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After Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs - Mercenaries now target Shias

After Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs - Mercenaries now target Shias

Author: Anil Narendra
Publication: Organiser
Date: July 16, 2000

When the Sikhs of Chattisinghpura got massacred the Imam of Delhi's Jama Masjid Abdullah Bukhari said that it was the work of the Indian intelligence agencies to defame the Muslims.  Now that the Shia's in Kashmir have been killed one should ask the Imam, who do you think is responsible this time? In all probabilities Bukhari will repeat his earlier statement as it suits him well.  Without going into the depth of the matter he is looking for cheap publicity stunts to boost up his completely finished credibility.  However, the facts speak for themselves.  In its ongoing proxy war against India ISI has recently added new dimensions.

For the first time in last 11 years of terrorism in Jammu-Kashmir Shia's have been targeted by the terrorists.  Eleven persons were killed and about a dozen injured when a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) exploded under the knees of a former minister and influential Shia leader Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari at a religious congregation in Pattan quarter of Baramulla district on June 2.  Shri Ansari escaped with minor injuries.  The incident occurred at Gund Khwaja Qasim village where there is a majority of Shias.  Sources said, Maulvi Ansari was addressing a well-attended religious congregation in the village.  In the middle of his speech, an IED, planted close to the pulpit from where Ansari was giving his sermon exploded.  About 24 persons suffered splinter injuries, of whom six died on the spot.  Maulvi Ansari and the other injured persons were rushed to the hospital where five more succumbed to their wounds.  The condition of four others is critical.  Shri Ansari was stated to be stable.  As the news of attack on Shri Ansari spread, the Shias, who regard him as their tallest leader, held demonstrations in Pattan and Sonawari.  Also reports of violent demonstrations poured in from Gund Khwaja Qasim.  Tension gripped several areas in the State capital.  Agitators pelted buses with stones to enforce strikes in protest against the attack on Shri Ansari's life.

The Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee camping at Manali, telephoned Maulvi Ansari and asked about his providential escape and well being.  In a statement issued from his holiday camp, Manali, Shri Vajpayee expressed serious concern over the attack on the Shia congregation.  The immediate concern for both the Prime Minister's entourage and the Union Home Ministry is that this incident should not be allowed to acquire a communal overtone.  This attack is seen as a part of a pattern in which Pakistan- backed terrorists have been trying to target the minorities in the Valley.  Pakistan's gameplan of ethnic cleansing in Kashmir is more obvious than ever before.  After targetting the minorities in the Valley with the massacre of 36 Sikhs in Anantnag, the foreign mercenaries have swooped down on the Shias-the minorities within the Muslim community.

In the decade-long terrorism in Kashmir, there seems a meticulous move to create a rift between Sunni and Shia sects.  The flames of sectarian violence which set Sind and Punjab (in Pakistan) on fire are being rekindled in the Valley because that's what the Sunni-dominated Pak terrorist groups are aiming at.  Whether it is Lashkar-e-Toiba or Al-Badar, the reins of these dreaded Islamic groups remain in the hands of the Sunni leaders, who endorse the views of the fundamentalist Wahabis.

The Jammu and Kashmir police should not be shocked by the incident at Pattan as recently the Al-Badr chief Hasn-Ul-Islam had charged a family of the Shia community in Baramullah with being a police informer.  "There have been a few incidents of sectarian violence in Kashmir but for the first time the terrorists had attacked a Shia majlis, killing 11 people on the spot," said a senior police official.  The incident at Pattan is also likely to affect the Hurriyat leadership as the sectarian violence will invite the wrath of millions of Shia's in India.  It will also have an adverse impact on the slogan of one religion, one language and one race, which was raised once the terrorists targeted the Kashmiri Pundits in the Valley.

