Revenge is a Double Edged Sword, It Is High Time to Think

February 15

A Suicide bomber rammed into a vehicle of Central Reserve Police Force on Thursday afternoon- result, 40 dead bodies, human flesh scattered, blood draining down the streets, in one of the biggest attacks in the Kashmir valley in the recent memory.

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The attack took many including the Indian Security agencies by surprise, the attack certainly should come as a shock to those celebrating the number game and claiming to have broken the back of Kashmir Militancy which witnessed a revival after the killing of Burhan wani, a local commander on July 08, 2016.

The pop up war rooms (Media channels) slipped soon into action, seeking ‘revenge’. A larger narrative whose roots are deepening in India that tend to grow by every passing day and their dominance to the cultural, social media narratives is reinforced every night. The Media channels rather than being sad or even sympathetic about the deaths, seemed more inclined towards scoring political points, tearing apart the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’ and breaking the threads of a pluralistic society.

The driving impetus behind revenge is to get even, to carry out a private vendetta, or to achieve what, subjectively, might be described as personal justice. Their quest for revenge has “re-empowered” them and, from their biased viewpoint, it’s something they’re fully entitled to.

These over learned stories communicated through mass media or other large social and cultural institutions and social networks every night, are a representation that functions as subtle mechanism of oppression and social control that shape cultural norms and personal beliefs.

Today, We are posed by an eminent threat of having lakhs of “unnecessary” deaths, as an extremist narrative takes prominence and a counter- narrative being pushed on the back-burner is braced and reinforced. “Civilian Deaths in Kashmir” being succored with the catch line “death for all stone throwers” expresses stereotypical representation in everyday, sinister Affairs.

The attack in Lethpora has taken us back to the question, ‘Who started it? Which one is revenge?’ and it is certainly a debatable topic and people have arguments and counter arguments to present, simply it is an issue, without a concrete answer, a problem without a solution, that we can seek answers to for the rest of our days here.

These narratives operate as legitimizing myths that justify the maintenance of unequal inter-group relations and this Dominant cultural narrative has exerted its influence through processes of psychological internalization that shapes the self‐concept and social perceptions of members of both dominant and weaker groups.

The discourse that we have spawned in the past two to three years in India revolves around statistics, number of Militant deaths, which India celebrates as success, a moral victory overlooking a larger picture of the human loss and the devastating consequences every death in the past has had on Kashmiri population.

These Numbers, Militant deaths celebrated are not aliens who plummet from the heavens, their deaths are mourned by vast numbers of civilians in Kashmir as the death of CRPF men is being mourned throughout India and in Kashmir too. The two extremes, we stand at, today, is a result of the horrendous narrative we ourselves maneuvered in the past years. You cannot be bravest in the morning and the victims in the evening, Let some sense prevail, Dear Mainstream Indian, Media.

The Highly militarized national Highway, which is guarded by vigil Forces throughout the day witnessed a massive blast, followed by firing for almost fifteen minutes post the massive explosion, as per Locals.  A CRPF official told a local news-gatherer that the car bomb impact was taken by two vehicles – one carrying 44 personnel and another one with 39 men. “While none from the bus carrying 44 CRPF men survived, one of the injured among those travelling in another bus succumbed,” the news gatherer said.

Soon, Militant outfit, Jaish e Muhammad, which has claimed several major attacks in the recent past, claimed responsibility of the attack, Adil, a local Militant, they said carried out the attack, first suicide bombing carried out by a Local Militant. However, a top Security official told The Kashmiriyat, that Police have registered a case in the matter. Officers investigating this crime are investigating whether it was Jaish e Muhammad that carried out the attacks.

What is Jaish e Muhammad?

Jaish-e-Mohammed is a Militant outfit active in Kashmir. The group has carried out several attacks primarily in Jammu Kashmir. Its chief Azhar Masood also maintained close relations with Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and continues to be allied to them.

According to B. Raman, Jaish-e-Mohammed is viewed as the “deadliest” and “the principal Militant organisation in Jammu and Kashmir”

The group has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Pakistan, Russia, Australia, Canada, India, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and the United Nations.

In 2016, Jaish was suspected of being responsible for an attack on the Pathankot airbase in India. The Indian government, and some other sources, accused Pakistan of assisting Jaish in conducting the attack.

Pakistan denied assisting Jaish, and arrested several members of Jaish in connection with the attack, who were then released by the security establishment according to a report in Dawn. Pakistan called the report a “fabrication”.

