5 Bengali labourers shot dead in Kashmir; a dozen targeted killings since August – whither Kashmiriyat?

The dastardly targeting of migrant labourers and truck drivers continues unabated in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

5 migrant labourers from Murshidabad, West Bengal were shot dead and another critically injured by terrorists in Kulgam district of south Kashmir on Tuesday night (October 29), police said. Those killed are – Rafiq Sheikh, Rafiq ul Sheikh, Qamar ud din Sheikh, Mursaleen Sheikh and Najam ud din Sheikh, while Zahoor ud din is injured.

Eight locals, including the owner of the rented accommodation, have detained by security forces for questioning over the attack. Other killings of non-Kashmiris that have taken place in the last few months since Article 370 was abrogated include –

October 28 – Truck driver Narayan Dutt, a resident of Katra in Udhampur district was shot dead by terrorists in Bijbehara in the south Kashmir district of Anantnag.

October 24Truck driver Mohammad Illiyas and his helper Jahid from Alwar, Rajasthan were killed by terrorists in Shopian district of South Kashmir, while another driver Jeevan from Hoshiarpur in Punjab was injured in the firing. 

October 16 – Punjab-based apple trader Charanjeet Singh was killed and Sanjeev injured in a terrorist attack in Shopian district. The same day brick kiln worker Sethi Kumar Sagar from Chhattisgarh was shot dead by terrorists in Pulwama district.

October 14 – Two terrorists, including a suspected Pakistani national, shot dead truck driver Sharief Khan from Bharatpur, Rajasthan and assaulted an orchard owner in Shopian district. 

While the entire spectrum of left-liberals in Bharat and globally has been breast-beating about the ‘draconian’ communications lockdown in J&K, the reality is much different. The lockdown was necessary to prevent the sort of mass violence and SMS/internet enabled stone-pelting that had become a recurring feature of life in the valley. In any case, the restrictions were only partial and every effort was made to ensure day to day life is least disrupted.

Due to the communication lockdown, only 56 CRPF personnel were injured and around 25 force vehicles damaged in 250 incidents of stone-pelting between August 5-22 after abrogation of Article 370. These numbers are way lower than those recorded in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in 2016 when 338 stone-pelting incidents across the Valley between July 8 and 25, 2016 left 1,460 CRPF personnel injured and more than 200 force vehicles damaged.

If anything, it is the non-Kashmiri migrants in the valley who are facing the backlash of locals & terrorists since Article 370 was abrogated. As this report in Open magazine by Rahul Pandita shows, on just the third day after Article 370 was abrogated, thousands of migrant labourers from Bihar & other parts started fleeing the Valley after facing threats from local Kashmiris –

“They were hurling abuses at me and asked me to leave; they said they will kill me otherwise,” said Surinder Mahato from Motihari, Bihar.

“They took away my bag and said: Bhaago Bihari idhar se (Run away from here, Bihari),” said Aslam who was beaten up by a few locals in the HMT area in Srinagar.

“One Kashmiri came to me the previous night and said if I see you tomorrow, I will beat you up and burn you with kerosene oil,” said Anil.

Chote Lal from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh said some people threw stones on their dwelling and threatened him and others to run away, failing which they will be cut into pieces.

Lest we start buying the liberal/Jihad apologist narrative that “Indians” have become enemies of Kashmir & ‘Kashmiriyat’ (Kashmir’s ‘spirt of humanity’) has disintegrated post Article 370 abrogation, migrant labourers and non-Kashmiri pilgrims have been targeted many times in the past too. And there was not even the whiff of abrogating Article 370 when Kashmiri Hindus were cleansed and driven out of their homes in 1989/90 through a systematic campaign of rape, murder and terror.

The propaganda of innocent passers-by randomly getting hit by pellets fired by ‘brutal’ Indian security forces also doesn’t bear objective scrutiny. The security forces have in fact done a remarkable job given the enormous stress they are under, the brazen support to terrorists by significant sections of locals especially in South Kashmir, and seeing that till few months back they were hamstrung by a politicised administration that was operating as a front for separatists.

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