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After Burhan Wani, hailed as poster boy of Pro-Pakistan militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen 33 year old Associate Professor Mohammad Rafi Bhat of Kashmir University,killed in encounter with security forces in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday, is all set to become a rallying point for radicalised youth waiting in the wings to join ranks of different militant outfits in Kashmir valley.
His killing in an encounter with four other militants including Saddam Paddar, longest surviving member of Burhan Wani camp, triggered mass protests in different parts of Kashmir valley.
He also became an instant hit on the social networking sites where his students, well-wishers and silent sympathizers paid him glowing tributes and took a pledge to continue the war.
However, some of the senior security officers privately claimed the death of an Assistant Professor from Kashmir University may lead to more students joining militancy in the coming days.
“He will become a rallying point. We have to be very watchful of the ground situation. Kashmir valley is already passing through a crucial phase where more and more radicalised youth, with good academic back ground taking the plunge and joining ranks of militancy”, a senior police officer revealed during private conversation.
In the recent months the number of youth with sound academic back ground have joined ranks of militant outfits and were later neutralised due to poor training.
Eisa Fazli, an engineering student from Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Mannan Wani, a PHD scholar from Aligarh Muslim University, Abid Nazir, an engineering graduate who had also qualified National Defence Academy Test and now an assistant professor of Kashmir University have so far joined ranks of militant outfits and also got killed without participating in any operations against the security forces.
Failure of mainstream political parties triggering more unrest?
Failure of mainstream political parties to occupy the space and growing alienation of common masses is leading to chaotic situation in parts of Kashmir valley.
Lack of good governance, trust deficit, poor implementation of schemes, rampant corruption is compounding the miseries of ‘aam admi’ and leaving him stranded mid way with no ray of hope on the horizon.
The situation in South Kashmir districts is worrisome on ground zero.
Despite killing large number of local militants the security forces have yet to establish their control in the area. Every time an encounter took place large number of local residents have been stepping out of their houses to target security forces with stones.
In return the security forces have been exercising restraint to prevent any flare of law and order situation.
On the other hand mainstream politicians are leaving no stone unturned to play dirty politics to consolidate their grip and project failure of rival parties resulting in volatile situation on ground zero.
Ahead of reopening of durbar move offices in Srinagar and peak tourist season Kashmir valley has been witnessing sudden spike in incidents of militant related violence .
But this time the contours of the unrest across Kashmir valley and other indicators are serious in nature as the valley is going through a crucial phase of churning where more and more educated youth,feeling suffocated, are picking up guns and fighting a lonely battle with the security forces.
The social media has emerged as the biggest villain. Radicalisation of youth from different parts of kashmir valley and free flow of money in to the hands of stone pelting youth has resulted in total break down of law and order situation.
Disenchantment with the ruling dispensation headed by Mehbooba Mufti in alliance with BJP is another big factor which is pushing youth towards path of violence.
Mehbooba Mufti vs Omar Abdullah
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday expressed deep anguish and grief over the death of five civilians killed at Shopian.
In a statement, the Chief Minister said it sounds very depressing to note that our State is losing young lives to the unending cycle of violence who could otherwise be utilized for a positive contribution to the State.
She said today’s deaths have brought a stark fact to fore that gun, either way of a militant or that of security forces, is no solution for resolving issues.
“I have reiterated it time and again that Political issues need political interventions”, she said while appealing youth that their energies, youthfulness, dreams and aspirations are far more important and sacred to the society than their dead bodies or graves.
The Chief Minister appealed all sections of civil society, media, students, parents and other stakeholders to rise to this critical occasion, play their role and help in putting an end to this cycle of bloodshed in the State.
J&K issues can be resolved through a sustained dialogue process
Mehbooba Mufti Sunday reiterated her stand that issues in Jammu & Kashmir can be resolved only through a sustained dialogue between all stakeholders.
She said the three decades’ long violence in the State is a testimony to the fact that guns from either side cannot ensure peace but a compassion driven reconciliation process based on mutual respect surely can.
In this regard, the Chief Minister appealed the national leadership of the country to show the element of compassion and empathy as required by the present day situation here and display the statesmanship to get Jammu & Kashmir out of the quagmire of killings by engaging in a meaningful dialogue in the State.
“The sooner it happens, the more we can get our State out of the vicious cycle of killings and destruction”, she added.
In response, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in an apparent taunt termed the killing of a KU assistant professor as “an answer to those who claim jobs and development are the solutions to the violence and alienation in Kashmir”.
“This is another tragic development in a steady stream of tragedies in Kashmir,” Omar Abdullah said in a tweet.
Brief Profile of Assistant Professor who survived for less than 48 hours as militant commander?
The facebook page of Mohd Rafi Bhat, an assistant professor in the sociology department of Kashmir University declares I am a human being first then a Muslim.
He went missing on Friday afternoon. He belonged to Chunduna village in Ganderbal district.
There were angry protests in the university campus on Saturday after students demanded the authorities to work towards tracking down the missing professor.
Bhat had a doctorate in sociology and had cleared the UGC’s Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). He had also done research on globalization, emerging trends in consumerism and a comparative study of rural and urban Kashmir.
The security forces tried to pacify the assistant professor to lay down his arms and even brought his parents from Ganderbal to appeal to him to surrender. Instead of responding to the passionate appeals he sought forgiveness from his father before he was neutralized by the security forces in the gunfight.