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Kashmir’s new headache: Hindu militants

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  • Zafar Khan
    Kashmir’s new headache: Hindu militants By Iftikhar Gilani in New Delhi Tuesday, 20 September , 2005, 11:32
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20, 2005
      Kashmir’s new headache: Hindu militants
      By Iftikhar Gilani in New Delhi
      Tuesday, 20 September , 2005, 11:32


      The recent arrest of some Hindus for allegedly
      abetting and funding militants in Jammu and Kashmir,
      coupled with the killing of a Hindu commander of the
      Hizbul Mujahideen, has thrown new light on militancy
      in the state.

      Although the association of Hindus with militancy in
      Kashmir is not new, this became apparent with the
      arrest of a Hindu doctor S K Pandita, who was charged
      with sheltering militants, followed by the arrest of a
      Kashmiri Pandit Dalip Kumar, who was involved in
      financing them. This came in the wake of the killing
      of a Hindu area commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen,
      identified as Uttam Singh alias Saifullah, in Doda

      Intelligence agencies have so far identified 40 to 50
      Hindu youth who have taken up arms in Doda, Rajouri
      and Poonch. According to Rajouri Senior Superintendent
      of Police, J P Singh, the police have already
      identified three of the seven top Hindu militants from
      the Rajouri-Poonch area.

      Of the three, Sham Lal and Kirpal Singh belong to the
      Hizbul Mujahideen and Sanjay to the Lashkar-e-Toiba.
      Singh claimed all of them have crossed the Line of
      Control (LoC) for arms training.

      One of them is also an area commander of the Hizbul
      Mujahideen. He added that the police had trapped Sham
      Lal two months ago, but he escaped while five of his
      accomplices were shot dead.

      A senior police officer believes that the idealism
      associated with militancy, hunger for power and
      opportunities to extort money are the factors that
      lure Hindu boys into it. Unemployment and poverty,
      especially in the remote areas, are also catalysts.

      "However, their number is very small and we are
      holding interactive sessions with leaders from both
      the Muslim and Hindu community to stop their youth
      from committing acts of violence," he said.

      Almost three months ago, a teenage Hindu girl, Neena,
      was arrested from Rajouri for assisting militants.
      Police later said that she had fallen in love with a
      Hizbul Mujahideen district commander, Shamshuddin.

      According to police, she facilitated the passage of
      several Hindu and Muslim militants, and had arranged
      for food and shelter for them.

      The involvement of Hindus in insurgency dates back to
      1992, when a youth was killed while trying to throw a
      grenade in a busy Jammu chowk. The association became
      more evident when, in 2001, security forces killed a
      Hindu militant Kuldeep Singh—along with seven other
      —in a fierce encounter at Chatter Gali in Doda

      His elder brother Randeep Singh is still a commander
      of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Doda district.

      According to police files, Lal Chand, the son of a
      local farmer, had crossed over to Pakistan occupied
      Kashmir (PoK) in 1997 and returned to Doda in 2001,
      after undergoing arms training. In the following year,
      security forces arrested Bharat Kumar from the Satwari
      area of Jammu city with arms and ammunition. He had
      received military training for four years in Pakistan
      and Afghanistan.

      The police also arrested another Hindu, a noted
      smuggler from the border town of RS Pura, who was
      found involved in Jammu's Raghunath temple attack in
      2002. In November 2004, Manoj Kumar Manhas, a Hizbul
      Mujahideen activist, was among the 47 militants who
      surrendered before the Army. Manoj Kumar had revealed
      that another Hindu militant, Baldev Singh, who is
      still absconding, lured him into militancy.

      The recent arrests of a doctor and a financer have
      added a new dimension to the whole saga. Earlier,
      authorities would blame unemployment, hunger and
      remoteness for this phenomenon. S K Pandita, was said
      to be heading a state government dispensary at Gund
      Thethar in Doda.

      He was arrested when it was found that he had treated
      a Hizbul Mujahideen militant injured in a blast on
      August 10. Pandita confessed that he had been
      harbouring militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen and the
      Lashkar-e-Toiba for over a decade.

      According to Garib Das, superintendent of police,
      Banihal, the doctor disclosed during interrogation
      that he had also been acting as a courier for the
      militants, carrying their messages and ammunition.

      The editor of a local weekly Sada-e-Kohsar, Haq Nawaz
      Nehru says that besides romanticism, it is police
      atrocities that force Hindu youth to join militant

      However, police officials said most of those who have
      joined militants are criminals.

      Ghambir Chand, father of Hindu militant Baldev, claims
      that some gunmen had abducted his son when he had
      taken cattle to the nearby forests for grazing.

      "When he escaped from the militants' custody and
      reached home after 10 days, I personally took him to
      the nearby Army camp for questioning," he said. There
      they detained his son for two months and later handed
      him over to the Bhaderwah police.

      "A week later, he was released. But he was picked up
      again, this time by the Special Operations Group
      [SOG], immediately after we reached home," Baldev's
      father said. The SOG tortured him, but he escaped from
      their custody after a month and later resurfaced as a

      Courtesy: Hardnews Syndication Service

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