By M.M. Khjooria

The Jehadi tornado that hit the valley of Kashmir fallowing elimination of terror poster boy  Burhan wani  in an encounter on July 8th was neither spontaneous  nor leaderless..

The ground situation  had been painstakingly assessed and necessary inputs made to render it favourable for  the thrust. An Axis of Kashmir Salafi Jammat Ahil-Hadees-,Hafiz Syed led terrorist combine, the separatist Geelani -Yasin Malik – Mirwaiz trio was painstakingly  stitched  to  launch a massive Street Action-Terrorist putsch  as soon as  strategically feasible.

Ali Shah  Geelani, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Yasin Malik, working on cross purposes were pressurised by Rawalpindi to come on a common platform  at the  preparatory stage itself.

While Pakistan was exerting every nerve to perfect the axis and fine tune operational details, its task was hugely facilitated by formation of PDP-BJP coalition despite a massive, acrimonious and vicious nay venomous electoral campaign. In a no holds barred hurricane electioneering  PM Modi   persistently and pointedly   targeted “Baap-Beti Ki Sarkar” and promised  to personally  rid the state of their corrupt, dynastic and pro-separatist rule.

The PDP  responded in the same coin  vowing  that Modi and his “communal anti-Muslim   BJP “will  never  be allowed a foot hold in Kashmir”. Alarmed  separatist leaders and their masters in Rawapindi  jumped in the fray in aid of PDP. The Kashhmiri  electorate  also responded positively and gave the party an unprecedented mandate. BJP drew blank in Kashmir. The victory celebrations were still on   when Mufti delivered  the stunning blow.

The PDP decided to form a coalition with the ‘hated Anti-Muslim BJP/ RSS,’ . The government took off on a note of “bravado” with Mufti publically acknowledging contribution of Pakistan and separatists in the successful conduct of elections. This was followed by release of Masarat Alam  in a bid to show “Who was in command” so as  assuage the popular anger.

The balloon was, however soon pricked when Masarat Alam had to be rearrested.  The mounting wave of disillusionment  and anger  was  further stoked by rabid  anti-Muslim statements  by elements within BJP and Sangh Parivar talking of “Muslim Mukat Bharat”, “ Ghar Wapsi ‘and ‘Love Jehad etc. As no  action  was taken against them either by the central government or BJP leadership , both  were perceived to be complicit . So was the  ‘sheepish ‘PDP leaderships’ which observed culpable  silence  thereby enhancing  insecurity, apprehensions  and alienation .

The people gave went to the seething anger and massive alienation from India as well as the PDP  in the Anantnag bye-election .   Membooba Mufti , the incumbent Chief Minister was unable to hold a single pubic rally and the vote percentage dropped from 39.77% in 2014 to 35% in 2016 by poll.  Presently  not only her constituency but entire South Kasmir was out of bound for all political parties.

Permissiveness achieved a new high and law enforcement touched the rock bottom  as the State practically connived at the public defiance of  the High court directive to enforce the   Law prohibiting Cow slaughter existing on the statue since decades . By contrast, elsewhere in the country persons suspected t be in possession of small quantity of Beef were murdered.

The flying of Pakistan and ISI flags was  almost legitimised forgetting that these were not mere pieces of cloth but symbols of the most poisonous , brutal and dangerous wahabi/ Salafi terrorist ideology. as well as that of Abu Bagdadi led   Pan-Islamic  caliphate , bent upon spreading its deadly tentacles across the globe. Given the radicalised environment Kashmiri  Muslim youth were acutely vulnerable. As if to prove the point clad in  Army fatiques carrying AKs Burhan Wani appeared on the social media surrounded by his  hangers on. In the back ground hung banners  with words “Islamic Khilafat” and “Jihad for”  .

For   nearly five years  the Indian State was perceived to be on retreat in Kashmir. Indian Army, its strong arm,  the  ultimate instrument for asserting the state authority was   systematically demonised by the  Kashmir political class more pertinently by the   main -stream political parties ,one in power and the other the  main opposition in the state assembly.

To cut the long story short the Valley was primed to be set on fire, only elimination of Burhan wani made it happen with biggest ever bang. Who “betrayed” Burhan and at whose instance?  Strategists and cloak and dagger men debate,

The on-going  anti national upsurge in Kashmir  is professionally crafted, meticulously planned, has in place a dedicated  command structure whose diktat is executed with military precision. The Wahabi-Pak-Hafiz Syed led terrorist combine both inspires and directs  the field ops through a network of Mosque level  Action committees  presided over mostly by the Imams .

Cadres of  Jamait Ahil-Hadith and Jamaat Islami     are tasked to mobilize crowds for which each house hold has to contribute at least one male member .   Regular roasters are maintained and defaulters punished in full public view .They   commandeer private vehicles  at will.

The crowds  mobilised  fallowing  the termination of Burhan wani   were not meant to hold protest demonstrations or put forth any demand. ,  . Brain washed, motivated and dedicated Salafeen and Jammat Islami cadres led highly charged ,deeply provoked and psychologically programmed crowd  attacked Police stations/ Posts, CRPF Pickets / bunkers and Army camps / installations for revenge killings, arson and looting / destruction of weapons and public property.

Large number of Government offices, Police and security installations were attacked, ransacked and burnt down . From some Police Stations/Posts weapons were looted and used for firing at over-whelmed police men. Groups of terrorists ensured “compliance” by thedemonstrators”.

