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10-17-2019     3 رجب 1440

The Terror Within

October 05, 2019 | Niloofar Qureshi

Despite what the government says, things aren’t normal in Kashmir. In fact, the situation now is even more alarming than ever before because in contrast to the routine practice of people clashing with the police and militants fighting the security forces, the current trend is that of Kashmiris going after fellow Kashmiris and militants intimidating and targeting civilians.
At a time when Kashmir is under international spotlight, rampant instances of violence within our society by our own people and ‘freedom fighters’ terrorising civilians doesn’t convey a positive impression to the world. Moreover, when this happens, who do we blame for our miseries and how can we convince the world that we are being oppressed by an ‘occupation force’? Since none of our leaders have come out and urged the people not to harm each other, there are bright chances that the international community might interpret this silence as complicity.
Apple growers have been sending their produce all over India since times immemorial and even though the valley experienced long periods of road closure during protests in the last three decades, this practice was never ceased or suspended. However, this time apple growers are in a fix as posters bearing letterhead of Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT) warning them to stop sending their apples outside J&K and threatening them with “dire consequences” have appeared in the apple growing belts. And with at least three incidents of apple traders being shot at by ‘unidentified persons’ in the last month itself, the LeT has made it clear that it means business.
The recent incidents of an apple grower being stabbed in Shopian followed by apple crates awaiting shipment being set on fire by unidentified miscreants in Pulwama district and torching of two motorcycles in Anantnag district just because their owners were plying on the road may appear to be minor and unrelated. However, these incidents are symptoms of the growing trend of vigilantism that is rapidly gaining popularity amongst our youth and civil society keeping silent on such acts reflects societal acceptance. We seem to have forgotten how during the summer agitation of 2016, the public faced unnecessary harassment and humiliation at the hands of our own youth who went around enforcing movement restrictions even when the Hurriyat had declared relaxation.Is it not true things had reached such a stage that people had to request Hurriyat to intervene?
The other day, friend of mine from Sopore who looks after his family business of apple trade had come down to Delhi. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he confided that life in Kashmir had become extremely stressful due to the threats issued by militants and the fear of being targeted by vigilantes. Unfortunately, for people in his line of business there was other no alternative but to sell apples and his family spent sleepless nights every time they heard about an apple grower being attacked. However, those connected with the apple industry aren’t the only ones under threat. Shopkeepers, those who commute to work or have to use their own transport to run an urgent errand are now mortally afraid of venturing out because the vigilante groups imposing movement ban are notorious for being inconsiderate, short tempered and extremely violent.
The fear of militants and vigilante groups have brought not only commerce but also daily life to a standstill. However, those who think that a forced shutdown can be passed off as a sign of public outrage against scrapping of Article 370 and 35A are mistaken because the international community is aware of the strong-arm tactics being used to intimidate people. And this is evident from the fact that even a renowned barrister like Khawar Qureshi has advised Islamabad not to file a case against New Delhi in the International Court of Justice for genocide in Kashmir as it has no chances of getting a favourable judgment.
After the recently concluded UNGA meet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said in a press conference that Prime Minister Imran Khan had around 70 direct or indirect interactions with world leaders, think tanks and international media prior to the UNGA meet while Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi too held 50 meetings to sensitise the world leaders regarding the recent developments in Kashmir. Unfortunately, except for Beijing, Turkey and Malaysia, no one else brought up the issue of Kashmir at UNGA and though PM Khan may be right to some extent in putting blame for lack of global concern towards Kashmir on commercial interests of the international community, it’s definitely not the one and only reason!
What the Hurriyat doesn’t realise is that since it has taken the responsibility of leading the ‘self determination’ movement in Kashmir and Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani has acknowledged that “we never denied or ignored the role of gun in our struggle,” the separatist conglomerate is answerable for what militants do. Likewise, even if the Hurriyat says that it has nothing to do with the activities of vigilante groups, its declaration of being the true representatives of Kashmiris makes the joint resistance leadership morally responsible for the actions of these fringe elements. Merely saying that “We cannot say we are in absolute control of the situation,” (like Geelani sahib did during the 2016 unrest) will not satisfy the international community. So, if we want to be taken seriously, then we have to ensure that the terror within stops and violence by our people against their own brethren ends!