The Jaish e Muhammad started gaining ground in Kashmir on New year’s eve last year when they carried a deadly attack on District Police lines in Pulwama in which nine troopers were killed. Local boys from Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam, as ,many as thirty, joined this outfit which resurfaced in Kashmir after the killing of Burhan Wani in July 2016.

Sources informed The Kashmiriyat that Jaish e Muhammad was given the lead in Militant activities, however this lead was rolled back and Hizb took the front stage in Local Militancy. Jaish e Muhammad, however suffered a massive damage as the nephew of its chief Azhar Masood was shot dead during an encounter in Tral hamlet of Southern Kashmir.’

Twenty six Pakistani trained Militants had also managed to sneak into the valley from the line of control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan in 2017, However almost, all of them have been killed during encounters, as per Police officials.

Security Lapse?

A fraction of media sighted the issue through the prism of security calling it a major Security Lapse, though surely there have been security lapses considering the fact that security men patrol every 50 meters of the strategic Highway.

But lost in the perennial discussion of the 70-year war is the point that military missions must be tied to the attainment of objectives, not to their length of time. If defeating the Kashmir Militants militarily has proved difficult, negotiating with them may be easier.

The view of the conflict to Kashmiris is fundamentally different—and far more long-term—than Delhi’s. In their worldview, shaped by their ideology, Army men are unbelievers occupying an Islamic country, and their Kashmir allies are also legitimate targets of jihad. The Militants have been playing the long game, hoping to wait the Indian Army men out..

Contrary to the perception in India, Kashmir has borne the vast bulk of the human cost of fighting, especially in recent years. At least 450 Kashmiris have been killed in the fighting in 2018. Indian fatalities are low in contrast. In 2018, 50 Indian troops lost their lives.

In a 2-minute video, the Jaish Operative who rammed a car into a CRPF vehicle on the Srinagar Jammu highway near Lethpora said, “Your oppression is fueling our fight against tyranny.” In a general mood prevailing in Kashmir, he had said that killing of a few Militant commanders will not weaken the struggle of Kashmir. ”Security forces can’t weaken them after killing a few commanders.”

Adil , the operative, who carried out the attack had joined the militant ranks in March 2018, when he was a student of class 12. Reportedly his first cousin, Sameer Ahmad, is also a militant who joined militancy a day later to Adil. Sameer was pursuing his post graduation in Kashmir University when he joined militant ranks, reports, in 2018, 191, the highest in a decade, Local youth joined Militant outfits in Kashmir.

Similarly in a taunting a message, sent on the 39th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of the war-torn country, the Taliban in Afghanistan said US forces faced “humiliation” and could “learn a great deal” from the experience of their Cold War foe. The Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, ending a decade-long occupation and precipitating a bloody civil war and the emergence of the Taliban.

The Taliban have not formally responded to the news that Trump having decided to withdraw roughly half of the highly trained and armed 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, the United States of America had to finally give up on the dead of Taliban. who had long insisted on the withdrawal of foreign troops as a condition for engaging in peace talks.

US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met with the Taliban in Abu Dhabi, part of efforts to bring the militants to the negotiating table with Kabul, That was the latest in a series of meetings between US officials and representatives of the Talian that began in the summer.

Many Security analysts believe that the withdrawal of the US troopers came in the wake of deadly attack carried out by the Local Taliban, almost every day, causing fatalities to the U.S Army, the local men (Taliban) had always the advantage of being locals and having an edge over the US Forces of knowing the region better.

The case of bombing on CRPF men is no different, the 23 year old boy who carried out the bombings lived not more than 8 kilometers away from the spot, providing him an edge, of knowing the Local geography better.

The Afghan war has always had deeper repercussions in Kashmir, in early 90s, the Kashmir Militancy was emboldened by the slogan, “Ruus ne Baazi Haari hai, Ab hind Pe Larza Taari Hai (The Taliban have already defeated the Russians, Now Kashmir shall defeat India), the withdrawal of US Troopers from Afghanistan is bound to inspirit Kashmir struggle again.

It is a high time for the “rambo Mindset” to think beyond the narratives of ‘Revenge’ and ‘security lapse’, like the most powerful U.S did in Afghanistan, a logical approach needs to deal with a region divided between India and Pakistan against the aspirations of most of the Kashmiris.

A lives of lot of people including the Government Force personnel might be on stake, if more Local boys are willing to turn into Suicide attackers like Adil. India, perhaps, needs to sit on a dialogue table and think that the issue needs a little more than military approach.

The end of war in Afghanistan after more than 17 is a more a political story than a military one.