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Kashmir attack: Why JKEDI was an easy target for the terrorists?

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Photo: dailykashmirimages.com
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An account by an ex-employee of JKEDI, Sarwar Kashani

Its location makes it vulnerable, more prone to being occupied by suicide attackers for a possible long-drawn gunfight, a senior police officer had once said with some foreboding about Kashmir’s entrepreneurship institute at the center of a battle between security forces and terrorists on Saturday.

The police officer’s apprehension during a casual talk with me was the first thing I immediately remembered when I heard about a group of militants had stormed into the multi-floor complex of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), where I used to work until recently as a communication officer.

Had I not returned to journalism, I would probably have been one of the employees of the institute who were trapped inside the complex hours after the shootout began.

The institute, situated on the strategic national highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar, has three buildings – a guest house, a hostel complex and the main office building – on a large swath of 3.5-acre land on the eastern bank of Jhelum. The institute trains young boys and girls of the job-starved state to be entrepreneurs and has nearly 300 employees spread across 22 districts of the Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly 100 employees are posted in the main office near Pampore, some 12 km from Srinagar.

The road on which the institute is located connects capital Srinagar with south Kashmir. It is the lifeline not only for the local supplies, but is the only all-weather road link used by the army to reach the Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters that is the nerve center of the fight against militancy in the state.

The area around the building is not residential. It houses a government-owned joinery factory where wooden objects like doors, window frames, beds, chairs are made. On the other side of the road is a highly secured complex of medium and shortwave radio transmitters of Radio Kashmir, Srinagar.

There is a large slice of marshy land that separates the JKEDI complex from the Jhelum. Police previously had on many occasions proposed that the building be secured with security forces.

But the proposal was rejected as the administration of the institute was of the view that it (police presence) may scare young boys and girls from visiting it.

The police officer during the talk last summer was pointing to the location of the institute on the highway and the bushy wetland at the back of the complex – making it an easy target of militants who would also want to exploit the rush of youth into the institute.

And that is exactly what might have happened on Saturday evening as I was informed by my colleagues.

They said that three to four militants – apparently teenagers – walked inside posing as aspiring entrepreneurs before launching the attack on a security force convoy. Many of the employees had no idea what was brewing outside.

The militants, carrying heavy weaponry, then stormed inside. The attackers quickly scaled the stairs and occupied the fourth floor of the building from where they began shooting at security forces, the employees said.

In the melee, many of the employees sneaked out and ran towards the hostel complex. But many were still trapped inside before they reached the ground floor.

I could hear the gunshots over the phone as I spoke with my former colleagues. I heard them screaming over the phone. They were running for their lives before being evacuated by security forces to safer places.

I was told that a gardener was injured being hit by a bullet on one of his legs. Rest of them are safe and alive.(IANS)

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A look into the mind of a brainwashed Kashmiri suicide bomber

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Peeping into the teenage Kashmiri suicide bomber's mind reveals the harsh realities the youth of Kashmir is facing. Pixabay
Peeping into the teenage Kashmiri suicide bomber's mind reveals the harsh realities the youth of Kashmir is facing. Pixabay
  • Jaish-e-Mohammad, a teenage suicide bomber who was killed this Sunday threatens attacks across India in a video.
  • The video shows how teenagers are brainwashed while sitting between terrorists and rifles.
  • The video has brought out the various reasons why the Kashmiri youth is turning towards terrorism.

A teenage Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber killed on Sunday in Kashmir had threatened terror attacks across India in an undated video which announces the “roaring” resurgence of his outfit headed by the Pakistan-based militant Masood Azhar.

The video, which gives a peek into how Kashmiri teenagers are being brainwashed into believing that they are targeting enemies of Islam, was apparently recorded in a house in the Kashmir Valley.

The Pakistan-based militant outfit on Monday released the eight-minute video online in which Fardeen Khanday, son of a Jammu and Kashmir policeman, urges Kashmiri youth and Muslims across the country to join the “fight against India”.
Kashmiri youth turns towards terrorism as they face severities. Wikipedia Commons
Kashmiri youth turns towards terrorism as they face severities. Wikipedia Commons

Seated between three AK assault rifles, a huge cache of ammunition, grenades and communication devices, Khanday appears calm even as he says that “by the time the video is released I will already be a new guest in heaven”.

Khanday, 16, was killed after he and two other Jaish suicide bombers attacked a paramilitary camp in Pulwama in south Kashmir on Sunday. Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in the attack. The other two attackers were also killed.

He said it was being made out as if unemployment was driving Kashmiri youths to take to militancy. “But the fact is that it is nothing (but) propaganda.

“The importance of jihad increases when infidels occupy our land and threaten the modesty of our women.

“My friends and I have listened to the call of Quran and plunged into the battlefield of jihad. This will continue till the last occupying soldier is present in Kashmir,” he says in Urdu with a thick Kashmiri accent.

According to police, Khanday, a resident of Tral in south Kashmir, which was the slain Burhan Wani’s hometown, joined militants only three months ago after his family reported him missing on September 15.

In the video, he also talks about the demolition of Babri Masjid as well as attacks on security forces blamed on the Jaish.

“Even after repeated claims by Indian security forces and agencies, Jaish-e-Mohammad has not been wiped out from the Valley. Jaish is not so weak. It is impossible to stop Jaish-e-Mohammad… We are roaring,” Khanday says in the recorded video. IANS

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