Targeted killings continue in Kashmir, no easy answers come to fore

Murders fit into a fear-creating pattern in the Valley

Arun Joshi

One more targeted killing in Kashmir on Tuesday has yet again opened a host of questions why there is no end to such coldblooded murders in the Valley where extraordinary normalcy is being projected with the pictures and visuals of tourists having gala time dominate the airwaves. True as it is there are no easy answers to these questions and there cannot be any as there are different sides with their own versions about the killings and the reasons thereof.

Rajni Bala, hailing from Nanak Chak village of Samba district of Jammu region, serving as a teacher in Gopalpora area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district was gunned down by terrorists on May 31 morning, exactly 19 days after the killing of Kashmiri Pandit employee Rahul Bhat in his office in  Chadoora of Budgam district in Central Kashmir on May 12. Then there have been the killings of off-duty policemen and also that of Amreen  Bhat, a TV actor who was the sole bread earner for her family, on May 25. These are not the killing of individuals. All these murders fit into a fear-creating pattern in the Valley, the reverberations of which would be felt all across besides denting the image of Kashmir emerging out of woods of uncertainty and all pervasive fear of the past.

The bloody matrix of the terror attacks in Kashmir is linked to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism as it is entrenched in the mindset that everything going wrong in Kashmir is all due to  Islamabad and Rawalpindi‘s trouble stoking tactics. Pakistan, no doubt is guilty of shielding and exporting terrorism, through physical infiltration of terrorists from across the Line of Control- the borderline between the  Indian and Pakistani parts of Jammu and  Kashmir, as also through anti-India rhetoric within its own boundaries and international for a- it serves as nectar to the atmosphere of terrorism as the interests converge n running down India as a country which suppresses Muslims through all sorts of repressive measures, particularly Kashmiris. Added to this is Pakistan’s traditional campaign of distorting facts on the airwaves, especially on social media to provoke the youth against the Indian rule in Kashmir.

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Pakistan has multiple factors to do all that it is doing – to divert attention from its domestic political and economic turbulence and also to showcase India in bad spotlight, and also to put extra pressure on India to open dialogue with it. This is a contradiction in itself, but this is how it is.

Pakistan is not the only factor, though it may sound at odds with the widely held view in the country. Pakistan weapons, drugs, and bombs are coming via infiltration and dropped through drones. In the past few months, Pakistan has intensified the use of dropping bombs and guns in border areas through drones. On Sunday (May 29) a drone laden with high-quality bombs and guns was shot down by J&K police in the border area of Hiranagar in Jammu region. This was a deadly material which could have caused havoc had it been accessed by the terrorists operating in J&K.

The internal factors are being looked at as an ecosystem in which terrorism thrives. This is a reflection about the sympathisers of the terrorists, and this category can be divided into three – ( a ) – those who believe in violence because they think that this is the only way to give expression to their anger against the system, ( b)  those keen on taking revenge for what they perceive as injustice having been done to them in the past 32 years of violence in the Valley  ( c) those who have nothing to do and feel that there is no hope for them in the current environment, these are essentially jobless youth. Those directly involved in peddling the cycle of violence get support from the vested interests as also those who draw vicarious pleasure from the destabilizing effect of the acts of terror.

The targeted killings are also seen through a communal prism- the local Muslims and non-Muslims, mostly who have come for manual or government jobs from outside the Valley. Even the Kashmiri pandit migrants, the original inhabitants of the Valley though they were forced by the hostile environment to leave the Valley in 1990, leaving their homes and hearths behind in their motherland, are also considered outsiders. This binary has found acceptance in Kashmir. This is multiplying problem.

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