An ordinary Kashmiri’s appeal for peace

Kashmir Times. Dated: 1/6/2019 11:00:36 PM

To,
United Jehad Council supremo, Mr Syed Salah-u-Din,
The year 2018 has been a bloody one with the killing and bloodshed marking a new low, since the three decades of armed insurgency. The year 2018 started with the fidayeen attack at Lethpora, Pulwama and ended with the encounter in which four militants were killed in Rajpora, Pulwama. Hundreds of civilians were killed too and properties worth millions were destroyed as collateral damage during 2018. In many encounters more than three militants were killed with minimal damage to the forces. I am aware of the fact that contemporary Kashmir insurgency that I term as post militancy phase is more lethal, ideologically driven with less control from Pakistan than their predecessors but despite its lethality it has proved little threat to the security forces that they have tamed them very easily. In a way they are happy to eliminate these militants to earn promotions and bucks that each killing brings with it. If there is no insurgency, the vested interests will surely invent one. Given the fact that the militarization imposes innumerable and unbearable atrocities against a common Kashmiri and in most cases they are driven against the wall where they seek refuge in the armed insurgency. So what is the next step?
To train these youth who have opted for the armed insurgency and provide them with the arms and ammunition. But Mr Muhammad Yusuf Shah aka Salahuddin, you as the chairman of the United Jihad Council (UJC) have failed on both counts. Crossing the border is not as simple as it used to be in 1990s. Further due to the Pakistani governmental pressure most training camps in Azad Kashmir have closed down. So, with minimal or no training the youth who opt for armed insurgency have been rendered as sitting lame ducks for the battle hardened and well-trained Indian army and Kashmir police. Also, these untrained youth surely do not qualify as insurgents. I refuse to call them as insurgents but they are civilians who have taken the route to insurgency for different reasons. In this unequal war our youth are just being consumed by the draconian machinery of the state. Let me be blunter and document that they are opting for suicide while choosing insurgency. The insurgents have been reduced just to cannon fodder whose corpses become a symbol of our unity and display of hate against India. The use of the dead bodies as relics serves no purpose but only that of reinforcing our anger against the state, whereas in most cases the insurgents die without causing any substantial damage to the security forces or police. Instead the residential houses where they have sought refuge are destroyed as collateral damage. The innocent civilians are rendered shelterless, with saving of their whole lives lying in ruins. In most encounters the insurgents are able to inflict minimal damage on forces that point out their lack of training.
If the lack of training was not enough, there is dearth of arms and ammunition. So we are a witness to a spree of events wherein the insurgents have killed the Kashmiri policemen and looted their weapons. So, a Kashmir is killing a Kashmiri. Also, a new low in the history of insurgency is involvement of teenagers who surely do not have an iota of understanding the intricacies of politics and insurgency. So there certainly needs to be a criterion for the youth who opt for militancy. Earlier Tahreek ul Mujahideen outfit sent back a teenager Fazian Majeed Bhat of Naibugh, Tral who was deemed too young to be an insurgent. But the killing of Mudasir Ahmad Parray (14) of Hajin proved to be new low in the post militancy phase. To add insult to injury the ISIS style beheading of a drug addict alleged to be a spy reinforces the fact that something in terribly wrong with the insurgency.
Mr Salahuddin are you sitting the other side of fence enjoying the hospitality of Pakistani state that you hold no control on the insurgents active on ground? Is the Kashmiri blood still running in your veins or has it been diluted given the reason that you have been away from home for so long? Can't you understand that a new generation of Kashmiri youth is getting annihilated by walking in the footsteps of their predecessors? If the first generation of militants who where well trained, equipped and numbering in thousands could not dislodge the mighty Indian state, how came the current batch of insurgents who are ill trained and equipped though highly motivated make any difference? Or is it Pakistan that is playing the second fiddle by using Kashmir youth for its proxy war against India? Also have you ever thought why a certain age group of youth only becomes insurgents? Why not our elders, retired and adults opt for insurgency? Is armed insurgency helping us in achieving our goal of right to self determination? Since last thirty years we have failed to achieve anything substantial despite offering sacrifices that can be envious for any resisting nation. But inspite of such immense sacrifices we have failed to make our sacrifices count on the world level. India has grown stronger, mightier and our sacrifices have failed to make it isolated in the comity of nations.
Also, with the emergence of Al Qaeda and ISIS as trans-Muslim insurgent groups whom your goodself earlier invited to fight in Kashmir and now you deny their presence, has added new dimensions to the complex web of insurgency. Anyways, the fundamental issue that their presence raked up is about the religious status of Kashmir Jihad?
The Al Qaeda unit led by Zakir Musa has categorically stated that those who are fighting political battle in Kashmir are led astray and the basic struggle is religious in nature that demands the establishment of Caliphate. So, the struggle in Kashmir is basically religious in nature not political. This has led to the confusion among the militant ranks and divided the masses too. It was the same tussle that your goodself alongwith a faction of ideologues of Jamaat e Islami started in 1990s, when you described the armed struggle as religious in nature while discrediting the militants of Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Due to this Islamic and non Islamic debate about nature of Kashmiri insurgency, Hizbul Mujahideen killed hundreds of JKLF militants in one of the bloodiest internecine battles. This fact however cannot be discounted that it was JKLF that initiated the armed insurgency in Kashmir, but your goodself at the behest of Pakistan and some Islamic ideologues described them as secularists, nationalists, communists, even anti god and Islam thus justifying and legitimizing their killings. So is such an internecine battle once again staring us in the eye that will harm us instead of being any threat to the state? You have issued no circular, order or message to clear this confusion.
I as a Kashmiri youth, who has lived the conflict during the last thirty years of my life, request you to announce a unilateral ceasefire. I as a youth am being daily killed, humiliated and massacred. I lost my two researcher friends in 2018 Dr Rafi and Manaan Wani, who could have contributed much better through non-violence and academics but were consumed by violence. I am fed up by daily toll of my youth being annihilated be it militants, civilians and policemen. There are much better ways of resistance and non-violence has many lessons for us. I hope you will take concrete steps that will surely stop the annihilation of youth in 2019.
Yours sincerely
Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander
(M.H.A.Sikander is Writer-Activist based in Srinagar, Kashmir and can be reached at sikandarmushtaq@gmail.com)

 

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