The martyrdom of Shabir Ahmed Malik, a paratrooper with the Indian Army has once again brought to fore the role of Kashmiris in fighting terrorism in their state. He was martyred fighting intruders in the border district of Kupwara in North Kashmir. The Sainik School educated had turned 22 the very day he attained martyrdom. His supreme sacrifice will be remembered for long. What will be remembered even longer was the fact that thousands took to the streets to bid an emotional farewell to this son of the soil. Thousands shouted Shabir Ahmed Zindabad and Azad Hindustan Zindabad.When his tricolour draped body was brought to his village Wakura, near Ganderbal thousands mourned and a pall of gloom engulfed the village and adjoining areas. Yet it was proud moment for most of the people as one of them sacrificed his life to save Kashmir and India.
“We are proud of what he has done but at the same time we are saddened by his loss,” Ghulam Mohammad Malik, Shabir’s brother, told reporters soon after laying him to rest at Dab-Wakura graveyard.
This isn’t the first time nor would it be the last when Kashmiris have taken terrorism head on. However the fact remains that the Kashmiris who have laid their lives or are fighting terrorism day in and day out are not given as much recognition as their counterparts in the rest of the nation.
When a Policeman or Para-military personnel is killed fighting terrorists in Delhi or Mumbai, the whole nation mourns. It is carried prominently by all newspapers and TV Channels. To this day we remember the sacrifice of the soldiers who were martyred fighting terrorists involved in the Parliament attack. This is not to belittle the role of security forces anywhere but how many of us remember the Policemen who are almost killed regularly in Kashmir.
It is important for all of us to recall the role of J&K Police in fighting terrorism. It is their rank and file who has the biggest network of informers which helps the state Police to thwart terrorist attacks. Their local knowledge and better understanding of the terrain has given them an upper hand in fighting insurgency in the State. It is the local Police who are targeted almost regularly because of their vulnerability of being locals and thus them and their families being almost sitting ducks for terrorists. Despite that the local Police have done a commendable and almost thankless job of eliminating terrorism or at-least bringing it down to a level where the elections could be held peacefully. While it is true that the army and Para-military forces have acted in tandem with the local Police but it is essentially the local Police who are the first ones to take on Fidayeen attacks wherever they happen in the State. It is them who eventually the broke the back of the terrorist groups like the Yasin Malik led JKLF or the Hizb.
At this point we must also make a mention of the Ikhwanis or the renegade terrorists who at the height of terrorism helped cleanse Kashmir of the Pakistan Sponsored terrorist gangs.
The Ikhwanis who were mainly ethnic Kashmiris took upon themselves the noble task of cleaning Kashmir of the Islamist virus that had people like Yasin Malik and his ilk had brought from Pakistan. It was to the credit of the Ikhwanis led by the charismatic Kuka Parrey that militancy declined in the mid-1990s.
Sudha Ramachandran writes in the Asia Times,”Parrey inspired many militants to switch sides and cooperate with the security forces. "The power that Parrey and his boys came to wield and the new-found legitimacy they got by strutting around with the Indian forces and flaunting their weapons in the open was undoubtedly a big attraction for several militants who were fed up with life underground and disillusioned with 'the cause'," a Kashmiri police officer pointed out. Consequently, hundreds of militants surrendered.”
The very fact that the once heavily terrorist infested areas like Shopian, Bandipora, Devsar, and Doda are today terror free is a testament to the dedicated Police Officers and their force in J&K.There are countless Kashmiri Muslim Officers who have told me,”Cleansing Kashmir of these terrorists is the true Jihad”They have steadfastly stuck to their tasks and persevered to get Kashmir to Peace without caring for their own safety or the safety of their family.
On this day, let us all remember the unsung and unwept Kashmiri soldier who has stood between chaos and India, between Pan-Islamism and secularism, between barbarianism and civic society, between mayhem and peace. The situation in J & K is still far from normal but whatever strains of normalcy have been achieved have been due to the consistent efforts of those Kashmiri soldiers to whom this jihad is a personal battle to kill the evil within Kashmir. It is to them that I stand and salute, it is to their efforts that I bow my head and to their sacred vow that annihilating these terrorists is the true Jihad that I revere.