A convoy comprising of around 2500 Indian CRPF jawans and officers were struck by a car bomb on February 14, 2019 leading to the death of more than 44 CRPF jawans. Terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility soon after. It identified the suicide bomber as Adil, a resident of the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after the attack, a recorded video of Adil surfaced in social media where he clearly justified the attack.
After the attack, which is considered the biggest suicide attack in the history of Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh reached Srinagar to access the security situation. On reaching Srinagar, Singh condemned this attack and implicated Pakistan.
This barbaric attack has also unleashed strong security measures from Indian security agencies stationed in the state. Many innocent Kashmiris are being held by the forces. Rizwan Mir, a social activist while talking to BE said if the Indian government claims that Kashmir is an integral part of the country, why are Kashmiri people living outside the state facing harassment.
The strong resentment targeted against general Kashmiri people across India is hampering the situation in the Kashmir valley.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gone on record stating that the fight is for Kashmir and not against Kashmiris. Senior PDP leader and former MLA Wachi Ajaz Mir while talking to BE stated, “It is always better late than never. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement will help in diffusing the crisis. The government must take concrete efforts to evolve a consensus to tackle the situation in Kashmir.”
The general people in Kashmir have been helped by the security forces time and again. They are visibly upset about the attack as mainstream media rhetoric has been close to branding all Kashmiris as anti-national. Muzammil Wani, a social activist from central Kashmir said those who are busy in cozy newsrooms of different news channels are the people who spread wrong message about Kashmiris and should be booked. Wani said that the people of Kashmir are living under the shadow of the gun and the situation is very different from the rest of India.
The Pulwama terror attack has raised questions about our policy regarding terrorism and the move to go on an arresting spree may prove counter-productive. The need of the hour is to initiate a dialogue process in order to mitigate this crisis.
BE’s Shabir Bhat spoke to senior separatist leader Ab. Gani Bhat regarding the present situation.
Q. How do you see the situation after the Pulwama attack?
A. Speaking frankly, the attack has not only warmed the political circles at the national level but also on the international level. I am of the opinion that confusion and mistrust between India and Pakistan is the root cause of this attack. I believe that the Kashmir issue needs to be resolved so as to stop such incidents. Kashmir poses a potential threat to the peace of this subcontinent and holding constructive dialogue to resolve these issues needs to be initiated.
Q. Your security cover has been withdrawn after the attack. How do you view this situation?
A. Withdrawal of my security is a non-issue for me. I never asked for it. Rather, it was imposed upon me. I do not think it will stop me from speaking the truth. Withdrawal of security from us can be a compulsion of New Delhi but it doesn’t affect us. I will congratulate the administration for this step as when our public is living without any security, why should we prefer it.
Q. Are you apprehensive about your security?
A. No. Not at all. Why should I fear anything when talk for the welfare of Kashmiris and that of India and Pakistan.
Q. What is the way forward?
A. All that glitters is not gold. What you see in the news channels is not the road forward. Despite some opinions on both sides being in favour of war, I would say it will not be a solution. The world’s economic powers would not them allow them to fight this war. So dialogue is the only way forward.