April 17, 2017

Chant Anti-India Slogans Or... Terror Has A New Face In Kashmir

A week after the by-election for Srinagar, which saw a unprecedented violence and a record low turnout, videos have surfaced in which a worker of the ruling PDP and trader from South Kashmir are seen chanting anti-India slogans at gun-point. The party says the videos were recorded a fortnight ago -- ahead of the by-elections for which the separatists had issued a boycott call.

Party sources said a group of gunmen had barged into house of Wali Mohammad Bhat. In the video, which is now doing the rounds on social media, Mr Bhat is seen looking scared. An AK-47 rifle can be seen, held by a person off camera. Mr Bhat can be heard saying he does not associate with pro-India politics and chanting slogans prompted by men off-screen.

A second video has also surfaced in which a trade union leader, Bashir Ahmad Wani, was forced to say he would dissociate from all activities and chant anti-India slogans.

No police case has been filed and Mr Bhat was not available for comment. Senior leaders of the PDP said the worker has been keeping a low profile since the incident.

The election in the Srinagar constituency held last week, had seen a record low turnout and unprecedented violence - forcing the cancellation of the by-polls for Anantnag, which was to be held 3 days later. On April 9, only 7 percent voters had turned up at the booths. In more than 200 incidents of violence recorded through the day, 8 people had died and 100 securitymen were injured. In the repoll at 38 constituencies held later, only 2 per cent polling was recorded.

South Kashmir has become a bastion of the terrorists since the death of Burhan Wani last July. Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen man, was known for uploading photographs on Facebook that showed him posing with guns. Since his death, the protests that started erupted in his hometown Tral spread across Kashmir. While the protests have now ebbed, over the last few months, policemen, village heads and workers of the ruling PDP have been targetted in South Kashmir.


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