Srinagar, Sep 6 (IANS) Unnerved by the absence of a violent public backlash against the abrogation of Article 370, militants are resorting to civilian killings and threats to instil fear among the people so that the return of normalcy is prevented in the valley.
“Separatists were expecting a violent public outrage against the abrogation of Article 370 and the complete integration of the state with the rest of the country. They also believed that their would be civilian casualties in clashes with the security forces.
“Nothing like that happened although there has been a general strike in the valley since August 5. Despite all the preventive measures taken by us to ensure that public life and property are protected, the credit for ensuring peace goes to the common man in Kashmir who has refused to play into the hands of the separatists”, said a top intelligence officer.
The officer said the killings of two nomadic goatherds (bakarwals) in Tral area and a shopkeeper in Srinagar city by militants also followed the death of a truck driver during stone pelting instigated by militants in Bijbehara area. These are all examples of the frustration of the separatists.
The unfortunate death of a youth who had been injured in stone pelting in clashes with the security forces is the only civilian death about which there have been varying versions.
While the family said the youth died after he sustained injuries from pellets fired by the security forces, police maintain that the youth was critically injured by a stone which hit him during the clashes.
As the situation gradually limps back to normal in the valley, posters by banned militant outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have appeared at a number of places outside local mosques in North and South Kashmir districts threatening shopkeepers, transporters and others with dire consequences if they attempt to resume normal activities.
Some masked youths also reportedly appeared in some mosques in Srinagar and Sopore warning people not to resume normal activities.
Unlike the public unrest of 2008, 2010 and 2016 during which mosques were used to incite people to violence, there has so far not been a single incident this year in which local mosques were used to stoke passions among the people.
“This remains a big worry for the militants and that is why they are resorting to civilian killings and handing down threats. Such tactics are self defeating as the common man seems to have decided not to play into their hands”, said a senior police officer.