Terrorism Murders In J&K On The Increase
16 April 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Despite assurances given by President General Musharraf of Pakistan to world fora and his senior allies in the much-publicized campaign against terrorism, the number of cross-border terrorism strikes in Jammu and Kashmir is increasing. The recent baffling statement by the Pak President setting the August 2004 deadline on the peace process and his TV statement that he was not there to 'sell Kashmir', indicated that his doublespeak could be either a part of a calculated strategy or a cover-up for his failure to curb cross border-terrorism and his fear and failure. The recent statements and statistics seem to cloud the peace process. The number of civilians killed by terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir between January 1 and March 15 this year, was 83. It was almost a murder on very week day and two extra murders every fortnight. In 2003,the number of civilians killed by the terrorists in the same period was 67. That was before the Musharraf promise of removing the terrorist training camps in Pak Occupied Kashmir and controlling cross-border terrorism. Two main reasons ascribed by security affairs experts to this increase in terrorism murders are lack of will and inclination on the part of the Islamabad Government and desperation of the terrorists that if the peace process between the two countries continues to move ahead, they would be marginalized and then eliminated from the scene. Most of the killings were of innocent people. As many as 48 of the civilians had been abducted and then mercilessly butchered. Many of the victims were innocent women and children, shot down in terrorist firing strikes. Taking a look at the figures of those killed in terrorism murders in the last three years the message is clear, if the Musharraf regime continues to turn a blind eye to these cross-border terrorists and those planted in Jammu and Kashmir, the number of the victims of such crimes of terrorism might become higher and higher. In 2001 as many as 1,098 civilians were killed in terrorism murders. In 2002 the figure of victims of such killings was 1,050 and in 2003, the number was 836. With this spurt in terrorism murders, the number may show a disturbing rise this year if tough preventive measures are not taken early in POK, which generates such campaigns of terrorism to scare and bully the Kashmiris. But the acts of desperation by the terrorist groups are now evoking strong willed resistance by the Kashmiri people against Pak infiltrated and foreign terrorists. The story of Asifa, a real life story, emerged in February this year, to make her the 'New Tragic Heroine of Kashmir' and a clear signal that the Kashmiri woman was now willing to make the supreme sacrifice to save innocent lives from the blood thirsty terrorists criminals. On 28 February 04 twenty two year old Asifa daughter of Mohd Iqbal Bandy of Saidipura was going to the market along with her eight year old brother Arif Iqbal. She was holding the hand of the little boy, shielding him from the speeding traffic in the narrow lanes. As they reached the Higher Secondary School, she heard the ringing tones of the loud speakers. She craned her neck curiously to catch a glimpse of the states Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed who, she had heard, was visiting her home town to announce a degree college for its boys and girls. That was the last thing she saw. There was a blinding flash and loud explosion. She felt the hot bits of metal tearing into her flesh. She screamed and clutched her younger brother in a reflexive display of the motherly instinct even as she fell. Her little brother Arif also screamed in pain as the jagged places of metal tore into his body. Luckily, for his courageous sister had shielded him with her body even as she fell dying. It was an unsung act of supreme courage and filial love for her little brother whom she saved even in the act of dying. Her body was peppered with the metal shrapnel. She lay on the dusty road in a pool of her own blood and her little brother screamed and wept in pain. He was inconsolable. He just could not comprehend why his sister had to die. She had never harmed a fly in her innocent life. Yet her life or death had no meaning for those demented terrorists and their self proclaimed Jihad. Little Arif Iqbal sat sobbing over his sisters bleeding body even as bedlam broke out all around him. Someone took pity and moved the bleeding brother and sister to the hospital. Asifa breathed her last there. Asifa was not the only victim of this dastardly deed. Sanobar, a five year old girl had her face and body peppered with shrapnel. The grenades also wounded Zaina, a 40 year old housewife, wife of Gulam Nabi Gami, a friendly and gregarious person who had never harmed a fly. The Kashmiri people mourned Asifa's death and extolled the instinctive courage which enabled her to save her little brother's life. Such deeds of quiet heroism go unsung today on the streets of Kashmir. But if peace returns to this tortured and tormented Kashmir, Asifa may not have died in vain. People told this to her grieving father and mother and little Arif Iqbal, her brother who wept silently in the hospital.