Kashmirs new headache: Hindu militants
- Kashmirs 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 Singhalong 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
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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