Kashmir after Sabzar killing

Shafqat Bukhari

New breed of militants are fast becoming game changers in Kashmir and this is governments in Delhi and Srinagar don’t understand. Killing militants has not changed the intensity of the public protests during last ten months of public unrest and situation itself indicates that killing of Sabzar Bhat,the successor of Burhan Wani the top slain Hizb Ul Mujahideen Commander, too won’t change the situation on ground in Kashmir.

Ever since the killing of Burhan Wani the top Hizb Ul Mujahideen Commander on July 8 last year the situation changed in Kashmir and the killing of Burhan Wani’s successor Sabzar Bhat has given an indication that the new breed of militants have become game changers in Kashmir. The mass support of local populations to fresh breed of militants has now reached encounter sites where rock hurling crowds are disrupting the anti-militancy operations of army, paramilitaries and the local police. Killing militants may be giving sense of achievement to government and the top brass of army, paramilitaries and police but the situation becoming vulnerable to anti-militancy operations does not change in Kashmir.

So the challenges for the army, paramilitaries and police are increasing due to unprecedented increase in the intensity of protests against the killing of militants and the conduct of anti-militancy operations including cordons and searches in the populated areas.

The rifle snatching incidents occurring and re-occurring day after day in the parts of Kashmir show the psychological advantage gained by the fresh breed of militants during last few months. So by all standards of understandabilities the strategy of anti-militancy operations is not working well and ultimately the restoration of normalcy is again becoming an issue of winning hearts and minds of the people but not killing militants.

The public outrage dying down in coming days is what the top brass of army, paramilitaries and police expect but the brief lull of silence in violence can’t be the end of unrest continuing since July 8 last year when the killing of Burhan Wani the top Hizb Ul Mujahideen Commander triggered a massive unrest in Kashmir valley.

From the day Burhan Wani, the top Hizb Ul Mujahideen Commander was killed last year, the angry crowds are continuing tendencies of thronging encounter sites to combat forces with stones to help besieged militants flee from the cordoned areas and this challenge is not going to die down keeping in view the increasing tendencies of youth rushing to encounter sites. Perhaps BJP Chief Amit Shah does not know anything about the situation on ground in Kashmir as he recently said public protests are a challenge for government forces in three districts of Kashmir valley.

Barely a day after the top Hizb-Ul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat was killed in Tral in an encounter, the violent protests spread to north and central Kashmir districts including the summer capital Srinagar and so Amit Shah himself has to understand the gravity of situation on ground in Kashmir.

The likes of Amit Shah, Arun Jaitely and Rajnath Singh can’t win the hearts and minds of people by praising army chief General Bipin Rawat for awarding commendation to army’s Major Major Leetul Gogoi for tying a man to the bonnet of a jeep in a Budgam village the day when bye elections were held in Srinagar and the man used as a human shield by Major Gogoi had casted his vote earlier in the day.

The likes of Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh praise Army Chief for awarding Major Leetul Gogoi for tying a man to the bonnet of a jeep who had casted his vote.

So Major Leetul Gogoi has virtually punished a civilian for casting his vote and not a stone pelter for pelting stones on government forces on the encounter site. Interestingly the man tied to the bonnet of the jeep by the army was a PDP sympathizer but the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who also holds the presidency of her party does not bother to question the right to praise the army chief for awarding commendation to Major Leetul Gogoi for tying a voter to the bonnet of the Jeep. Such provocative actions can push more and more youth to militancy and force people to keep away from the elections in the presence of provocative actions by army, paramilitaries and police. Army tying a man to the bonnet of a jeep after casting his vote shows how elections are conducted in Kashmir and who are the people responsible for eroding the faith of people in the power of ballot. Interestingly the recent by-election in Srinagar parliamentary constituency saw a voter turnout of just 7 per cent in Srinagar parliamentary constituency and government was forced to cancel another phase of parliamentary by election in South Kashmir the home turf of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The killing of eight civilians on Election Day in parts of Budgam district forced the Election Commission to review the conduct of elections in South where intensity of the public outrage against the mainstream politics is much deeper and wider. This should have set alarm bells ringing in major power centers in Delhi as the cancellation of bye election enforced by the huge public resentment in presence of the fresh breed of militants in Kashmir sent out a message that youth are predominantly becoming games changers in Jammu & Kashmir state.

As the youth let down by Mehbooba government after last year’s unrest are yet to recover from the shocks of last year’s civilian deaths, the fresh wave of protests against the killing of top Hizb Ul Mujahideen Commander Sabzar Bhat is message to Modi government in Delhi and Mehbooba government in Srinagar that blinding of scores of youths by pellets has not been forgotten by Kashmiris. Total denial of judicial probe into last year’s civilian deaths by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the floor of assembly during budget session in Jammu early this year deepened disillusionment and cynicism that is setting in the Kashmiri electorate with the Indian polity.

(—-The contributor of this cover story is Editor-In Chief of English Daily “The Kashmir Horizon)Sabzaar killed in Tra

Post a Comment Using Facebook Login

Comments are closed.