Pulwama attack aftermath

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The attack carried out by a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group, who rammed his explosive-laden vehicle into a bus on Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Lethpora in south Kashmir is the bloodiest in J&K’s nearly three decade old militancy. The attack has attracted global condemnation and from UN to US, Pakistan to China, almost all the countries have condemned the attack. The political leadership in J&K, cutting across ideological divides, has also strongly condemned that attack. Even separatist leaders – Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik have regretted the killings. It is for the first time that separatists have commented about the killing of security force. The separatist leaders, who claim to strive for a political resolution of Kashmir issue, realise that such attacks take away the political argument from Kashmiris as globally it would be seen nothing less than a terror attack.

For the past several months, particularly after the state of J&K came under Governor’s rule and subsequently President’s rule, the governments from Srinagar to New Delhi have been claiming that situation in Kashmir was inching towards normalcy. Under operation “All Out”, the security forces killed scores of militants including some top militant leaders. It seemed that finally the security grid had established an upper hand and militants were on the run. Interestingly the fresh recruitment into militant ranks, that had shown upward trend following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani in 2016, also came down and so did the street protests. After the launch of operation “All Out”, militants in Kashmir were on the defensive. With the elimination of their top leaders, they were demoralized. They were desperate to do something that would help them bounce back and they succeeded in doing so on February 14.

It need simple arithmetic to understand that lots of planning would have gone into Thursday’s attack. The militant group JEM would have been planning it for quite some time to make it the deadliest one. And the question here arises, what was the intelligence grid doing? Now it has become public that there were inputs suggesting militants were planning to do something “big” on Jammu-Srinagar highway. In the presence of such inputs, the attacks puts a huge question mark over the working of counter-insurgency apparatus as no one can deny the fact that it undoubtedly was a serious security lapse and the government of the day would do well to the state as well as to the nation by fixing responsibility.

That said, what happened in Jammu and some other parts of the nation following the attack need to be condemned and discouraged. One can’t undermine the pain and grief that people felt after such deadliest attack but how does it justify targeting Kashmiris in Jammu, burning down vehicles of Kashmiris and harassing Kashmiri students in different states. It goes without saying that groups like JeM are hell bent upon dividing the people on the basis of religions and regions. The divisions within the divisions is their ultimate goal. And what the miscreants, who are harassing and hunting Kashmiris, doing? Aren’t they indirectly furthering the agenda of JeM. It is time that the government in the J&K, at New Delhi and governments in different states act against such miscreants and ensure that Kashmiris studying, doing business or serving in different states are safe.

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