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The Terror Within

October 05, 2019 | Niloofar Qureshi

Despite what the government says, things aren’t normal in Kashmir. In fact, the situation now is even more alarming than ever before because in contrast to the routine practice of people clashing with the police and militants fighting the security forces, the current trend is that of Kashmiris going after fellow Kashmiris and militants intimidating and targeting civilians.
At a time when Kashmir is under international spotlight, rampant instances of violence within our society by our own people and ‘freedom fighters’ terrorising civilians doesn’t convey a positive impression to the world. Moreover, when this happens, who do we blame for our miseries and how can we convince the world that we are being oppressed by an ‘occupation force’? Since none of our leaders have come out and urged the people not to harm each other, there are bright chances that the international community might interpret this silence as complicity.
Apple growers have been sending their produce all over India since times immemorial and even though the valley experienced long periods of road closure during protests in the last three decades, this practice was never ceased or suspended. However, this time apple growers are in a fix as posters bearing letterhead of Lashkar-e-Toiba(LeT) warning them to stop sending their apples outside J&K and threatening them with “dire consequences” have appeared in the apple growing belts. And with at least three incidents of apple traders being shot at by ‘unidentified persons’ in the last month itself, the LeT has made it clear that it means business.
The recent incidents of an apple grower being stabbed in Shopian followed by apple crates awaiting shipment being set on fire by unidentified miscreants in Pulwama district and torching of two motorcycles in Anantnag district just because their owners were plying on the road may appear to be minor and unrelated. However, these incidents are symptoms of the growing trend of vigilantism that is rapidly gaining popularity amongst our youth and civil society keeping silent on such acts reflects societal acceptance. We seem to have forgotten how during the summer agitation of 2016, the public faced unnecessary harassment and humiliation at the hands of our own youth who went around enforcing movement restrictions even when the Hurriyat had declared relaxation.Is it not true things had reached such a stage that people had to request Hurriyat to intervene?
The other day, friend of mine from Sopore who looks after his family business of apple trade had come down to Delhi. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he confided that life in Kashmir had become extremely stressful due to the threats issued by militants and the fear of being targeted by vigilantes. Unfortunately, for people in his line of business there was other no alternative but to sell apples and his family spent sleepless nights every time they heard about an apple grower being attacked. However, those connected with the apple industry aren’t the only ones under threat. Shopkeepers, those who commute to work or have to use their own transport to run an urgent errand are now mortally afraid of venturing out because the vigilante groups imposing movement ban are notorious for being inconsiderate, short tempered and extremely violent.
The fear of militants and vigilante groups have brought not only commerce but also daily life to a standstill. However, those who think that a forced shutdown can be passed off as a sign of public outrage against scrapping of Article 370 and 35A are mistaken because the international community is aware of the strong-arm tactics being used to intimidate people. And this is evident from the fact that even a renowned barrister like Khawar Qureshi has advised Islamabad not to file a case against New Delhi in the International Court of Justice for genocide in Kashmir as it has no chances of getting a favourable judgment.
After the recently concluded UNGA meet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said in a press conference that Prime Minister Imran Khan had around 70 direct or indirect interactions with world leaders, think tanks and international media prior to the UNGA meet while Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi too held 50 meetings to sensitise the world leaders regarding the recent developments in Kashmir. Unfortunately, except for Beijing, Turkey and Malaysia, no one else brought up the issue of Kashmir at UNGA and though PM Khan may be right to some extent in putting blame for lack of global concern towards Kashmir on commercial interests of the international community, it’s definitely not the one and only reason!
What the Hurriyat doesn’t realise is that since it has taken the responsibility of leading the ‘self determination’ movement in Kashmir and Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani has acknowledged that “we never denied or ignored the role of gun in our struggle,” the separatist conglomerate is answerable for what militants do. Likewise, even if the Hurriyat says that it has nothing to do with the activities of vigilante groups, its declaration of being the true representatives of Kashmiris makes the joint resistance leadership morally responsible for the actions of these fringe elements. Merely saying that “We cannot say we are in absolute control of the situation,” (like Geelani sahib did during the 2016 unrest) will not satisfy the international community. So, if we want to be taken seriously, then we have to ensure that the terror within stops and violence by our people against their own brethren ends!


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.