11 November 2006
Kashmir’s composite culture, reflected in the sentiment of ‘Kashmiriyat’, came under attack when terrorists targeted a religious congregation in Pulwama district on 10 November 2006. The attack was meant to eliminate Maulana Abdul Rashid Dawoodi of the Barelvi sect which preaches Sufism. The attack, which left six innocent children dead and 55 others injured, clearly indicated that terrorist outfits are aiming to silence moderate voices in the Valley.
Attack On Kashmiriyat
At a time when Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was emphasising on 'Kashmiriyat' and the need to promote it at the national and international level during his speech to the students of Islamic University for Science and Technology, militant owing allegiance to the Hizbul Mujahideen had undertaken a bomb attack in order to assert the supremacy of the radical Wahabi sect of Islam over the peace-loving Sufi sect. The grenade attack outside a mosque in Tahab village in Pulwama was meant to send a stern warning to Kashmiris who dared to deviate from fanatical orthodoxy. The grenade attack took place around 1.20 p.m., when people were going to the mosque along with cleric Maulana Dawoodi who had been invited to deliver a sermon. Six people, including four girls, were killed and over fifty others were injured in the attack, which was reportedly undertaken by a Hizbul cadre named Riyaz. A day after the attack, villagers captured and handed over to authorities Ghulam Nabi Mir, who had allegedly thrown the grenade. Authorities said that a Hizbul commander Gulzar Mir had apparently paid Rs. 1,000 to Mir for carrying out the attack. Though the villagers wanted to punish the militant themselves, they relented after army and police officials persuaded them to hand over the militant. While confessing to the crime, Ghulam said that Gulzar Mir alias Nikka had given him the grenade and asked him to hurl it at Maulana Dawoodi.
Terrorists Indulging In Communal Cleansing
Ever since the beginning of militancy in Kashmir, Pakistan-based terror outfits have indulged in communal cleansing of the Valley by driving out all Kashmiri Pandits form their ancestral homes. Kashmiri Pandits were also mercilessly massacred by the militant outfits whose outlook was very similar to the fanatic version of Islam followed by Taliban leader Mullah Omar in Afghanistan. Apart from the Hindus in the Valley, the Barelvis are a potential target for these jihadis primarily because the Barelvis are loyal to India. The Hizbul Mujahideen draws its ideological basis from the Jamaat-e-Islami, which follows the Deobandi school of thought. Maulana Dawoodi was targeted as he belonged to the liberal of theology, which promotes co-existence of Islam with other religions in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like Jammu and Kashmir. Sufism has deep roots in the Valley and its growing popularity had clearly become a problem for the extremist variants of Islam such as the Hizbul Mujahideen and other terrorist outfits.
The militant outfits operating in Kashmir have never shown any signs of allowing Sufi traditions to co-exist with others strands in the State. The primary objective of the militant outfits is the imposition of Islam in a monolithic form that would offer no space for saints and priests. The burning down of several shrines including that of the 14th century patron saint of Kashmir, Noorud-Din Wali at Charar-e-Sharief, was clearly the handiwork of ideologically indoctrinated militant outfits that are intolerant to any moderate school of thought. The Wahabi brand of Islam, considered to by the puritan school, has been covertly and overtly encouraged and promoted all over the world by Saudi Arabia. One of the primary objective of the Wahabi strand is to dissociate Islam from the 'little' Islamic traditions that have flourished in Kashmir for centuries. It is the interplay of these 'little' traditions that form the core of Kashmiriyat. The grenade attack was clearly aimed at provoking communal unrest in the Valley. As the attack took place a week before the Indo-Pakistan Foreign Secretary-level talks, this indicated that the militant outfits were making their presence felt in order to convey that peace in the Valley was not possible without their participation. However, the attack was condemned by religious scholars of different sects of Islam that are practiced in the Valley. The attack clearly indicated the desperation that has set in the rank and file of militant outfits that are increasingly getting marginalised in Kashmir. The fact that the militants failed to cause communal unrest in the Valley also indicated the inherent vibrancy of Kashmiriyat which ensured that the secular fabric of Kashmir does not fall prey to jihadi violence.