New Delhi, Mar 10: An alarming precedent has set in at Jammu and Kashmir. Abu Qasim the Lashkar-e-Tayiba militant who carried a reward of Rs 20 lakh on his head was killed in an encounter at Kulgam district. While one may have expected everyone to rejoice the death of this dreaded militant, that was however not the case.
Thousands in all age groups turned up at his funeral and mourned his death. Women were wailing and the impression that one got after witnessing this was that a terrorist had been turned into a martyr.
A changing scenario:
First and foremost there is an urgent need to have a government in place in Jammu and Kashmir. The delay in the formation of the government is doing no good since the communication link has been lost.
There are several issues on the ground that only a local government can do and in such a scenario, the Central government cannot do much.
On one hand, people are attending funerals of dreaded militants and on the other hand the hanging of Afzal Guru has now become a major issue with students at the JNU Delhi too joining the bandwagon and celebrating him as though he were a martyr.
The situation today is even more with educated youth joining the militant ranks. Recently one got to witness pictures of a young Hizbul Mujahideen leader, Burhan Wani on the social media where he poses with guns. The pictures went viral and he had become a poster boy for several educated youth who were lured into the world of the Hizbul Mujahideen and other outfits.
Many in Kashmir still prefer a peaceful resolution to the conflict. It is tiresome for even the people to have the army patrolling all the time and to make matters worse engage in an encounter every now and then.
Many would also feel that the government in Kashmir needs to play a more pro-active role in resolving the issue and so far this has been lacking. However for that a government needs to be in place first.
Going by the recent events, it appears as though Kashmir is being pushed back to what it was in 1999. The Afzal Guru issue is threatening to blow up into another Maqbool Bhat kind of problem. Intelligence Bureau officials have constantly warned that the Afzal Guru issue would be taken to a whole other level.
One got to witness this when the students in JNU decided a solidarity programme in his favour.
The crowds at the funerals of militants suggests a sense of defiance. People feel that Kashmir should be viewed as a political issue.
There is a great deal of insecurity among the youth in particular who complain of being alienated. Such an existing scenario in Kashmir has led to this defiance and attending these funerals is nothing but an attempt to send a message out to the government.