THE PATTERN, THE MESSAGING BEHIND THE KILLINGS IN KASHMIR

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Targeting KPs, Non-Locals

 

by Bisma Nazir

 

The Pattern, The Messaging Behind The Killings In Kashmir

The civilian killings by terrorists in Kashmir, particularly of non-locals and those from the minority community, have a definite pattern. The killings, according to my understanding, are of two categories. They are perpetrated either by listed terrorists or hybrid ones.

Kashmir Central presents a case study in the killing of some of the members of the minority community and non- local labours. The study has revealed that there is a definite pattern to them, and also a specific design behind these killings.

The killing of poor labours and low profile members of the minority community in any part of the Kashmir valley is executed by unlisted hybrid terrorists. The targets are identified by the hybrid terrorist himself.

Rite Of Passage

The police and security forces have learnt that these killings are always a test for the hybrid militant, after which he formally joins the terrorist ranks. The target may even survive, because the pistol-bearing hybrid terrorist is not trained. He learns from YouTube handle the pistol and how to shoot. He has not gone through any physical training yet.

This is why in many cases, the targets survive because the hybrid militant is not a professional or trained shooter. Police records accessed by Kashmir Central reveals that non-local individuals of poor background like labourers or small vendors, or members are the minority community are hit by untrained hybrid militants.

The study of hybrids turning into militants suggests that their handlers accept them in the ranks only after they fire at a target. In a study of more than 10 cases, Kashmir Central learned that the perpetrators named in FIRs in each killing formally joined militant ranks after carrying out the attack.

A street vendor named Arbind Kumar Sah was killed on October 16,2021 in Eidgah area of Srinagar city. The vendor was shot at close range by a pistol-bearing hybrid militant. Sah died on the spot.

Police records reveal that the hybrid militant joined militant ranks soon after the incident.

The same pattern was seen in the killing of Puran Krishan Bhat, a Kashmiri Pandit, on October 24, 2022 in Shopian. The OGW who was accused of carrying out the attack fled from his home and joined militant ranks.

On August 18, militants killed Sunil Kumar and injured Paitamber Kumar inside an orchard in Chotipora village of Shopian. Similarly, some OGWs were involved in the shooting of non-local labours and other low profile soft targets before they formally joined militant groups.

 Killings By Trained Militants, Foreign Terrorists

Strategically Discussed, Identified, Meticulously Executed

The second category of target killing involves designated and trained militants including foreign terrorists. These are the strategically discussed, identified and meticulously executed killings.

The messaging in each category is as different as the method in the execution. In this category of high profile killings, there are two precedents. In some cases the terrorists issue a hit list of high profile targets and then wait for the opportunity to kill the person.

We saw this pattern in the killing of senior journalist Shujat Bukhari, Lawyer Babar Qadri and many others from different social and political backgrounds.

People occupying eminent positions like Panchs and Sarpanchs are often named by the terrorists on their hit-lists. People like non-local labourers are randomly targeted as and when opportunity is available. In most of the cases, the justification in offered after the killing is executed.

The Killing Of Makhan Lal Bindroo

Take for instance the killing of leading pharmacist Makhan Lal Bindroo. Bindroo was killed on October 6, 2021 at his medical shop near Iqbal Park in Srinagar. Bindroo had over the years earned name, fame and respectability among the people in the whole Kashmir valley for his philanthropy and kind heartedness. Terrorists , in order to justify the killing of Bindroo, issued a statement alleging that he was a functionary of RSS. The fact remains that Bindroo was not even remotely affilated with any ideology.

All the evidences suggest that Bindroo’s killing was a meticulously planned and executed affair involving trained terrorists. According to police reports, the killing of Bindroo was executed by notorious killers Mehran, Basit and a foreign terrorist. Mehran and Basit were killed on November 24, 2021 in  a brief shootout at Rambagh in  Srinagar.

On May 12, 2022, terrorists shot Kashmiri Pandit Rahul Bhat inside the revenue office where he worked in Budgam. This was also executed by designated terrorists. Ajay Bharti, an elected Corporator in Anantnag and another elected town area chairman of Tral  Ajay Pandita were also killed by identified militants. Both were Kashmiri Pandits.

The purpose and intent behind each killing is to create fear among the people and keep all walks of life under constant fear.

 

 

 

 

The Narrative Behind The Killing

There is definitely a narrative behind each killing. We have been witnessing since long that each civilian killing is being justified on one pretext or the other.

The culture of targeting non-local labours is blamed by the terrorists on the abrogation of Article 370. They cite the narrative of “demographic change” for such inhuman acts.

Similarly the killing of Kashmiri Pandits is linked to the community’s “endorsement” of the decision to abrogate Article 370. Whatever the narrative, the objective is to keep the pot boiling, create fear among the people and deter the efforts of peace and normalcy.

 

 

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