Once again, the soil of Kashmir is soaked in the blood of a young leader and his family. Once again, a leader who dedicated his life to the national cause has fallen to bullets from the guns of militants.
BJP leader Wasim Bari, his brother Umar Bashir and father Bashir Ahmed were all shot outside their shop in Bandipora on Wednesday.
Just when India was rejoicing the tremendous gains made by security forces in Kashmir after the decision to scrap Article 370 and just before the union territory was gearing up to celebrate one year, a bold voice of India was silenced by Pakistan-sponsored stooges. The police suspect Jaish-e-Mohammad to be behind the attack.
Bari stood for what all BJP workers stand — nation first, party second and self last. But perhaps, the losses militants suffered in these months pressured their bosses to keep militancy alive and kicking.
Nationalists working in Kashmir, particularly non-combatants, are facing a higher security threat now that we are entering a decisive phase of not only containing but completely eradicating militancy and separatism from Jammu and Kashmir. And more so in the case of workers and leaders affiliated with the BJP and the RSS.
Targeting BJP and RSS workers
After the 5 August decision last year by the Narendra Modi government, the newly carved union territory of Jammu Kashmir has been moving towards normality. Top militant commanders have been killed. Gone are the days of huge crowds chanting slogans against India or the Army — the calls for marches and human shields to help militants escape are unthinkable now. Instead, many in Kashmir are actively helping by providing information about militants in hiding.
The fear of militancy still looms, but to a lesser extent. Earlier, the Kashmiri youth were being paid, supposedly Rs 500 each, for stone-pelting, and were slowly graduated to militancy through continuous brainwashing. Many young lives have now been saved because of the strong resolve of the Modi government. But it comes with a new threat — this time to political and social workers active in the Valley. Leaders like Wasim Bari have to face the brunt of militants now.
The reason is not difficult to understand. When all other political and social workers have decided to sit back, members of the RSS and the BJP are in the field, among the people. Yes, the threat is big, but the resolve to serve Bharat Mata is even bigger.
Whether Bandipora BJP leader Wasim Bari or RSS leader Chandrakant Sharma, who was killed in Kishtwar last year, they have been targeted specifically for their ideology and fight for nationalism.
In the days to come, there may be even more threats to BJP and RSS leaders. But it only strengthens our resolve to fight militancy. For BJP and RSS members, politics and social service, respectively, are for a higher purpose. Laying down one’s life is an easier option than running away like many others in the Valley.
We must also examine what led to the killing of Wasim Bari and his family members. Although the Kashmir administration has provided security cover to important leaders, there are bound to be loopholes or periods when security is loosened, giving militants the chance to strike.
There may also be deliberate attempts designed with the help of the security apparatus. Why were the 10 policemen tasked with the security of Wasim Bari missing when the attack took place? All of them have now been arrested.
The intelligence network, which is doing a wonderful job by providing information leading to major victories against militancy, must also provide advance information about selective targeting. Workers who have security cover must not become lax and take extra caution because their lives are important for the continued fight against militancy.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is prepared for all sacrifices India expects from us, and we will be steadfast in the fight for humanity, the right to live freely in our land, against the ideology of hate and terror. We want a future free of threat for our next generations, even if we are not there to see it.
The author is the chief spokesperson of BJP in Jammu and Kashmir. Views are personal.