In Kashmir’s Shopian District, four militants, members of Hizbul Mujahideen, were neutralized by the government forces. The Shopian encounter comes after the group brutally executed suspected informers working for the security forces in the district.
They had filmed the execution, which later went viral on social media. By doing so, the militants had hoped to create fear among ‘such informers’, to prevent and stop them from passing information about ‘militants movement’ and their ‘sleeper cells’ to security agencies. All in all, it backfired. This worked against them.
Tuesday’s gunfight in Shopian killed an elite para-commando and critically injured another. The elite forces are deployed in extreme circumstances when counter-insurgency forces are at a disadvantage against militants in a difficult terrain or congested localities.
However, eight civilians were injured when youth took to the streets to protest the encounter at Nadigam Village about four kilometers from the main town, Shopian. To disperse the crowds, the police and paramilitary forces fired teargas shells, pellets and live ammunition. A resident of Nadigam Village said people were protesting against the killings when the forces suddenly opened fire. As a result, two women suffered bullet injuries.
Shopian was not like this. It was once a safe bastion for militants. Post Burhan Wani, it has turned into a slaughterhouse of militants. According to a police officer, the forces have killed 40 militants in Shopian this year, so far. This figure is likely to break the record of the past 15 years in terms of the number of militant killings in one year in Kashmir. Moreover, Shopian had the maximum number of militant killings, including foreign ultras this year.
According to the Wire, the people of Shopian openly espouse the separatist cause and young boys talk proudly of their ‘heroes’ from the neighbourhood, who have joined the ‘tehreek’, the resistance movement, or lost their lives in it. The establishment is very much aware of this reality and continues to fight with its gun might.
According to experts that EurAsian Times talked to, South Kashmir definitely is the hotbed of resistance and armed rebellion. The militants have been idolized and Kashmir, being a close-knit society and people come out in support in massive numbers, sometimes due to social pressure, sometimes as mere spectators and sometimes due to genuine concern.
Indian agencies have invested very heavily in Kashmir and have a widespread intelligence network which yields precise intelligence including the names of terrorists and their actual numbers. Not everyone in Kashmir supports the militants and armed rebellion, but these people cannot come out in open due to looming threats. But, yes, there is a huge chunk of people who are discontent with the Indian rule in Kashmir, concludes the expert.
By: Fatima – A Kashmiri Journalist Based in Srinagar