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Posts tagged as Adil Ahmed Dar

The Pulwama aftermath

The deaths of Indian security personnel in a massive explosion on a busy highway at Lethpora in the Pulwama district was the first such successful fidayeen attack in the history of the Kashmiri militant resistance.
That it took Kashmiris another two decades to produce full-blown destruction is surprising because the raw state repression that drives Kashmiri youth, including intellectuals and scholars, to take up guns have ignored such an easy spectacle for quite a long time.
In fact, people have been talking about such possibilities for quite a while, given the amount of radicalisation caused by wanton state brutalities.Following such a high-impact attack, and the amount of negative reaction that it has generated from the Indian media, public and the government, there are apprehensions that such a method might catch the fancy of the new generation of Kashmiri fighters.If so, there is cause for much concern for more deaths those of both military personnel and resistance fighters and its possible spill over to civilian populations could be massive and devastating. Such a thought conjures up images of Baghdad or Kabul at the height of the insurgency following the US invasions.
The impact of the blast was so strong that those slain were blown to smithereens, catalysing the pain of the tragedy. The government put a ban on showing graphic footage of the destruction, and perhaps rightly so, but social media exhibited a limitless fetish to spread the gruesome images.It is beyond any doubt that none of those killed in the blast could be identified through their bodies.While I usually refrain from watching such graphic photos of violence,

I accidentally’ saw some of them for they came from a source never associated with such an activity.Frankly speaking, I felt sick to my core and for several days I remained under the spell of intense sadness. Many felt the same way, but the argument of those who justified such gruesome violence cannot be ignored either.One of them compared the incident with the growing incidents of the military blowing up houses and militants during encounters. The army could easily capture these rebels or at least fight them humanely.
Instead, they choose to blow them up in pieces, destroy houses and celebrate deaths.During the last few years, there has been a significant change in the rules of engagement military personnel are willing to increasingly jettison their professional behaviour and indulge in such profanities as taking selfies with dead militants, dancing with their cadavers while chanting Hindu religious slogans, and filming the beatings and torture of the Kashmiri youth.
Sometimes, such videos get leaked and reach the public domain only to provoke and further anger and hostility.The only consolations from the attack were that it did not target civilians or cause civilian deaths and that the military personnel did not go berserk after the incident to target civilians, an otherwise usual practice.
But the pessimistic view suggested that the paramilitary personnel were so frightened after the blast that they were unable to form any sort of reaction. Later, after an hour or so, the military personnel did target unsuspecting civilians and beat scores of them to exact revenge.The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the agency that was targeted in the suicide blast, also beat dozens of peoples in downtown Srinagar producing yet more anger and hate that will ultimately provoke many more Kashmiri youth down the path of militancy.The story of the alleged suicide bomber, Adil Ahmed Dar, is somewhat similar to the trajectory of other Kashmiris who take to the gun as a path to break the stalemate of oppression.
Adil had been continually harassed and humiliated by the Indian army and the personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Police. Knowing no escape, he took the extreme step with a dreaded determination to cause as much damage to the military as possible.Soon after the blast, the government took the extreme step to ban the internet, but the damage had been done as photographs carrying gruesome details had already been circulated with sensational and often fake news. This spread panic, hatred, and calls for open revenge.Several Indian news channels made consistent calls for revenge, preparing the ground for more violence primarily directed against Kashmiris spread across India. The speech made by Prime Minister Modi in the aftermath was also provocative and bordered on hate speech.
As the pliant Hindutva media whipped up a frenzy, violent mobs of people were galvanised to exact revenge amid chants of teaching Pakistan a lesson that ultimately boiled down to mass violence against Kashmiris. In Jammu, the winter capital of the province of Jammu and Kashmir, thousands of Hindutva youth attacked Kashmiri Muslims, vandalised their properties and burned more than a hundred of their vehicles.
Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, the police watched helplessly as the mobs ran amok and pillaged around for several hours. The Hindu mobs attacked government officials of Kashmiri origin, students and even women.Where are the pellet guns, asked several Kashmiris over social media. There were wide-scale attacks on Kashmiri students across India, and strangely there were no condemnations from any political party or any serious attempts to stop this from happening.
The only credible help these Kashmiri students received, and in abundance, were from Khalsa Aid, a leading international Sikh charity. Their volunteers offered aid, rescued students from mobs, provided shelter and later procured transport facilities to take those who were stranded back home.This has earned them instant yet massive following and admiration with social media flooded with messages of goodwill.Amarpreet Singh, the Asia-Pacific director of the charity, left a message on my WhatsApp that they were willing to provide more emergency aid and assistance for stranded Kashmiris.In an ocean of hate-filled frenzy, Khalsa Aid offered a glimmer of hope that must grow into a flame!

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Adil Ahmed Dar, a lethal example of how Imran Khan’s softness has allowed Jaish-e-Mohammad to embrace global jihad

His testament could have been just another teenager’s Instagram holiday video, complete with tasteless graphics, low-grade mood-music, and the faux-machismo of the B-grade Bollywood potboiler. “It has taken a year of waiting, and god’s blessings, to get to this point. By the time you get this message, I’ll be frolicking in paradise”. Except that Adil Ahmed Dar was telling the story of how he was going to kill, and die.

File image of Masood Azhar. Reuters
File image of Masood Azhar. Reuters
Thursday’s car bombing isn’t significant because it’s the first suicide bombing by an ethnic Kashmiri: 17-year-old Afaq Ahmed Shah, the quiet introverted son of a Srinagar school teacher, blew himself up outside the XV Corps headquarters in 2000. Nor is the scale of the carnage unprecedented: in 2001, 34 were killed in a car-bomb attack on Kashmir’s Assembly.

