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Designating Mushtaq Zargar as “ terrorist” under UAPA is critical  to India’s  fight against terrorism

15/04/2022 at 5:10 PM

Arun Joshi

The designation of Mushtaq Zargar a terrorist under the Unlawful  Activities Prevention Act or UAPA  underscores a basic fact that there is going to be an all-out assault on terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, the place that has been battling terrorism and its brutal consequences for the past over 32 years with all the disruptions and unpredictability in lives of the people.

Modi Government has spared no efforts to bring peace to the people of Kashmir, therefore all those who thrive on terrorism deserved to be neutralized in all forms and manifestations, without caring about their current location. The ministry of home affairs under the leadership of Amit Shah has made it clear that they have zero tolerance toward terrorism and therefore needed steps were to put terrorists and their supporters on mat. This all-out assault on terrorism has its own narrative because the peace cannot be obtained unless terrorism is decisively tamed.

It is important to know why Mushtaq Zargar, better known as Mushtaq Latram for he belongs to a clan of coppersmiths, , is linked to terrorism, though he gained more than a life-size profile after he was set free in Kandahar, Afghanistan, during the Taliban rule in  December 1999, in exchange of 165  passengers and crew of a hijacked Indian airliner IC 814. He was among the three of the terrorists , Masood Azhar , now the chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad, the terror group with its close links with Al-Qaeda, and Omar Sheikh , the terrorist arrested in India for the abduction of Britishers, and later accused in beheading of  Daniel Pearl, Then south Asia bureau chief of  Wall Street Journal.

Mushtaq Zargar was face of the urban terrorism in Srinagar; he founded Al-Umar Mujahadeen, having control over downtown of the city of more than one and half million. His acts were brutal even by the standards of killings by guns and bombs, for he represented beastly culture of terrorism, blasting those whom he suspected of being informers or who fell out of his group. . He operated with brutality and his name was a terror in all its forms and manifestations.

In actual terms, it means that Pakistan would be under pressure to act against him, for the simple reason the country that claims to have made “sacrifices in the fight against terrorism”, would be put to test as to how it acts against the Kashmiri terrorists living on its soil, from where they are guiding terror operations against India, particularly Kashmir Valley. If Pakistan doesn’t act, it would be seen, which of course the case is, as a patron of the terrorists. There can be no excuse of having these kind of terrorists in its boundaries.

This  is one of the objectives, but seen against the larger backdrop of the anti-terrorism  drive undertaken by the government  against the terrorists , their harbourers and supporters ,  this is rife with a message that terrorism will not be tolerated in any sense of the word . The legal means would be used as much as others to eliminate terrorism. Simultaneously, it is being made to clear to the political leadership of the Valley, some of which was inclined to support the secessionism and separatism by way of their words, in a bid to legitimize the gun culture and the local recruitment into the ranks of militant outfits. The narrative about secessionism and justification of the acts of terrorism, inventing reasons for the local recruitment cast its own shadow and cloud the thinking of the people. This is a big weapon that the terrorists and their supporters have deployed against the system and the security forces; it is as dangerous as the cyber campaign to indoctrinate the young minds, vulnerable to propaganda and mischiefs from across the border and within. The young minds get impressed by the propaganda that their religion is in danger, and they need to fight against it. But the designation of likes of Mushtaq Zargar tells them that there are consequences for their acts, not just within the space where they operate, also where they think they can refuge. The across the border concept is not an escape from the punishment awaiting them.

This has been possible because there is an atmosphere in which the security forces can operate without any political interference and the hurdles that were created in their operations prior to the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019. Now the forces know that what they have to do and there would be no hurdles in mounting the operations.

A point often stated in some circles that the newly recruited militants are young and without any training, and they get killed in encounters as “sitting ducks”. It is true, but what is being ignored is that these young  minds fall prey to propaganda and nurture within them an ideology of secessionism, death and destruction ,unless they surrender to the appeals of the security forces, they are as hardcore militants as those who received arms training across the border. The idea is being fought with idea too, when it comes to guns these can be neutralized by guns only.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.

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