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Why is the government unable to stop the grand terrorist funerals in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Oct 15: The bug relating to funerals of terrorists in the Kashmir Valley has come back to bite us once again. Some 20,000 persons took part in the funeral of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Manan Wani at his native in Tekipora village of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

Manan Bashir Wani

Wani was enrolled as a PhD scholar with the Aligarh Muslim University before joining the Hizbul in January this year. Before going any further, it would not be wrong to say that the administration has completely failed to control the funeral menace.

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It began with Burhan Wani and since then has been a trend in the Valley. There have been scores of reports by security agencies, the Intelligence Bureau which had said that romanticising terrorist funerals in Kashmir has led to youth taking up arms.

On deaf ears:

In the month of June, the security forces had requested the government to take a decision on not to hand over bodies of terrorists to their kin. The Union Home Ministry had sad that it would leave it up to the Jammu and Kashmir police to take a call on the issue. It has been four months now, but no concrete action has been taken in this regard.

The police had contemplated treating this issue on a case to case basis. The police were also contemplating telling the families that the bodies would be handed over provided the funeral is a private affair. If the parents did not agree, then the police would bury the body at the encounter site.

Officials say that both the ideas mooted by the police are wrong. There needs to be a blanket ban on public funerals for terrorists. Once the body is handed over to the kin, then there is no way that such a large crowd can be stopped from taking part in the funeral. The proposal was made in June and since then the Valley has witnessed funerals of terrorists with large crowds turning up.

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In some cases it has been so brazen, that terrorists on the watchlist have turned up given a gun salute and left, while the police watched on helplessly. Security forces who have a nightmare everyday in the Valley say that this lack of action in this regard has caused more problems. Terrorists end up becoming martyrs when such funerals are accorded and this only lures more youth to take up the weapon.

The funerals of terror:

With the proposals being made by the security forces, the police were asked to look into it. Clearly there has been no action and the police have completely failed to control the crowds. Controlling the crowd made up of civilians is a difficult task as such action in the past has led to violent scenes amidst heavy stone pelting.

An IB report says that several youth have taken to terror due to such funerals. It has been noticed that the youth had joined the terror groups after attending the funerals of terrorists.

What has also been worrisome is that not just the locals, but even the foreign terrorists have been getting similar funerals. The problem does not end with just the funeral. Multiple funeral prayers are held and such instances have found an increase especially in south Kashmir.

The most number of funeral prayers offered in recent times was to Abu Qasim, the Pakistani terrorist who was killed in an encounter. Following this, all foreign terrorists killed in encounters were buried in north Kashmir where the traction is lesser when compared to the southern part of the state.

A host of measures have been suggested. First and foremost the local intelligence needs to be spruced up. It has been noticed that even terrorists on the wanted list have attended these funerals in full public glare. Secondly, those maulanas must be taken to task for allowing the public address systems in Mosques to chant praises of the terrorists.

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Such things only influence the youth further. They find it heroic to be terrorist and when the Mosques blare praises of the terrorists, the youth tend to get swayed, officials also point out.

In the case of Wani's funeral, there was some action by the administration. While the crowds were clearly not stopped, there was a ban on the media from covering the event.

The Kashmir Journalists Association was however quick to condemn this decision and termed it as a criminal act. It reflects that the set of constitutional and democratic values are not respected in the state, the association also said.

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