Lashkar-i-Toiba / Hizb terrorists were detailed in  lead role in these assault groups. Remember, Hafiz Sayed had proudly told the media that the Lashkar commander in Kashmir was leading the Funeral procession of Burhan Wani. This was corroborated by the strips shown on all prominent channels.

In almost all cases of firing by the Police/Security forces resulting in civilian causalities frenzied mobs had attacked hopelessly out numbered and under seize police/ Security Forces personal leaving them with no alternative if public property were to be protected and their own lives. saved.

That the number security persons injured in these incidents matched or even exceeded the number of civilians injured speak volumes. On the other hand, the terrorists and Ahil-i-Hadees/Jammat goons exhibited extreme brutality and irrational vengeance .Take for instance the Sangam incident in South Kashmir. A reinforced heavy Police vehicle was pushed into river Jehlum along with the non-combatant driver , who was not allowed to dismount despite desperate pleas to spare his life.

Unprecedented turnout of crowds not with standing , most people of Kashmir have undoubtedly chosen not to associate with ‘the senseless violence that drives the  “Azadi movement”. The fact that enemy strategists were compelled to deploy crowds from North, South and Central Kashmir Zones by rotation to avoid fatigue and consequent dilution of grass root “support” testifies to this reality.

Their number may not be too large but prominent and aware members of the civil society did disapprove of the tactics to generate mob frenzy and provoke youngsters to be in the vanguard of mobs set to attack security personal in their bunkers, camps, Police stations and posts ,indulge in loot and arson thereby inviting firings with predictable sad consequences.  As it is  . Terrorism is essentially a minority phenomenon as researched in depth and detail and convincingly documented.

As I write this piece “the Kashmir unrest”  completes 100 days.  The number of frustrated , angry , helpless and desperate citizens was multiplying by the day. It was  hurting beyond tolerance.  Daily wagers, Shikara wallas, shop keepers and many others dependent for their livelihood on daily earnings are feeling helpless and hopeless. Parents are worried about the future of their children due to prolonged closure of educational institutions. Many have shifted their wards to Jammu   The state  administration to whom they could appeal for protection and redress. has simply evaporated into thin air.

Systems have broken down and all avenues for help and justice blocked.  Ministers are caged  in their palatial bungalows and legislatures  gone into hiding. The chest thumping  of officials is confined   to the electronic media or in the secure environments of well guarded offices beamed at even more insecure and frightened politicians, People’ anger is directed three ways. One. Against Gelani and co for insensitivity towards their sufferings and unwillingness or inability to exercise control over the ” Cadres and “Mujahids” operating under their flag. Two .

Lashkar-i-Toiba, Ahil-i-Hadees and Jammat -i-Islami leadership for unleashing their Wahabi cades/terrorists upon the helpless citizens without  accountability and any worthwhile direction or discipline. Three. The State and Central governments “for landing them in serious trouble through acts of omission and commission, escalate the conflict through mindless firings and killing / maiming and then pack up and get lost” leaving them at the mercy of gangs of goons. There is and can be no justification  for this  unprecedented unpardonable  retreat.

Numerous stories of ill treatment of men and women in distress are making rounds. This one sums up the situation succinctly   “. For weeks now,” testifies Khurshed Muzafar (What options do Kashmiris have?Geater Kashmir Sept ,10, 2016) ” common civilians have been caught between chocking curfew and the strangulating shutdown, one enforced by the paramilitary gun and the other enforced by the fear of masked youth with stones in their hands. one elderly gentleman, who was abused and turned away by stone yielding youth near 90 feet road, while on his way to SKIMS hospital for an urgent dialysis)’. The blunt advice of the stone pelting youth was ‘you can come back for dialysis ,Further comments are obviously superfluous.

“on one side” he adds “ is the niqab posh (masked youth), on the other side is the wardi posh (uniformed paramilitary) and in the middle is stuck the safaed posh (commoner ) . No one could have summed up the plight of the common man Kashmir so tellingly.  The  million dollar question is will the ‘Wardi Posh; avail of the opportunity and challenge inherent in the situation and reach out to the ‘Safed Posh ‘with sincerity and compassion unmindful of  his anger even  hatred. If I were in uniform I would grab the opportunity and accept the challenge . .

No survey of Kashmir situation can be complete and meaningful  without addressing  its psychological and political dimensions. The unanimous resolution  adopted by th Parliament reiterating that Jammu & Kashmir (as it stood on 14 August 1947 ) was an integral part of India and all issues can be resolved only under the constitution of India  was a very welcome an timely step. It will undoubtedly  help ease situation in Kashmir  if a similar resolution reiterating the sanctity of Article 370 and zero tolerance for communal acts  or utterances that hurt the religious sentiments of any community  be passed in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.

Whatever Pakistan and its recently crafted Axis may or may not be doing, the Indian state must look inwards  with total sincerity and integrity and search its conscience  to identify the areas of criminal neglect, unpardonable insensitivity and  gross inefficiency  that has consigned  our people in Kashmir  into the quagmire of  helplessness  and  the  undeserved torturous mess . And for heaven sake  assert state authority  -now and embark upon  immediate bold  surgical course correction to win back the hearts and minds of  people of  Kashmir  Yes do it now before it really is too late

(The writer is former Director General of J&K Police)