VIOLENCE RETURNS TO J&K TO MIX WITH THE PLAY OF HARD POLITICS
Major suicide attack in Kashmir
NEW DELHI: A terror attack on an Army camp in Uri broke the peace and covered the next crucial phases of the elections in Jammu and Kashmir under a cloak of uncertainty. The high polling by the Kashmiris in the Valley particularly to keep out the BJP will be impacted, with a polarising domino effect on the rest of the state.
The suicide attack on the Army’s Field Ordinance amp in Mohra near Kashmir’s border town of Uri killed four army personnel, including a Lt Colonel, three policeman, and three militants as per the initial reports.
Army sources told reporters that while the exact number of terrorists in the attack is not known, they are believed to be from Pakistan. They killed four security personnel on the road outside the camp. Lt Col Sankalp Kumar of the 24-Punjab regiment was killed in the exchange of fire as were three soldiers. The terrorists had divided themselves into two groups, and while engaged in fire with the troops at the gate the second entered the camp. The total number of terrorists involved in the operations was not immediately known.
The soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire at the gate. It was not immediately known how many terrorists entered the camp and there is a massive manhunt on for them.
Uri is to go to the polls on December 9. As a border town it has been worst hit by militancy with residents speaking of infiltrators being “very visible” during and after the decade of militancy. The terror attack comes on the eve of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election campaign in Srinagar on Monday.
Meanwhile in a second major attack in Srinagar, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to campaign on Monday, two militants intercepted at a police post in the heart of the city reportedly opened fire.
One militant is reported to be killed, while other is engaging police and government forces in an encounter in Srinagar’s Ahmad Nagar area.
According to reports, police party, acting on tip of, stopped a vehicle, suspected of militants traveling it at Srinagar’s suburb of Ahmad Nagar.
The police sources said that as they asked the vehicle to halt, the militants opened fire on police party in which one militant was killed. However another managed to skip off and has taken shelter in the nearby house. The encounter is still going on till last reports came in.
PM Modi will be visiting Kashmir yet again in a demonstration of his personal, and his party’s deep interest in the state. BJP President Amit Shah has spoken of establishing a “nationalist government” in the border state, with the party being helped by RSS cadres to push it towards its Mission 44+ benchmark. The PM in his Srinagar campaign is expected to reach out to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and focus on development and job opportunities.
However, the elections are being fought on issues other than development now with the BJP statements about abrogating Article 370 provoking a high turnout of voters amidst the campaign by the other political parties that this would be used to change the demographic complexion of Kashmir.Development that was used by voters to justify the ballot, has since become secondary to the politics raked up by BJP leaders in particular during the election campaign.
The latest controversy is around Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assertion that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the state with senior Kashmiri leaders from the separatist camp joining issue with him on this. Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said “stubbornness of the Indian government is the main hurdle in resolution of Kashmir dispute.” He advised Jaitley “to go through the pages of history.”
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Muhammad Yasin Malik said, “Jaitley is ignorant of history and he needs to revisit history of nations.”
He added, “If Arun Jaitley wants to befool himself and his nation, we cannot help it, but the reality is that without solving Kashmir dispute the dreams of peace, stability, progress and becoming global leader can never be fulfilled.”
Significantly Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Shareef in recent remarks has equated Kashmir with the Palestine issue saying that there could not be peace without a just solution of both issues. Recent statements from Islamabad have again raised the banner of Jammu and Kashmir, making it clear that the issue was again on the front burner for Pakistan.