Dwarika Prasad Sharma
The Kashmir happenings now have a way of shifting between real-macabre and surreal-macabre. The recent spate of kidnappings of relatives of policemen, in retaliation for the detention for questioning of the kin of some marked but slippery terrorists, is said to be a first-time event in South Kashmir, which has now earned the dark distinction of being the breeding ground of terrorism.
The detentions for questioning were after the killing of four Special Operations Group policemen in Shopian by terrorists in operationally most unlikely circumstances. They proved to be sitting ducks, raising questions about adequate training to anticipate, and be prepared for, such strikes. Hours earlier, a Hizb commander and an associate had been gunned down in Anantnag district.
A large section of the Kashmir media, teeming with rank greenhorns, fail to distinguish between “detention” and “arrest”. The detentions were reported as arrests, thus lending a touchpaper for anyone to grab and light up a fire, and later justify it.
This section of the media are in the same class as flash crowds of stone-throwers who gather to try and aid the escape of cornered terrorists , and often succeed with their diversionary tactic. The big difference is that the defaulting media can only push the terrorists into risky disruptive and violent situations and bring harm to the general public as well.
Then there are purveyors of fake “news” and rumours, especially on social media like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter, which trigger unfounded anger and violence. The young SSP of Shopian, Sandeep Choudhary, recently organised a seminar on fake news which was well-attended by mediapersons and police officers. It highlighted the incendiary aspects of fake news and rumours. The SSP asserted that the mediapersons could thus become witting or unwitting accessories of disruptive and destructive forces.
The incremental Islamisation of terror in Kashmir has incongruities and contradictions. The killing of Muslims going to or emerging from mosques is terrorism pure and simple, not Islamic jehad. So is the selective killing of policemen and servicemen on, or on the eve of, Eid. What it means for them and their kin to be together on the big day is too big a question for the half-assed “jehadis” to understand.
NC chief Farooq Abdullah was booed when he had gone to the Hazratbal shrine for his Eid prayers. A section of the congregation even attempted to bear down on him. A chant of “Moosa, Moosa” was raised by some youth, obviously as a counter to Farooq’s full-throated cries of “Bharat Mata ki jai” at a memorial meeting for Atal Bihari Vajpayee where Narendra Modi and other bigwigs across a wide social spectrum were present.
During the monsoon session of Parliament, he cried himself hoarse claiming the title of a “nationalist” in his speech during the no-confidence motion debate. But his utterances in front of different crowds and in different milieus betray a 360-degree rotation of apparently contradictory bends of mind.
Now, why the chant of “Moosa, Moosa” at Hazratbal? The young chanters had gone there in a pre-planned move. Zakir Moosa represents a sentiment diametrically opposite of “Bharat mata ki jai”. After being discredited by the Hizbul Mujahideen, he was designated by Al-Qaida as a commander of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind. Ansar in Arabic means helper and ghazwa is war. Ansar connotes modesty, but Ghazwat-ul-Hind, i.e., war on Hind, is a quixotic tall order. The Daesh, or ISIS, has miserably failed to get a foothold among Muslim youth in this country, and the Ansar cannot hope for anything better.
Syed Salahuddin, the Muzaffarabad-based Hizb chief and leader of the United Jehad Council, has expressed misgivings at the global pretensions of some Kashmiri terrorists. He has called for keeping the Kashmir “struggle” localised.
Saladin is how European Crusaders used to call the greatest warrior the Muslim world has known. His real name was Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub. He was adored by the Arabs for recapturing Jerusalem in 1187 from Crusader occupation. Jews and Christians also had great regard for his piety and compassion. He did not nurse any passion for revenge against the occupiers who had committed atrocities on Muslims. There are tales of his facilitating the return of the European occupiers back to their countries, knowing full well that they could regroup and wage another Crusade.
When his fourth son was about to set forth from Jerusalem, he advised him: “I warn you against shedding blood, indulging in it, or making a habit of it, for BLOOD NEVER SLEEPS (it haunts you and takes revenge on you).”
Salahuddin, who appropriated to himself the name of the great, compassionate warrior, was apparently led by the “Yusuf” part of Salah ad-Din’s name. The Hizb chief’s real name is Yusaf Shah. His two sons who have been caught in the NIA dragnet were channelling money to terrorists while being on the payroll of the state. Was the money being channelled to buy rosaries or to spill blood?
Al-Qaeda and Zakir Moosa have both overreached themselves and blasphemed in using “ghazwa” in relation to mere terrorists. The word was reserved by Prophet Muhammed for campaigns he himself mounted, and was not used for the ones he delegated.
In Jammu recently, there was an event where compassion and empathy were on ample display. The NGO Global Peace Organisation celebrated Independence Day with inmates of the old age home, together with children of the orphan home and school. After the hoisting of the Tricolour and the chanting of “Bharat Mata ki jai”, the chairman of the NGO, Advocate Sheikh Altaf Hussein, who is a devout Muslim, related how he was surprised by the message board on the PoK side of the Aman Setu in Uri. It reads: “Pakistan se rishta kya, La Ilahaillallah .” He wondered how such Islamisation of of a welcoming message was relevant to families from this side of the LoC crossing over to meet their kin and friends. He compared it with the message board on the Indian side which reads: “Mazhab nahin sikhata, aapas mein bair rakhna”, while symbols of Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity are emblazoned on it.
I believe such messengers of secularism and peace from Jammu, who know their own state and people better than any do-gooders from outside, should often go on missions to Kashmir to make the rebels see that there are strong alternative viewpoints in the state which cannot be wished away.
(The writer is a Senior Journalist)
Dwarika Prasad Sharma