Thursday’s attack—the most lethal in the state since September, 2016, when 19 Indian Army soldiers were killed at Uri—still tells us something important. The Jaish-e-Mohammad, the consistent author of the most spectacular terrorist attacks in Kashmir, has shaken off the shackles placed on it by prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s government in Pakistan. This sunrise will have consequences in Kashmir, and beyond.

For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the strike is a stern test: will he, elections ahead, retaliate across the Line of Control, as he ordered the army to do after Uri, or hold his fire since the attacker is an Indian national?

From Ahmed’s testament, we know how the village boy from Kakapora, in central Kashmir’s Pulwama district, understood his war. “The time is not far,” he proclaims, “when the azaan will sound again from the towers of the Babri Masjid. The more you oppress us, the more lions will rise across India to wage jihad against you.” He vows “a terrible vengeance”: “you drinkers of cow urine cannot resist our wrath.”

To other young people in Kashmir, too, Ahmed had a similar message. “Your enemy is not just the enemy of Kashmir’s freedom,” he declaimed, “but of your faith itself. They want to deprive you of Islam, and seduce you into a life of vulgarity and worldliness.”

Behind the words lie a lethal reality: for months now, the Jaish has been blossoming in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s not-so-naya Pakistan, systematically expanding its infrastructure and capabilities.

Last summer, Firstpost had broken news that the Jaish-e-Mohammad was building a new training complex on Bahawalpur’s fringes, adding to its existing headquarters in the city. The terror group’s house-magazine, al-Qalam, described rallies it was holding across rural Punjab (in Pakistan) and asking for donations of ushr (religious tithes) from farmers.

In one typical report, al-Qalam quoted a leader identified as “Maulana Ammar” speaking at a mosque in Pattoki, not far from Nawaz Sharif’s home town of Raiwind, seeking donations because “jihad was a mandate of the Shari’a”.

The story was much the same in 2016, when the Jaish struck at the Indian Air Force’s base in Pathankot. Former prime minister Sharif had shied away from confrontation with the Jaish, knowing it had powerful patrons in the Pakistan Army. In 2016, a videotape surfaced showing young men collecting funds in Karachi, for “the brave young men of the Jaish-e-Mohammed who are fighting for the victory of the name of god and Islam”—this even though the terrorist group is proscribed by Pakistan’s own laws.

Earlier that year, Jaish attackers had struck at the Indian diplomatic mission in Mazhar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, leaving a message written in blood: “revenge for Afzal Guru” — the terrorist hanged for his role in attacking the Parliament House in 2001.

But, faced with the prospect of an India-Pakistan crisis after Pathankot, Sharif moved against the Jaish, publicly accepting its complicity. He also ordered the arrest of Masood Azhar. The army, however, stepped in to ensure that Azhar was only detained at an Inter-Services Intelligence-run safehouse in Islamabad.

From house arrest, Jaish chief Masood Azhar railed against Sharif. “The rulers of our country are sad that we have disturbed their friends,” Azhar wrote. “They wish to arise on the Day of Judgment to be judged as friends of (Prime Minister Narendra (Modi) and (former Prime Minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”

In another article, Azhar described Nawaz Sharif as a “traitor”, “even worse than (General) Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari”. He concluded: “Pakistan’s rulers have reduced their own country into a heap of ashes. Every single one of them comes, spreads fire and then escapes abroad.”

Last year’s Pakistan elections saw the Jaish throw its weight behind Prime Minister Khan—cheered on by the Pakistan Army. “Choose the party that is pious and reject the corrupt,” wrote Talha Saif, one of Masood Azhar’s brothers. “Pick a party that rejects fohashani [vulgarity] and uriyani [nudity].”

The sentiments—even the exact words—figure in Ahmed’s suicide video.

Prime Minister Modi’s Uri strikes—of far more limited military value than Bollywood might have led people to believe—were in fact mainly intended to send a message. Pakistan’s army had persuaded itself that India would not strike across the Line of Control, for fear of sparking a cycle of escalation that would lead to a costly war. India’s focus on economic growth, and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, were seen in Islamabad as a shield, guarding against the consequences of terrorism.

The cross-Line of Control strikes questioned that assumption, making clear that, push come to shove, India was willing to throw its military dice in the air, and gamble on where they might land.

Even though the Jaish’s army backers had succeeded in sabotaging prime minister Sharif’s efforts to rein it in—an investigation against the group went nowhere, even though Pakistan was given precise names and phone numbers for suspects—the group thus operated very softly.

Following Khan’s rise, though, the Jaish became increasingly defiant. “Flags of the jihad are flying on every street-corner in Kashmir, and we are victorious in Afghanistan,” Masood Azhar wrote in one article last year “Prepare yourself to be Muslim who practices his faith with the mujahideen”.

At around the same time, we know would-be suicide bomber Adil Ahmed had joined the Jaish—and the process of grooming him for his mission had begun.

In 2018, the Jaish stepped up the tempo again, hitting military targets across Kashmir—a campaign that culminated its strike on an army camp in Jammu.

“To Delhi, O’ Hindus, the army of the Prophet will soon return,” reads a giant mural over the entrance of the Jaish-e-Muhammad’s headquarters at Bahawalpur. Inside the building, there is a swimming pool, stables, training grounds and accommodation for hundreds of students. “The life of nations depends on martyrs,” Masood Azhar wrote in the Fathul Jawwad, his disquisition on the Quran. “The national fields can be irrigated only with the blood of the best hearts and minds.”

For many young people, groups like the Islamic State and the Al Qaeda offer a template for liberation, not the failed religious nationalism of groups like the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. This youth cohort, fired by global jihadism, offers an unprecedented opportunity for the Jaish.

From the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC814 to the Parliament House attack, the Jaish has shown it means business. For New Delhi, there are no easy options.

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