Over the last few weeks, the Kashmir Valley has witnessed killings of persons belonging to religious minorities and of natives from other states. The Valley has seen a shift in the pattern of violence & modus operandi of terrorist outfits. Civilians are being targeted to spread the message that they do not belong here and thus will not be accepted. J&K is home to all communities be it Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or any other religion. It has always nurtured them and they lived fearless until nineties when the Kashmiri Pandits were forcefully exiled. An almost similar situation is likely to be triggered by the recent killings which include three civilians in Srinagar & Bandipora, a principal & teacher of government school in Srinagar, leading pharmacist Mr Makhan Lal Bindroo, street vendors & labourers from Bihar & UP and several others. A total of 25 civilians had been killed till September. The minority communities have started feeling scared & helpless and thus have started fleeing the place. Separatists justify these killings for making Kashmir a land of pure, which is far from truth. This inhuman act of the terrorists has given a severe blow to the principle of ‘Insaniyat, Jhamooriyat and Kashmiriyat’ with which every true Kashmiri identifies himself. The persons killed were in no way involved in any anti-national or anti-terrorist activity and were respected amongst the locals for their humane work. What were terrorists trying to prove by killing principal, teacher, pharmacist and daily wager who all were contributing in developing Kashmir in one way or the other?
The locals have condemned the killings. However, we are yet to see open condemnation on wide scale of these killings. The terrorists who killed these innocent citizens were hiding among the locals before the attack and have again taken shelter among them. People who rally and disturb day to day life on just killings of terrorists are keeping quiet on unjust killings of civilians at the hands of these terrorists. The policy of appeasing terrorists has to be shunned if Kashmir really wants to see ‘Naya Kashmir’. Since the Abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, Kashmir has seen development in various spheres, however, these incidents again push the society back. We have all seen the impact of increased terrorist activity. The kids can’t go to school, can’t get good education and as a result don’t get jobs and are forced to pick up arms or throw stones to overcome poverty. These young kids then either get eliminated by security forces or found themselves in jail. Who is responsible for shattering their dreams of a successful and peaceful life?? Who is paying the price of these merciless killings? The answer to all these questions is us – The local Kashmiri. It is the present society which is sheltering the terrorists who are destroying their kids’ future. We have seen how mass killings of Kashmiri Pandits and their exodus in 90s adversely affected our society. Who is getting benefitted by continuous turmoil of Kashmir? Its our notorious neighbor – Pakistan.
The security situation in the valley has improved drastically in last few years. Security Forces have been able to curb infiltration from across the border and a large number of foreign as well as local terrorists including the leadership have been neutralized. The destruction of terrorist support system, sources of funding and recruitment, Over Ground Workers etc has led to frustration and desperation among the handlers of terrorist groups and they changed their strategy by targeting unarmed policemen, politicians, persons belonging to religious minorities & from outside the state.
The trend of such killings is an attempt by the terrorist outfits and separatists to destabilize the Valley, hamper the security situation and prevent Security Forces from carrying out their task. It is thus time for the people of Kashmir to stand united and prevent the separatists and terrorists from succeeding in their ill motives of creating a rift among the residents. The people of Kashmir and the Security Forces need to work together to avoid recurrence of a situation like that of Kashmiri pandits. The locals need to be more pro-active and vigilant and support Security Forces by identifying and locating the terrorists and separatists so that such incidents can be prevented. The future of our kids is in our hands and now more than ever, we have to decide how we want to see our kids; a gun wielding terrorist who can die any day or a responsible citizen who is contributing towards growth of peaceful society where his kids can grow.
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of Daily Gadyal/ JKNS.