Killing of Kashmiris evokes
resentment against militants

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An IANS feature

A police officer, Arshid Ahmad Mir, was shot dead from point-blank range by militants in Khanyar area of Srinagar city, evoking strong reactions from various quarters in Kashmir. While huge crowds turning up for funerals of militants in the valley had become a norm till 2020, on Sunday, thousands of people participated in the last rites of SI Mir.

As the mortal remains of the young and brave officer reached his home in Kupwara district people were shocked. Everyone mourned his death with women wailing when the body reached the village. Later thousands of people joined the funeral with slogans against terrorists.

According to J&K police, Arshid Ahmad Mir, a Probation Sub-Inspector, was critically injured in a cowardly attack of terrorists at Khanyar. He was shifted to hospital where he succumbed.

At his son’s funeral, father Mohammad Ashraf Mir had one question for his killer: “I want to know the fault of my son. What wrong he could have done in his two years of service?” This made all the participants at the burial cry out loud.

Arshid Ahmad Mir

People of Kashmir are showing anger against the killing of un armed personal, it is a clear resentment against the militants among the public. No one is happy when an unarmed police man is killed. People are now appreciating the police.

At the funeral of this brave young officer, a strong voice was raised by the Islamic scholars against the barbaric killing. Strong reactions erupted in the valley. The Police chief said we have identified the perpetrators.

“We have lost a brave young officer. He was learning the nuances of policing. It’s a very tragic loss for us and his family. We express our deepest condolences. Perpetrators involved in this case have been identified and they will be brought to justice,” DGP Dilbagh singh said.

Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha condemned the attack in strong words and said: “This is a handiwork of enemies of humanity and peace.”

Kashmir civil society and netizens expressed grief on this dastardly and brutal attack.

A Netizen from Kashmir wrote on a microblogging site: “The dastardly attack on young, unarmed policeman left another family orphaned and it deserves highest possible condemnation.”

Arshid Ahmad Mir

Another wrote: “Day in and day out we are losing our gems, this must end, Kashmir must wake up against the terror cycle.”

Everyone in Kashmir is expressing their deepest sympathies with the bereaved family. Things are changing now this massive turnout at police officer’s funeral is reminder of Kashmir’s complex reality. People from all walks of life are now fed up with daily killings in Kashmir.

Militants killing newly-recruited J&K Police Sub-Inspector Arshid Ahmad Mir at Khanyar in Srinagar’s old city has triggered outrage in Kashmir. The officer was fired upon by a militant from behind in broad daylight, when he was returning to the police station after dropping a detainee for the Covid test in a nearby hospital.

This was the third attack on a J&K Police personnel in Srinagar city this year. In February, a gun-wielding militant killed two unarmed policemen at Baghat Barzulla Chowk in uptown Srinagar. Constables Mohammad Yousuf of Zirhama Kupwara and Suhail Ahmad of Logripora Aishmuqam, Anantnag, were at a tea stall when they were attacked from behind. Both died on the spot.

The CCTV camera grabbed graphics of the gunman walking over the bustling road with his AK-56 rifle in hand and killing the two policemen in cold blood. There was widespread mourning in the residential areas of both the slain constables.

‘Janaza’ (funeral) being taken of Arshid Ahmad Mir for burial.

The second attack was executed on Inspector Parvez Ahmad Dar in his neighborhood of Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on June 22. Dar, who was posted in the CID, was in civvies and heading for a local mosque to perform his evening prayers. The CCTV footage revealed that two pistol-wielding ultras were following him and opened fire from behind. Unarmed Inspector Dar died on the spot.

The third attack also occurred in Srinagar, at Khanyar, on September 12, when a militant fired upon the unarmed Mir from a point blank range.

The CCTV footage of all the three incidents went viral on social media and evoked condemnation from all quarters. People expressed outrage at Pakistan using Kashmiris to kill Kashmiris. Earlier there used to be just murmurs as people were afraid of reprisal but now the time has changed. They are openly opposing the acts of militants and are condemning such senseless killings.

Homage being paid to Sub-Inspector Arshid Ahmad Mir

When the body of slain Sub-Inspector Mir reached his native village Kalmoona, Vilgam in Kupwara district, thousands of people were waiting to participate in his last rites.

Mir, a post graduate in Botany, had been an outstanding student during his studies. He was appointed two years back in the police and was posted in Srinagar.

Mohammad Ashraf Mir, father of the slain, a government teacher, said that he was proud of his son who always “stood for the voice of the voiceless”.

“I want to know the fault of my son. What wrong he could have done in his two years of service. I demand that the killers be brought to justice at the earliest,” a regional daily quoted Mir as having said.

A relative woman mourning over the killing of Arshid Ahmad Mir

The village mosque’s Imam, while addressing the gathering, described the 28-year-old Mir as a “budding flower who had not harmed anyone”. He prayed for peace to the departed soul.

The participation of thousands of people in Mir’ss funeral is a clear indication that denizens of Kashmir are fed up with bloodshed and destruction. Thousands of people attending the funeral of a policeman who was killed by the militants is a warning to Pakistan and the ultras sponsored by it that Kashmiris are in no mood to tolerate such acts.

Common Kashmiris began openly mourning and condemning such killings in 2020. Hundreds of residents gathered at Maloora, on Srinagar outskirts, and mourned the death of Constable Ashfaq of IRP’s 20 Battalion who was among the two policemen shot dead by militants at Nowgam, on August 14, 2020.

Sub Inspector Arshid Ahmad Mir – killed by militant

On August 17, 2020, a large number of people assembled at a village in Pattan to mourn the death of Special Police Officer Muzaffar Ali, the only bread earner of the family and a brother of six sisters, killed in an encounter.

Similar scenes of mass mourning were witnessed over the death of Constable Altaf at Eidgah in Srinagar after he was killed while resisting a militant attack on a BJP leader at Nunnar, Ganderbal, on October 6, 2020. One militant also got killed in retaliation from the BJP leader’s PSO

Shocked over Mir’s cold-blooded murder, Lt Governor’s Advisor and former top cop of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Farooq Ahmad Khan, cautioned militants against targeting policemen saying if they (militants) won’t stop killing innocents, they would soon face the wrath of the people of Kashmir. “Kashmiris are totally against militancy and would throw out these self-styled Mujahids, who actually are coward terrorists. They (militants) at that time would seek protection from the same police whom they target today; so I warn them to refrain from cowardly acts. Had they (militants) been brave, they would not have targeted an unarmed police officer from behind. I am sure that our brave officer would have ripped him (militant) apart, if he had confronted him from the front,” Khan told reporters in Srinagar

In June 2017, a Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Ayub Pandith, was lynched to death by a violent mob, when people were observing Shab-e-Qadr outside the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Srinagar’s old city. The officer in civil clothes was confronted by anti-national elements after his movement in the area led to suspicion. Pandith was captured by the group. He tried to resist the attack but was overpowered and beaten to death.

His lynching had evoked condemnation from the selective people like Omar Abdullah, Junaid Azim Mattu and a few others. The commoners had visited his home to express solidarity with the bereaved family but remained tight lipped.

There was tremendous anger in the J & K Police Security Wing. Officers were asking “Why should Govt give us such deaths where the mourning can be only in whispers.”

But in 2021 the situation has changed. Now, the mourning is no more in whispers, a common man is openly condemning the ultras and their acts. Kashmir has witnessed a change in the past four years after the dismissal of Mehbooba Mufti’s government in June 2018 and abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

Kashmir no longer witnesses protests, stone pelting and clashes with the police and security forces during anti-militancy operations and no one is keen on attending the funerals of the ultras. Kashmiris have begun to muster courage to protest the killings of the J&K policemen, who are a part and parcel of the Kashmiri society. (IANS)