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Targeted Killings are Self Defeating

The release of Special Police Officer (SPO) Mudasir Ahmad Lone who was abducted from his house in Chankitar Village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district by Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants on Friday night has come as a big relief for his family members. With a video on social media in which Mudasir is being told by a militant “We had planned to kill you but we are releasing you because you have three younger sisters and you are their only support,” it appears that HM paid heed the frantic appeals made by the abducted SPO’s family members.
As this is the first instance in recent times when militants have released an abducted SPO unharmed, this incident also brought hope to family members of Kashmiris serving in the army, paramilitary forces and police that their men folk would be harmed when they came home on leave. However, those who saw Mudasir’s release as a sign that abductions and killing of locals serving in the security forces and police by militants in Kashmir would end were in for a rude shock. Just within hours after Mudasir’s release, militants barged into the house of Naseer Ahmad Rather in Naira village of Pulwama district and shot him dead.
Naseer who was serving with the CRPF and posted in Pulwama had come home on leave when he was killed. This killing has undone whatever goodwill that the militants had earned by releasing Mudasir unharmed. I’m told that tongues have already started wagging with some people claiming that the abducted SPO was released not because he had three younger sisters and a mother to look after but only since the HM leadership realised that as Mudasir was only a cook, his murder would draw widespread public criticism!
Why are no voices being raised against militants killing Kashmiris who are serving with the forces and police when they come home on leave? I would like to ask those who support the ‘armed struggle’ that doesn’t killing of unarmed people (even if they are soldiers or policemen) tarnish the ‘freedom struggle’? I wish to ask those who want the world to believe that that militancy in Kashmir cannot be equated with terrorism that with such killings becoming a routine affair how can you ever expect that the international community will agree with your point of view and consider such incidents as legitimate acts and not terrorism?
Does a person born and brought up in Kashmir who joins the security forces or police in order to earn a livelihood and feed his family cease to be a Kashmiri? And if the answer is ‘no’ then why is there no public expression of sorrow on such killings and anger against the killers? With no intention to belittle any person or organisation I would like to say that the ‘self determination’ movement has already suffered a great deal since our leaders have allowed militants to have their way. And though they may be ridiculed and ostracised, but those who don’t approve of the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir have very strong reasons for their convictions.
Today we are all merrily celebrating the UNHRC report highlighting human rights violations in Kashmir since we have been told that it has put New Delhi in the dock. However, those who have read this report may not be that enthralled because it also indicts our ‘freedom fighters’. Paragraph 136 of Chapter 6 (Abuses by armed groups) mentions that “Between January 2016 and April 2018, civil society organizations have accused members of armed groups of numerous attacks against civilians, off-duty police personnel and army personnel on leave, including the killing of 16 to 20 civilians. Some of the alleged attacks include the killing of activists of mainstream political parties and threats against their leaders.” And when the UNHRC itself has taken a serious note of such killings then how we justify the same?
The UNHRC report also has several other adverse observations against militant groups like:
“Three of these armed groups (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harakat Ul-Mujahidin) are listed on the Security Council “ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions List” for their activities in Indian-Administered Kashmir among other places.
“The report of the United Nations Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict for 2017 referred to at least 30 schools burned and partially destroyed by armed groups in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016.”
“A major episode of attacks against civilians by armed groups operating in the Kashmir Valley is that against the minority Hindus, known as Kashmiri Pandits. These attacks and threats from armed groups forced hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits to flee Kashmir and seek shelter in Jammu and other parts of India.”
What contribution militancy has made to the ‘self determination’ struggle remains a moot point but one thing is certain- it has left us completely isolated. And today with Pakistan currently on the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ‘grey list’ for its failure to curb anti-terror financing, Islamabad’s support to the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is of no value. Therefore, it would be prudent to holistically evaluate whether the ‘armed struggle in Kashmir today is an asset or just a liability?

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