley.
Those, who have been observing such turmoil in Kashmir since 1990, are of the opinion that present unrest is an outcome of the deep rooted conspiracy aimed at targeting many things with stoke. Gen Hasnain who has served as the Commander of 15 Corps in Kashmir strongly stated that Pakistan’s hand is behind it, as is evident from the speed of response on ground and in the streets. Reaction of Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif only authenticates foreign hands in the on-going turmoil in the Valley.
Nawaz Sharif’s “shock” over killing of Buhran Wani and his “concern” over use of “excessive” force against civilians in Kashmir Valley has exposed that on-going violent protests in the Valley are not simple reaction of a militant commander’s killing but a bigger game-plan of some foreign agencies. Pakistan Prime Minister’s utterance is an indication that on-going turmoil in Kashmir Valley is instigated and sponsored from across the border because the protests were well planned and attack on security forces, especially of J&K Police personnel were made in a systematic manner.
After putting the whole Valley on fire through agents, Pakistan Prime Minister is now trying to add fuel by expressing “deep shock” over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who has raised armed revolt against Indian State. What is more shocking, Nawaz Sharif has dubbed dreaded terrorism Burhan Wani as “leader of Kashmir”. This clearly underlines the role Pakistan has been playing in creating Burhan’s from the valley. It is also a sign of frustration as infiltration from cross border is halted by vigilant and retaliatory actions of the armed forces.
Union information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu was right in accusing Pakistan of influencing sympathisers of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, who was killed in Kashmir, and warned it of a policy rethink on Delhi’s part. Some people, inspired by our neighbour, are trying to create disturbances. This is not going to help, the minister said.
Though such disturbances are not new to the valley, there are some factors that are added to the usual story. As Gen Dhruv Katoch, expert on terrorism related issues says, “Violence in parts of the Kashmir Valley in the form of public protests reflects a change in strategy by separatist groups. Successful Army operations against terrorists has whittled away their strength and now their strategy is shifting to shows off perceived public support by getting crowds to attend the funeral of dead terrorists. It is also an attempt by groups like the Hurriyat to regain relevance in the Valley, where they have been marginalised.” The growing radicalisation of youth in the valley has got momentum with the global trend in similar direction. Countering that has also become a challenge. Another important aspect is, it is the police in Jammu and Kashmir State that is handling the situation effectively along with the CRPF.
On the issue of dealing with the situation, Gen Katoch suggests, “the government, while dealing with the situation with a firm hand, must also reach out to the people to assuage their anger. It must also ensure accountability in the state administration, so that development funds are properly utilised and benefits trickle down to the common citizen.” General Hasnain argues that the approach has to be political and by consensus. That will ensure no diversions by anyone for political gains.
Jawahar Kaul, an eminent journalist and President of Jammu-Kashmir Study Centre insists on evolving a grand strategy to counter this trend and minimise the role of middlemen in delivery and dialogue.
It is widely believed that situation in Kashmir after gunning down of, Burhan Wani, is running a traditional script. There is sponsored upheaval, disorder and disruption. The so-called liberal media, both electronic and print, is going all out to play the separatists against the nationalists.
Newspapers being published in the Kashmir Valley, which are getting huge advertisement from State and Central government departments, are, as per norm, talking about “martyrdom of Burhan Wani,” lack of will of the central government to engage Kashmiris in talks, burgeoning local flavor of “militancy in Kashmir,” atrocities being committed by security forces, oppressive policies being followed by the government etc. The script is emotionally charged and designed to ignite a violent reaction blood-soaked streets, battered bodies and so on.
The difference is, governments both in State and Centre are on the same page in dealing with the situation. Though turmoil with stone pelting phenomenon is not new, whether this difference of state response strengthens the nationalist voices and ensures that Jammu and Kashmir join the participatory growth story of India, only time will tell.
By arrangement with the Organiser English Weekly, New Delhi