The killing of five policemen and two security guards of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank in Kulgam on Monday has triggered a debate in the Valley, with many lamenting how the Kashmir conflict continues to claim lives.
The social media in the Valley is abuzz with users debating the rationale behind the seven killings, as all of them were Kashmiris. The debate stems from the perception that the militants are fighting against Indian security forces and not against the Kashmiri population.
Despite the government ban on social media in wake of the rising students’ protest, Kashmiris are accessing social media platforms using VPN software.
“Mujahids don’t kill innocents and non-combatants. Murderers do,” wrote one Owais Nanda, on Facebook.
Another Facebook user, Shoaib Malik, wrote: “Nothing can justify such horrible and inhumane act, neither the freedom nor the religion.”
Arif Aayaz Parray, who wrote a note on the killings, although supported the separatist movement but suggested that those in the insurgent ranks who commit crimes or don’t follow a code of conduct should be punished.
Another user Ulfat Zargar wrote, “It is beyond one’s imagination that HM (Hizbul) be involved in any bank robbery or killings of bank employees at a time when (the) Kashmir issue is being discussed at national and international forums.” Sayeed Salahudeen, chief of HM, “needs to clarify to his Kashmiri people about such attacks”, Zargar added.
However, some users also questioned why did the separatists leaders not call for a shutdown against the killing of the two bank employees.
Mohammad Salman Bhat wrote, “Seven families, thousand dreams who is responsible for these killings? #kulgamkillings.”
Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahedeen issued a statement and said it did not kill the two security guards (working for the bank), but killed the policemen. In the statement a Hizbul spokesperson said the “CRPF men” had shot dead the two guards and added that “militants can never target innocent Kashmiris”.
Slain cops, guards leave poignant stories behind
Muzaffar Ahmad Laway of DH Pora in Kulgam district–one of the bank security guards killed by militants on Monday–is survived by a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter, apart from his wife and mother.
The other bank guard, Javaid Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Kulgam, left behind a six-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.
The five policemen killed in Monday’s attack too have similar stories trailing them.
Constable Farooq Ahmad of Kulgam is survived by his mother, wife, two daughters, 14 and 10, and a 12-year-old son. Assistant sub inspector Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Bonigam Qazigund, Anantnag is survived by his wife, a son, 29, and a daughter, 22.
Constable Mohammad Qasim, a resident of Kupwara, is survived by his mother, wife, five daughters and one son (all teenagers except one daughter who is seven). Constable Muzafar Ahmad of Qazigund, Anantnag is survived by his wife, two brothers and sisters.
Constable Ishfaq Ahmad of Srinagar left behind his mother, two brothers and a sister.
Writing about his friend Ishfaq, Facebook user Faizaan Bhat wrote that he had played cricket with him in his childhood. He added that Ishfaq’s father is a barber and that he had joined the police to support his family.
“By killing or attacking policemen, these people are starting (a) civil war and taking away people from freedom and making them hate freedom. Rest in peace, friend! Let’s stop civil war,” Bhat’s post said.