A gruesome terror attack on two Kashmiri Pandit brothers Sunil Kumar Bhat and his cousin Pertimber Nath at Chotigam, a small hamlet in South Kashmir's Shopian district, triggered outrage in their village. Sunil succumbed to his injuries while Pertimber Nath (Pintu) suffered injuries.
Both Sunil and Pintu were farmers. They were fired upon by terrorists when they were busy with their work at their orchards. Sunil's family was among three Kashmir Pandit families which didn't leave the Valley in 1990 when Pakistan-sponsored terrorism gripped Kashmir.
Terrorists carrying out the targeted killing of Sunil Kumar Bhat pushed the Chotigam village into mourning with Muslim villagers coming out and raising slogans against the terrorists. They participated in the last rites of Sunil and bid him a tearful adieu sending a clear message to the terrorists and their sponsors that they cannot repeat 1990 when the Kashmiri Pandits were killed at the behest of Pakistan, and the members of the majority community acted as mute spectators due to the fear of guns turning towards them. Today that fear has vanished and they stand firmly with their Kashmiri Pandit brethren.
Attack evoked widespread condemnation from every section of society. J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha while deploring the cowardly act tweeted: "Pained beyond words on the despicable terror attack on civilians in Shopian. My thoughts are with the family of Sunil Kumar. Praying for the speedy recovery of the injured. The attack deserves the strongest condemnation from everyone. Terrorists responsible for barbaric act will not be spared."
"I condemn the militant attack in Shopian unequivocally in which Sunil Kumar was killed & Pinto Kumar injured. My condolences to the family," Omar Abdullah, the former J&K chief minister wrote on Twitter.
"Yet another dastardly attack by coward terrorists in Shopian. We strongly condemn this heinous act of violence. My condolences to the family," chairman of Peoples Conference and former minister Sajad Lone tweeted.
Mehbooba plays politics again
However, Peoples Democratic Party president and former J&K chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who has donned the mantle of separatists, instead of blaming Pakistan for the act, tactfully blamed New Delhi, in a tweet she said, "Terribly sorry to hear about the targeted killing in Shopian. Condolences to the deceased's family. GOI continues to behave like an ostrich with its head buried deep under the sand. Every resident of J&K has become cannon fodder in Delhi's quest for manufactured normalcy."
Mehbooba should learn a lesson from the residents of Chotigam village who without any fear took to the streets and denounced Sunil's killing by raising slogans like "Qatal Na Haq, Na Manzoor" (killings of innocents unacceptable). They didn't blame New Delhi instead they denounced the gruesome act of terror. They raised slogans of "Naray-Takbir Allahu Akbar" during Sunil's last journey and drove home a point that Islam disapproves of killings of innocents.
When people from every section of society blamed Pakistan and the terrorists sponsored by it for Sunil's killing, Mehbooba went against the tide and attempted to appease the terrorists and their supporters by blaming New Delhi. What an irony!
It seems she is unable to read the writing on the wall that the people of Kashmir don't support terrorism anymore and killings of innocents have become a source of pain for them.
Murderers identified, kin arrested, the property attached
Soon after the last rites of Sunil Kumar were performed, Police swung into action and identified the murderers as Al Badr terrorist Adil Ahmad Wani son of Mohammad Khalil Wani of Kutpora, Shopian, and his other aide.
The hunt was launched to track the killers and the input was received by the security forces regarding the presence of accused Adil Wani at his ancestral house at Kutpora in Shopian. A cordon and search operation was launched. During the search, terrorists lobbed a grenade at the search party and the accused terrorist escaped taking benefit of the darkness.
Later on, the security forces found a hideout in the house on the rooftop where arms and ammunition (one AK rifle along with a magazine and one pistol were found).
Consequently, a separate FIR No. 154/2022 U/S 307 IPC, 7/27 IA Act 16,18,19,20 ULA (P) Act was registered. Three siblings of the accused, Arif Ahmad Wani, Shabir Ahmad Wani, and Touseef Ahmad Wani, and their father, Mohammad Khalil Wani were arrested and process for attachment of property as proceed of terrorism was initiated Under Section 25 of UAPA, Act 1967.
Anti-peace elements unhappy
Since August 5, 2019 -- when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories-people of Kashmir have supported every move of the government.
Locals turning their backs on terrorists and decrying their acts have left the anti-peace and anti-national elements exasperated. They are once again trying to divide the people into religious lines by carrying out the target killings of the members of the minority communities.
The situation remained calm on August 5, Independence Day celebrations passed off peacefully, people supporting Amaranth Yatra in every possible way and participating in the 'Har Ghar Tiranga' campaign has not gone well with the terror bosses sitting across the Line of Control (LoC). They are trying to create chaos and uncertainty by directing the terrorists to kill innocents so that they can keep the pot boiling.
Pakistan stands exposed
Nefarious acts of terrorists have exposed Pakistan to the hilt. The people of Kashmir have understood that neither the neighboring country nor the gun-wielding terrorists are their friends. A common man has realized that Pakistan wants graveyards in Kashmir to remain abuzz and Kashmiris, irrespective of their religion, are nothing more than a cannon-fodder for the terrorists and their handlers.
Locals expressing anger against the terror attack on the Kashmiri Pandit brothers is an indication that the people of the Valley are no more scared of guns, bullets, and bombs and they are ready to take on the terrorist head-on.
The ultras, who were involved in the killings of members of the minority community in the past year, have been neutralized and the ones who attacked Sunil and his brother stand identified. Sooner or later their fate would be sealed. Security forces are facing a tough challenge but the human intelligence network which comprises natives is supporting them in dismantling the terror and its eco-system. It's a matter of time before the last nail will be pushed into the coffin of terrorism in Kashmir. (AA/IANS)