roclaiming themselves as the true followers of Islam, the terrorists in Kashmir valley indulged in killings and violence in the holy month of Ramzan and that is against the preaching of the Islam. The separatists continued to pelt stones at security forces. The country saw a new face of the stone-pelters during this phase of violence. The accomplice of stone-pelters murdered Srinagar journalist Shujaat Bukhari because he talked of peace and normalcy in Kashmir. Now, even girl students have started picking up stones. Their head and face are covered with college uniform. Students who should be in class rooms to attend lectures are now seen throwing stones at security forces. They do heavy stone pelting on the vehicles of CRPF. The girls are under threat of terrorists. They know if they refuse to throw stones at security forces they are likely to be abducted and subjected to sexual assault by terrorists. They may even be killed at the hands of the terrorists. At one time, Srinagar College for Women was considered a premier institute of learning. Many students made a mark in their career from this college. This temple of learning never came in bad light in news headlines in the past. But now the students of this college are involved in stone pelting. The act of violence is the handiwork of unruly elements and not of students.
Students of Government College for Women in Srinagar are shaming their college by indulging in stone pelting. After seeing pictures of stone- throwing incidents at the security forces vehicles any Indian would be in rage. Now even girls have joined the pedestrian students in the valley. Till now, girls were not involved in violence and agitation in Kashmir valley. But anti-Indian forces have vitiated the atmosphere in the valley. As a result of which, even girl students who would go to college and return to their homes are joining anti-national forces. The stone pelters became more active during the month of Ramzan when the security forces stopped anti-terrorist operation in the state as a gesture to make the people to help restore peace in the state.
In fact ever since the Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed by the armed forces, there has been a spurt in violence and stone pelting in the valley. The violent protests and incidents of attack on armed forces and camps of the army and para-military forces increased many fold.
The Mehbooba Mufti Government took a soft approach towards the stone pelters in the hope that the students who got strayed from the main path of learning would stop act of violence and return to their classrooms. But this did not happen. It has to be seen till how long the government can take a lenient view on stone pelters. Such soft approach cannot continue for a long time. Stone pelting has become a shield to protect the terrorists. Many officers holding a high position in the government have also been advocating for soft handling of stone- pelting mobs. At the instance of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, cases against thousands of youths and students were withdrawn by the government; they were given amnesty. But this did not help the situation. The separatist forces on the contrary got emboldened.
As a matter of fact, these stone pelters have now become the mythological demon ‘Bhashmasur’. They have started targeting even small children going to school. They stopped a school bus in Shopian and stoned it injuring several students. Even tourists were attacked by the stone pelting mob. Terrorist Yusuf Butt is head of the stone pelting groups in the valley. Butt was active even during the government led by Omar Abdullah of National Conference.
The stone pelting mobs also indulge in extortion of money. The most affected group of the stone pelting incidents is local traders. When the traders appeal to the mob to stop stone pelting, the mob demands money for that. The way stone pelting was done after an offering of ‘Namaz’ on Eid, one thing is clear like glass that the trouble makers and separatists have no understanding of their religion Islam. Nor they have any regard for Islam. In fact their act is against tenets of Islam. They are hell bent upon creating violence and killing people. Surprisingly, no clerics ever try to make these trouble makers understand the true definition of Islam. The clerics have no guts to tell them that what they are doing is against Islam. In fact, the clerics fear for their life. It is time the terrorists abandon violence. Now the Centre is fully geared to break the spine of the terrorists and violence mongers in Kashmir. The terrorists would be hounded out of their den and would be eliminated soon. The nation expects this. They cannot be protected by anyone now. Though the condition in Kashmir is a matter of concern but there is no need to panic. Our Armed forces and security personnel are competent and strong enough to finish these elements. The law- abiding citizens of Kashmir would now have to cooperate and help the government and the Armed forces in restoring peace in the valley. The people in general, are facing difficulty. The tourism industry is in bad shape; so is the condition of small and medium industry in the valley. People in the valley are in distress. Only peace can bring prosperity for the people.
R K Sinha
(The Writer is a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha)