Unidentified gunmen and Kashmir

How long will Kashmiris be fed to this unidentified monster?

Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 23 2015 9:01PM | Updated Date: Jun 23 2015 9:25PM
Unidentified gunmen and KashmirRepresentational Picture

Anytime there is a killing on the streets of Kashmir, blame goes to this infamous "unidentified gunman". The term has now become a part of our lives with people like me, who have grown up listening to this term right from our childhood. The "cult" is everywhere in every sphere of Kashmir life.

They are capable of committing murders, day-in and day-out, while maintaining anonymity. The emergence of this term "unidentified gunmen" (in context to killings in Kashmir) came with the emergence of armed struggle against the Indian rule in 1989.

During the early and late 90s this term was attributed to numerous killings on both parts of the political and ideological divide. This phenomenon of unidentified gunmen has caused a kind of psychosis in the brains of Kashmiri people which instills a fear of being continuously under somebody's watch. A common Kashmiri feels like being followed by someone who can anytime pull out a gun and shoot. 

I remember during late 90's, when I was a young boy and for the first time came to know about a killing by the so-called "Namaloom Bandook Bardaar" (unidentified gunmen) in downtown Srinagar. I was so terrified by the fact that they could kill anyone; anytime; anywhere and easily disappear without leaving any clue whatsoever for police to trace them.

For days I refused to go to toilet alone, such was the fear and I can only pity the kids of Kashmir going through this fear now. In the evenings, I would pray to grow up soon and think of strategies to catch this "Namaloom Bandook bardaar" which had created paranoia among the people.

I would imagine how grateful and relieved the people of Kashmir would be when these unidentified gunmen would be caught and punished. However, little did I know that the people who are supposed to hunt them down were not going to do that, not because they are not capable of doing so, but because it serves their interests or the interests of their bosses and could well be in connivance with these killers. What else explains the inability of the authorities to unmask these perpetrators of violence for more than two decades?

Kashmir is marred by political strife for decades and has become a sanctuary for proxy agencies, fielded by powerful people, having their ulterior motives and present a more virtuous face. Here political parties use proxy agencies to execute crimes against their rivals to score points, while claiming to be the victims. And, in-between this political drama, a common Kashmiri is suffering. 

(Ikram Ullah works in Dr Alexander Brehm Lab Institute of Molecular Biology & Tumor Research, University of Marburg Germany)


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