THE situation in Kashmir has been marred by a complex history of conflict and violence. Over the years, there have been various instances of violence, including innocent killings by terrorists and Pakistan-sponsored proxies in the Valley.
Terrorism in Kashmir has resulted in numerous casualties, including innocent civilians, security personnel and the militants themselves. These acts have caused immense suffering and loss within the region. Militants have been held responsible for targetting civilians, unarmed policemen and ground level political activists that often lead to tragic and unnecessary loss of life.
It’s no news that Pakistan is supporting and sponsoring terrorism in Kashmir, providing moral, financial and logistical support to militant groups. It’s important to acknowledge that innocent civilians have been caught in the crossfire, and there have been ruthless killings due to ground support and mileage provided by miscreants on the ground.
- The bloodshed this year
The Valley has witnessed numerous incidents of innocent killings this year. Although, the number has been comparatively lesser than previous years, but the past two weeks saw a spike in such killings. In October, a police inspector of the Jammu and Kashmir Police was grievously injured after being fired at by terrorists near the Eidgah mosque of Srinagar. Following the incident, he was admitted to a nearby hospital where the inspector has been still fighting for his life. The incident happened when Inspector Masroor Ahmad Wani was playing cricket with some local boys at the Eidgah ground.
Just recently, on November 1, another police head constable, residing in an under-construction house, Ghulam Mohammad Dar, was killed outside his residence in Kralpora area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The killing has rendered the family inconsolable which was preparing for an imminent wedding of a daughter. Dar’s family, particularly his seven daughters, have been plunged into despair. Their father, the sole breadwinner, was snatched away with such cruelty. A cloud of sorrow has hung over their household since then, darkening their lives as they struggle to come to terms with their loss.
“We are doomed. We just had our father, now we have no one,” laments Dar’s eldest daughter. She vividly recalls the ill-fated evening when her father had been accompanying a labourer to his home. It was meant to be a routine task, but in an instant, their world was shattered. “When he was close to the house, we heard a loud shout and ran outside. And we saw our father lying there, his blood-splattered body with no breath,” she recounts, her pain etched across her face.
In another incident a few days ago, in Nowpora village of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, a labourer named Mukesh from the state of Uttar Pradesh lost his life to a militant attack.
The region hadn’t witnessed such a spate of target killings and attacks for over a year, rekindling painful memories of a turbulent past in the Kashmir Valley.
Earlier this year, in January, in a tragic and horrifying incident, a group of terrorists had unleashed a heinous attack, barging into the residence of a civilian family in Rajouri, killing four persons. The attack was the first of its kind in which minority civilians were targetted so ruthlessly.
- The endless test of resilience
As the community mourns the loss of these innocent lives, there is a unified call for solidarity and resilience in the face of such tragic events, emphasising the importance of standing together against terror and striving for peace and harmony in the region.
A little-known outfit named the Kashmir Freedom Fighters (KFF) and The Resistance Front (TRF) has claimed responsibilities for different attacks this year. These devastating attacks serve as a grim reminder of the persistent threat posed by terrorism and the urgent need for concerted efforts to combat such acts of violence that aim to disrupt the peace and stability of the region. The devastated families who lost their loved ones are the ones facing the brunt and their ordeal is un-paralleled.
- New tactics
These new groups have been using new tactics in their attacks. In the past, militants directed most of their fire at armed security forces. They did not own up to killing civilians – usually political party workers or suspected informers – as the Kashmiri society does not approve of such actions. Militants now claim the killings openly, if not proudly. They have highly specific intelligence about the identity and location of the targets. Every Indian who migrates to the region – even a labourer who has travelled to Kashmir for temporary work and is not seeking residency – is now a legitimate target in the militants’ eyes. At least nine migrant labourers have been killed or injured in 2022 alone.
- The unfortunate numbers
As per police records, a total of 47 terrorists were killed and 204 apprehended in multiple operations conducted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and other security forces in Jammu and Kashmir till September this year, official sources reveal.
The data further reveals that a total of 111 terrorists are currently active in Jammu and Kashmir, including 40 local terrorists and 71 foreign terrorists.
Targetting innocents out of madness is sheer barbarism. There has to be harder work to be able to anticipate and avoid such attacks beforehand. The security personnel and the establishment must treat the killings of the innocent and the unarmed as a big threat that could silence the sane voices in the Valley.