Militant and a blogger

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Basit Rasool Dar, 21, the Hizbul Mujahideen militant killed  by the security forces in an encounter at village Hadigam, was a B Tech student at the Valley’s Islamic University of Science and Technology. What is more, he was an avid blogger also, who wrote short narratives pieces on the situation in Kashmir. His had installed the snow-falling effect on his blog with snowflakes drifting down on his write-up titled “Yes, This is Kashmir”. In his last blog, written on June 30, Dar talked about the situation in Kashmir by fictionalizing the alleged everyday harassment by the “men in uniform”. In one such piece, he writes about the demand of an identity card from the local Kashmiris by the security forces, a predominant number of whom are not from the state. And how in one such incident he was allegedly beaten like a “drum being beaten on someone’s marriage” when he failed to show one.

Dar had joined militancy just two months ago when the ongoing unrest was at its peak. According to estimates of J&K Police, around 60-70 youth went missing in Kashmir in the first 100 days of the turmoil, the highest such number in such a short period since early nineties. Police apprehends that most of them, if not all, may have joined militancy, a fact also borne out by the new militant videos on the social media which have shown some new faces. In fact, thirteen militants are said to have joined in Baramulla, a district that has seen little local militancy in recent years. This is already leading to a visible rise in the violence. As against 174 fatalities in 2015 – 113 militants, 41 security personnel and 20 civilians – J&K has witnessed 233 killings so far this year – 148 militants, 74 security personnel and 11 civilians.

Basit, a resident of Marhama in Bijbehara, was one of them. According to security forces, he was killed shortly after the encounter began in the morning. Though, he was allegedly asked to surrender, he refused to do so, a trend that has put paid to the recent attempts at a security outreach to the local militants.

In the recent encounters in Valley, security forces have claimed to use the loud speakers to call on cordoned off militants to surrender, but they have refused to do so and instead opened fire on the forces. triggering gunfights which invariably lead to their deaths. The policy was implemented after the directions passed by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti calling on the security forces that every effort must be made to spare local militants during encounters. Dar is alleged to have refused to take the offer. His death at such a young age reflects yet again the continuing tragedy of Kashmir. The educated, promising young boys die within months of joining the militancy or while throwing stones, protesting or just passing by the road where the protest had been going on. And then there are hundreds of the pellet-blinded who and whose families have been left to fend for themselves. The mention of these youth may form a rhetorical part of the separatist discourse, nobody at the political or community level has gone back to ask their families  their well-being. It is legitimate to complain about the denial of justice but it is criminal to fail in community obligations towards the people who lost their everything in the past two and a half decade of trouble. It is time we, as a community, wake up to this tragedy and do something collectively about it. 

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