In this blog post, Uday Agnihotri, a student of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, Punjab, writes about the growing menace of terrorism in Kashmir and the glorification of terrorists in Kashmir much to the detriment of India as well as the population of Kashmir.

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On 8th July, 2016, a ‘Kashmiri youth leader’, along with two other ‘liberalists’, was assassinated by the oppressors and the subjugators of Kashmir. This killing of a ‘martyr’ by the ‘dushmans’ sparked massive protests in the state. The state witnessed the biggest congregation for his funeral. His body was wrapped in the national flag (although, of a different nation) and was offered a 21-gun-salute (not by the army, but the militants). A nation mourned; a nation rejoiced. Interestingly, on the same date, a commander of an (in) famous terror outfit – who had a bounty of Rs. one million on his head, along with two other terrorists, was killed by the Indian security forces. A nation mourned; a nation rejoiced.

Indian Kashmiri refugees chant slogans beside a burning Indian flag during a protest against the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kashmir and strongly condemn his anti-Pakistan remarks, in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir on August 12, 2014. Narendra Modi accused Pakistan on August 12, 2014 of waging a proxy war in Kashmir as he became the first Indian prime minister in nine years to visit Kargil, scene of a deadly 1999 conflict with Pakistan.  AFP PHOTO/Sajjad QAYYUM

This story (of the death and aftermath) of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, portrays the fragility and the sensitivity of the issue of Kashmir. It is a story of revenge, amplified (and misdirected and manipulated) by the separatists and various terror networks. Due to the atrocities committed on the people, with blatant abuse of powers conferred under the AFSPA, the people, especially the youth, are susceptible to the propagators of separation and terrorism. And this radicalization is bound to increase further with each and every instance of misuse. The recent hue and cry regarding the use of ‘pellet guns’ on ‘civilians and children’ and the subsequent inundation of morphed images of Indian celebrities on social media is aimed yet again to incite hatred towards the Indian government. This idea of inducting young children into terrorist organizations and giving them weapons on one hand, and causing a furor when they are wounded by the army on the other, is ingenious, ironical and disturbing. Born in an affluent family in Dadsara village of Jammu and Kashmir, to a headmaster and a post-graduate science teacher, Wani, soon became the ‘poster boy’ of militancy (as early as at 20). What is more surprising is that he joined the separatist militant group (at 15) to avenge the beating up of his brother by the army. Even though such atrocities have led to a sense of alienation among the Kashmiris, however such a reaction is uncalled for and unjustified. Burhan Wani, ‘the boy whose brother was beaten up till he lost his consciousness, despite bringing a packet of cigarettes for the army’ is the same ‘man who was the master mind of countless terrorist attacks, who killed countless unarmed Hindu Kashmiris, and who asked people to join him in his fight against the “dushman”’.

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Amidst all the atrocities committed upon the people, one must not take our army men for granted. It is also a fact that they have to face hostile crowd. The violent protesters and terrorists, too, injure and kill countless army men. But it all goes unnoticed because it’s their duty. But what also is their duty is to keep the extremism in check by neutralizing the violent delinquents, to stop the influence of our ‘beloved’ nosy neighbour and above all, to maintain peace and security in the valley. The presence of Armed Forces in the region is a necessity as the choice between the devil and the deep blue sea is simple. What also is necessary is to check and regulate the powers conferred to them. And above all, to check the people who come under the sway of such separatist militants as the likes of Burhan Wani and make them realize that the ‘azadi’ they are looking for is not from the country but from such diabolical influences; that people like Burhan Wani are not ‘heroes’, ‘leaders’ or ‘martyrs’, but terrorists. This glorification of terrorists has to stop immediately.

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