On April 9, in Budgam, ITBP and J&K police personnel were guarding a polling booth. When the polling was almost over, a mob of about 900 stone pelters attacked these personnel. There were only 9 security personnel to guard the polling booth versus a mob of 900. ITBP personnel realised that they would not be able to get out alive unless they did something. They sent out a SOS message to the Army, which immediately sent in a quick reaction team (QRT) with one jeep and one bus. When the QRT arrived, they too realised that it would be difficult to face a mob of 900. Major Leetul Gogoi, the commander of the QRT, realising that it would be a bad idea to open fire at the mob and that rescuing the men inside is what was important, caught hold of one Kashmiri stone pelters, tied him on to the jeep and drove past the mob of 900. Not only did they go in, they saved the nine ITBP and J&K police personnel, and managed to come out alive.

Although J&K Police reportedly registered a FIR against unnamed Army persons, after many media visuals aired showing Kashmiri youth throwing stones and heckling and assaulting CRPF personnel who have been exercising much restraint, public revulsion against rioting Kashmiris is rising. Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi did not mince his words in media, when he stated: “The recent report about a stone pelter tied to an Army vehicle, it helped contain stone pelters and saved the poll officials”. Despite apologists/peaceniks/ human rights activists crying foul, the Army Chief bestowed his Commendation on Gogoi, whose action has been commended by many.

Hailing from the troubled Kulgam district, 22 year old Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, the son of an apple grower, was a classic example of a young Kashmiri boy who aspired to do well in life and in his case, by joining the Army. Selected for the National Defence Academy, where he excelled in studies and sports, he was commissioned into the Rajputana Rifles in December 2016 and posted to its 2nd Battalion deployed in Akhnoor. On May 9, 2017, while on his first leave since being commissioned,to attend a marriage in the family, he was abducted by terrorists from his relative’s house in Kulgam town and his bullet-riddled body was found in Harmain area of Shopian the next morning.

While it is not shocking that in an environment poisoned by hate spread painstakingly by Kashmiri separatists controlled by Pakistan army/Inter Services Intelligence, Fayaz was targeted for joining the Indian Army, what is shocking is that stone-pelters did not even spare Fayaz’s funeral procession.Terrorists and their supporters are intimidating young Kashmiris wanting to join the Army, police or security forces. Over 1000/up to 1300 have been repeatedly defying separatists diktats and coming for recruitment in these very days of stone and petrol-bomb pelting. A video of one of them being tonsured was widely aired. Many Jammu and Kashmir police personnels’ homes have been raided by terrorists/their supporters to threaten them for discharging their duties.

Separatists have also issued diktats against sending children to Army’s Goodwill schools, which could not be burnt and where students have been faring well, accusing these schools of compromising ‘Kashmiriyat’, which actually is being killed by Pakistan supported Kashmiri terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen and the separatists, who are not even sparing their own fellow Kashmiris.

On the separatists, there is no dearth of evidences of their treacherous activities. One of them, Naeem Khan has had the temerity to boast of forgetting how many Kashmiri Pandits he killed after killing 25. Dangerous terrorists have been able to escape owing to active assistance of youth, including girls, paid to pelt stones, petrol bombs and threatening to even throwing acid on security forces.

It is now high time that New Delhi jettisons the politics of appeasing traitors/anti-nationals and instead meaningfully demolishes the entire separatists network. Because no matter how many cross-border strikes or bombardments are undertaken, they will only affect Pak army and not the process of radicalising/poisoning the minds of. The districts contaminated/commandeered by Pakistani and Kashmiri (Hizbul Mujahideen) terrorists must be cleansed effectively and equally important, stop FIRs against Army and constabularies.

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