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Sopore Killings

By Abdul Majid Zargar

22 June, 2015

In a span of less than one month, six civilians have been killed in Sopore in quick succession at the hands of “Unidentified Gunmen”. There is a strong reason to believe that killings are the result of a covert operation hinted at by Union Defence Minster few days before the first bullet was fired to announce its launch . Former State Chief Minsters M/s Omar Abdullah & Ghulam Nabi Azad have unambiguously indicted Union Defence Minster for the operation. It is another thing that they have done so only to score brownie points On political front & not out of some love or affection for the hapless citizens of Kashmir .

The fresh style of killing in Kashmir is not exactly new. Killing through covert operations has remained an instrument of state policy for India in Kashmir. Translated into execution, it allows it to adopt the smoke screen of plausible deniability, wherein the action itself may be visible and verifiable but its links are concealed, so that it can easily deny any involvement. Unidentified Gunmen have remained a principal character of these operations.

It Started with the murder of world renowned cardiac surgeon, Dr. Abdul Ahad Guroo in 1991. This covert operation was conceived by then Director General of Police ,B.S. Bedi by employing a renegade militant, Zulkarnain in the plot. The purpose behind the plot was two fold- one to put the onus of killing on one particular group of militants and promote animosity & group war between them and second to eliminate Dr. Guroo who as a human rights defender had become a constant source of embrassment for Indian security set up in Kashmir particularly at international level. The details of the operation were finally revealed by Wajahat Habibullah, former chief information commissioner in 2008 through his book “My Kashmir Conflict and the Prospects of Enduring Peace”.A special feature of this operation is that after killing Dr. Guroo, Bedi also got the renegade militant Zulkarnain killed so as to leave no chance of any leakage of information about the operation.

The next in the list of exposed covert operations is the killing of five foreign tourists in 1995 . The chilling details of this operation are brought out by Internationally acclaimed investigative journalists Andrian Levy and Scott-Clark in their book “The Meadows”. In this operation, five foreign tourists originally kidnapped by a militant organization were got killed at the hands of renegades working for Indian security apparatus. The purpose behind this Indian operation was to malign Pakistan before the International forums. Written in the style of a thriller, the book gives details of Indian refusal to let foreign boots on the ground or accept much international assistance to rescue foreigners with the sole purpose of keeping foreign gaze away from kidnapped foreigners who were stranded in an area where India had always full control.

The next in the list of covert operations is the massacre of 36 innocent Sikhs at chittisinghpora village in March 2000.The purpose behind this operation, conducted on the eve of Bill clinton’s visit to India, was to malign Kashmir freedom movement by portraying it as a handiwork of communal fanatics. Its perpetrators were revealed through a statement by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the former chief Minster in his address at an annual convention of the Kashmir Sikh Sangat (KSS) in Jammu on 17th Feberuary 2008 when he said.“There were some people who tried to scuttle the chittisinghpora investigations. Some investigators were even threatened. I want to reveal the conspiracy behind the massacre, but as I am under an oath, I cannot do so”. The conclusion is clear that Chittisingpora massacre is an official secret which cannot be disclosed because of compulsions of ministerial oath.

The International Human Rights Organization at Ludhiana has also stated that the killers were surrendered militants in complicity with “intelligence agencies” (IHRO, Newsletter; Jan-April 2000; page 1). In the introduction to her book, The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs, the then US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright accused “Hindu militants” of perpetrating the act. It is another thing that the publishers of the book “ Harper Collins” had to edit out this observation by author on technical grounds after protest by various Indian Hindu organizations. It may be recalled that following this massacre , five civilians were picked virtually from their homes, labeled as persons responsible for the killings and killed in most barbarous & inhuman way by Indian army. Through a sustained investigation, Central beurau of investigation (CBI) proved beyond doubt that they were innocent civilians killed in cold blood by Indian Army. It stands to reason to say that if Indian army knew that they were not the actual people behind the chittisinghpora massacre, they infact knew who actually were. The guilty personnel were never punished courtesy the protective shield provided by AFPSA.

It is also pertinent to recall here the assertion by Mr. satish Verma, former CBI Officer that both Indian Parliament attack in 2001& Mumbai terrorist attack in 2008 were both orchestrated by intelligence agencies to enable Government to strengthen the counter intelligence laws

(http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-behind-Parliament-attack-26/11-Ishrat-probe-officer/articleshow/21062116.cms). In both these attacks & counter operations, scores of people were killed. Talking specifically of Parliament attack case, One needs to go through Nirmalalangshu Mukherji’s book “December 13-terror over democracy” to know the missing links & some vital unanswered questions in the Parliament attack case. After reading its chapter two titled “Who attacked Parliament” one is left with little doubt in concluding that there is more to it than what has Govt. of the day put in public domain.

(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E Mail: abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com)








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