ISSN 2330-717X

Kashmir’s ‘Jihad’ Of Convenience – OpEd

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Those who have picked up the gun and are fighting government forces in Kashmir claim they are ‘mujahideens’ (holy warriors) who are engaged in ‘jihad’ (holy war). But even though Islamabad tried to garner international support for this violent enterprise, it did so by portraying the same as “freedom struggle” and not ‘jihad’ which is permitted in Islam.

This is indeed very surprising because while Pakistan maintains that being an Islamic republic, its concern for ‘umma’ (Muslim fraternity) in J&K, (and more recently even in other parts of India) is a mandatory religious duty, it still refuses to accept that the violence being perpetuated in J&K by militants is ‘jihad’.

Even the 56-nation strong Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) hasn’t accepted what’s going on in J&K as ‘jihad’, and this raises the obvious question, “Why?” The answer isn’t very difficult to find. It’s because the so called ‘jihad’ in J&K is violating the cardinal tenets of Islam.  For example, in the Holy Quran it is stated that “Whosoever kills an innocent person … it shall be as if he has killed all mankind’. Yet, the so called ‘mujahideens’ in Kashmir have been doing just the opposite and in the last two weeks alone, four innocent and unarmed civilians have been shot dead by these self-anointed ‘mujahideens’.

Some may argue that since it hasn’t been conclusively proved that ‘mujahideen’ were behind these four killings, it would be wrong to blame them for these cold-blooded murders. Whereas its correct that the killers haven’t been identified, but then, who else could be behind these gruesome incidents? The ‘mujahideens’ always shift blame on government forces and their pet reasoning is that this is a ‘conspiracy’ against Kashmiris and the ‘freedom struggle’. But little do these dimwits realise that since such killings contradict the state’s claim that its writ runs in J&K, only a cretin could ever think of such a self-defeating ‘conspiracy’ that undermines authority of the government. Furthermore, why would government forces, which are leaving no stone unturned to win hearts and minds of the locals, axe their own feet by targeting them?

Au contraire, since summary ‘execution’ on mere suspicion being a ‘mukhbir’ (informer) spreads terror amongst the locals and one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to discern who benefits from such acts! However, for the sake of discussion, let’s still give the so called ‘mujahideens’ benefit of doubt in the above-mentioned cases. But then comes the next question-how do they account for videos containing ‘confessions’ of young boys (and in one case, even a young woman) of their being ‘mukhbirs’, followed by their brutal execution type murders? Isn’t the circulation of such videos intended to terrorise locals against cooperating with the security forces? Or, do the so called ‘mujahideens’ want the world to believe that security forces are such a bunch of morons who for the sake of trying to give the ‘freedom struggle’ a bad name and malign ‘mujahideens’ are willing to forego the crucial requirement of securing public confidence.

Those waging what they claim is ‘jihad’ in Kashmir defend murdering ‘informers’ by applying the skewed ‘all’s fair in love and war’ logic. But even if we for a moment accept this indefensible point of view, what do they have to say to justify their murdering religious and political personalities who had no links with the government or security forces.

Readers may recall that in 2011, senior Hurriyat leader Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhatt revealed that “(Abdul Ghani) Lone sahib, Mirwaiz Farooq and Prof. (Abdul Ahad) Wani were not killed by the army or the police. They were targeted by our own people.” This revelation once again raises the question “Why?” After all, none of them were ‘mukhbirs’ working for the security forces nor serving as ‘agents’ of the government — in fact, they were all firm advocates fighting for the right to self-determination.

So, did the so called ‘mujahideen’ ever realise that by killing three innocent men, they had killed all mankind thrice?

But this isn’t all. After the cold-blooded murder of Jamiat-e-Ahli- Hadees (JAH), Maulvi Showkat Ahmad Shah, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) admitted that “Earlier we thought the Indian army or its agencies killed Maulvi (Showkat Ahmad Shah) to defame the movement and create misgivings. We had not even imagined that the murderer would turn out to be our own men.” The LeT’s admission was not out of righteousness but due to compulsion.

Readers may recall that after the assassination of Maulvi Showkat, Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farook had announced that “The Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) is conducting its own probe. The Lashkar-e-Taiba had a function in Islamabad and they said that they would look into it. We too are not letting anybody off the hook. We are looking from New Delhi to Islamabad to Srinagar. Everybody is a suspect for us.”

So, LeT’s admission was just a face-saving effort and this group whose name in English translates to “army of the pure,” ironically has the blood of an innocent Maulvi on its hands and is also guilty of murdering all mankind!

The Holy Quran also stipulates that “If you hear of a plague in a land, then do not go into it. If it happens in land where you are, then do not go out of it,” and in his latest audio message released on April 1, HM operational commander Riyaz Naikoo has also referred to this edict. But the April 2 encounter that took place between security forces and a group of infiltrating militants in the Kupwara forests near the Line of Control (LoC) has proved that the ISI is blatantly violating Islamic teachings by continuing to push militants into Kashmir despite it being in the grip of a plague that we are referring to as coronavirus.

Similarly, while Naikoo has talked a lot about isolation and social distancing, his own cadres are openly violating these instructions. In an encounter that took place in Hardmanguri area of Khur Batpora in Kulgam district on Saturday, four HM militants had taken refuge in a small house.

By taking refuge in a small house, the militants (if infected) put its occupants at grave risk of contracting the covid-19 virus. Alternatively, if anyone in the house was infected, then the militants could have contracted this virus and had they survived, there were bright chances of this virus being passed on by them to occupants of the next house where they would seek refuge.

But, Naikoo has not clarified whether his cadres are playing their role in preventing spread of this disease by avoiding contact with people and instead of taking shelter in houses, keep away from villages and confine themselves to hideouts created away from inhabited areas.

Islamabad is claiming that Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan GB) have only 12 and 193 covid-19 cases respectively. However, reliable sources have confirmed that these figures, especially those pertaining to PoK have been grossly understated and the reason for this is obvious. Facing severe public criticism for its decision to set up quarantine camps in PoK for accommodating suspected covid-19 cases being brought in from other parts of the country, Islamabad is intentionally playing down the severity of this pandemic to give locals a ‘feel good’ sense.

With PoK becoming Pakistan’s national covid-19 quarantine hub that will receive patients from all over the country, it is but natural that this pandemic will assume humungous proportions here, and in case the ISI keeps infiltrating terrorists from PoK into Kashmir, then incidents of this pandemic will undoubtedly skyrocket in Kashmir. Let’s not forget that those infiltrating into Kashmir will neither have the inclination, nor the luxury of ensuring isolation or social distancing. Since militants will continue using houses to hide-in and keep shifting frequently to avoid compromising their whereabouts, they will automatically become an extremely potent source for spreading the covid-19 virus.

But since HM is only a proxy of the ISI and has no say, Naikoo has cleverly avoided mention of this in his audio message on coronavirus.

Lastly, the self-styled ‘mujahids’ need to realise that this type of a sham in the name of ‘jihad’ that’s only insulting the religion is bound to fail since goes against the very tenets of Islam.

Nilesh Kunwar

Nilesh Kunwar

Nilesh Kunwar is a retired Indian Army Officer who has served in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. He is a ‘Kashmir-Watcher,’ and now after retirement is pursuing his favorite hobby of writing for newspapers, journals and think tanks.

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