In the post Kargil phase, three distinct trends were visible.  Militants are now being given sophisticated weapons including Universal machine-guns (UMG), they are frequently resorting to "stand-off" grounds attacks on security forces and carrying AK-47 rifles with grenade launching attachments (GLA), an improvement over the manual lobbying of grenade.  Thirdly, the foreign component among the infiltrators is as high as 75 per cent, most of it being Pakistani.  The profiles of infiltrators has now undergone a change, tilting towards narco-terrorism.  The State police caught one of them with packets of heroin, bearing Afghan markings, in Kupwara.  The drug trafficking phenomena is a recent development.  This drug trafficking is accompanies by a noticeable spurt in incursions by Pakistan-trained militants.  Over the past one month, such violators of the LoC have been the maximum in the sensitive Baramullah, Kupwara range.  The melting snow has cleared the infiltrator's favourite routes in the inhospitable terrain.  A bumper crop of over 46 tonnes of opium in Afghanistan is believed to have been purchased in bulk by the Pakistan's ISI this year.  And the 300-crore profit from it is likely to be used to forment further trouble in J&K and other parts of India.  The terrorists, mostly belonging to Al-Badar, seem to have lost their charm for AK-47.  They are now carrying UMG's and GLA's.  It enables them to target Army bunkers and government buildings from a distance and can even ground a low-flying helicopter as they have reportedly procurred 107 mm missiles.  In a recent attack on the J&K secretariat building in Srinagar the terrorists fired 17 rifle grenades.  Fortunately the militants were off-target and a serious catastrophe was averted.

Shri Ansari is the second pro-India political leader who has become the target of militants in three weeks.  On May 15, terrorists killed Ghulam Hassan Butt, a minister in the Abdullah Government, by activating an IED at Mandipora village in South Kashmir.  The Jammu-Kashmir Minister for Power, Gulam Hasan Bhat, and four others were killed in a powerful IED explosion near Mandipora in Anantnag district.  Around 9.55 am, 500 meters from his residence, as the first vehicle crossed the spot, a remote-controlled IED was exploded by smashing the Minister's car, which was immediately behind, to pieces.  The explosion caused a 10-foot-deep crater.  The remains of the Minister's bullet-proof car was reduced to a big ball and was scattered all over the place.  The blast was followed by two more landmine explosions in areas nearby, in which two BSF men died and 12 were injured.  This was the first time that a Minister had been killed since militancy began in the State more than a decade ago.  An IED costs about Rs 20 lakh and more than 25 kgs of RDX was used for the blast.  This incident has caused alarm throughout the country as most of the VIP's move around in bullet-proof ambassador cars.  It was a shocking sight to see the bullet-proof car of Shri Bhat's being reduced to pulp by the blast.  The Anantnag Police have arrested two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists for the assassination of the Minister.  The two accused-24-year-old Power Development Department employee Nissar Ahmad Khan and Abdul Salam Bhat, 40, who works with the First Department, were involved in militancy for the past eight years.  A search is on for three other accused, who are absconding.  The arrests have come as a shot in the arm for the Anantnag Police, which drew widespread flak after the Minister his personal security officers and a National Conference leader were killed.  Giving details, a senior police officer said: "During questioning, the terrorists said they had been under immense pressure to do something big.  They did thorough planning before the killing.  They studied the area and monitored the minister's movements for a month.  The militant reportedly pointed out that the road on which 25 kgs of RDX was concealed in a telephone pole was chosen since the minister had taken the route eight times out of ten while travelling during recent days." The officer further said: "The terrorists had planted the mine on the night of May 14.  Three of them then left for a nearby village.  He added that Nisar (one of the militants) was tipping them off on the wireless about the Minister's movements from a house opposite to his.  As soon as Ghulam Hassan Bhat left his home for Srinagar, Nisar reportedly flashed the message-Jabar 2.  According to the official, "Jabar was the code for the Minister while '2' was for the second vehicle of the cavalcade of 5." "Jabar" was again aired when the Minister was one km from the site.  When the terrorists spotted the cavalcade, they triggered the device as soon as the second car passed over the mine, the official said.

Paksitan's intensions are clear.  They will try everything in their power to prevent normalcy to return in Jammu-Kashmir.  With the government of India taking the initiative for a dialogue with the Kashmiri leaders ISI is hell- bent to sabotage it.  It's obvious that IED was planted by the explosive experts of foreign mercenaries who are desperate to fracture the entire social structure even Muslim fraternity.

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