Srinagar: Militants making attempts to recreate a 1990 like situation in Kashmir by killing eleven civilians, including five non-locals, has been thwarted by the security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Government.

In the first fortnight of October the ultras went on a killing spree across the Valley targeting members of the minority communities and poor labourers from outside Kashmir. Design was clear that they wanted to create fear in the minds of minorities so that they would leave Kashmir. The ploy did work up to some extent as many poor labourers left the Valley to save their lives. But the counter offensive launched by security forces against the militants led to fifteen ultras getting killed in different encounters just within a span of a few days. On the other hand, the Jammu and Kashmir administration also sent a strong message by revisiting history. It also organized various programmes to drive home that terror cannot haunt Jammu and Kashmir again.

Revisiting History

On October 22, a seminar titled "Memories of 22 October, 1947" was organized at SKICC in Srinagar, to pay homage to all the soldiers and civilians who were killed on this day in 1947 by raiders backed by the Pakistan army. The aim of the seminar was to remind the people of Jammu and Kashmir about the atrocities that were committed by Kabali raiders.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha while inaugurating the seminar stated that the wound of Pakistani terror attack was still fresh and October 22 was not a black day only for the people of J&K but for the entire humanity.

He stressed on the need to reach out to the young generation with the stories of valour and sacrifices of brave-hearts like Brigadier Rajinder Singh, Maqbool Sherwani, Chief of Women's Self Defence Corps Kanta Wazir, and other unsung heroes.

Brigadier Singh with a handful of soldiers fought the Pakistani tribesmen sacrificing his life to save Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. Young man from North Kashmir's Baramulla district Maqbool Sherwani resisted the Pakistani tribes and sacrificed his life to push back Pakistani militia.

Since the day India has attained independence, it has been striving to save Kashmir and people of this land from the rogue neighbour, who has been eyeing this abode of Sufis and Saints for the past more than seven decades. Elderly and younger generations of Kashmiris were reminded about the history and what all India has done for them.

Another martyr Param Vir Chakra awardee Major Somnath Sharma, who sacrificed his life to save innocent lives in Srinagar and Budgam on October 22, 1947 in his last message had said, "I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to the last man and the last round."

Sacrifices rendered by Brigadier Rajinder Singh, Maqbool Sherwani, Major Somnath and others proved to be turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, but the Valley based politicians, who ruled Kashmir for nearly seventy years, hardly made any attempt to remind the people about the contributions of the valiant people, who laid down their lives to protect the Valley.

Kashmir based politicians just kept on harping about J&K being an unsettled issue. Had they exposed the real face of the adversaries, J&K would have been altogether a different place. They remaining quiet and providing separatists with a space to preach sedition pushed J&K to the brink.

The entire world is aware of the fact that since 1990, Pakistan has been sponsoring insurgency in J&K and has turned the Union Territory into a battlefield. People of Kashmir after August 5, 2019—when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K's special status and bifurcated it into two union territories—have dumped Pakistan and its stooges. But this has not gone well with the people sitting across the Line of Control who are desperate to burn J&K again. Last month the ultras sponsored by the neighbouring country tried to repeat what their predecessors had done in 1990 i.e. they targeted minorities to trigger yet another exodus.

Despite target killings, many Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and non-locals stayed back thus reposing faith in the people of Kashmir and the government of the day. They made it clear that 1990 won't return.

October 27 Re-Enacted

On October 27, the Indian Army re-enacted an air induction exercise at Srinagar's technical airport to commemorate the 75th year of its arrival in Jammu & Kashmir in 1947.

The Army's daredevil paratroopers demonstrated skydiving to mark the occasion. A video clip and a drama performance depicting the events of the invasion by Pakistan in 1947, and the role of local Maqbool Sherwani and Kashmiri women militia in defence of Kashmir, was also showcased.

LG Sinha reminded the audience that it was the Pakistan Army disguised as Pashtun tribals that, on reaching Baramulla, created havoc and rampaged the entire town; killed, raped and looted the innocents; burnt houses, hospitals and churches.

It was only after the historic air landing operation conducted by the Indian Army and Air Force in Kashmir that Pakistani raiders were evicted from the Valley. Seventy five years ago Indian Army's first Dakota aircraft, with Lieutenant Colonel DR Raiand Army personnel on board, had reached the Srinagar airport to fight the enemy, who was on a looting and killing spree in the Valley.

Iconic Week Celebrations

To send a clear message to adversaries that their nefarious designs to push J&K back into the oblivion have been scuttled, the government celebrated 'Week of Iconic festivals' from October 23-29. Various events were organized in connection with the celebrations of 'Azadi-ka-Amrit-Mahotsav (India @75).'

The programs included organizing different festivals to send a message that J&K won't succumb to terror again. The administration organised Sufi festivals, workshops on Sufi Saints like Alamdar-i-Kashmir and Lal Ded. Sufi Mushairaswere also held at various universities and colleges. There was also a display of handicrafts, calligraphy and painting exhibition. Houseboats and shikaras in Dal, Nigeen and Jehlumwere also illuminated. An open air laser show was also held at Dal Lake and hundreds of people watched it.

Festivals that were held at Chesmashahi, Botanical garden and other places included performances on Hafiz Nagma, Kalam-e-Khusroo, Kalam-e-Baba Fareed, Qawwali, Baul Sufi folk, Darrvish Sufi dance, and Haziri Kathak.

The first-ever literary festival in J&K was inaugurated by Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi at the famous ski resort Gulmarg. The literary festival brought many literary personalities from across the country on one stage to mark the 75 years of independence.

LG Sinha, while commenting on the festivals that were held across the Union Territory, said, "J&K has always been a prominent seat and a beacon of art and culture. It has shown the way through its age-old traditions and it will keep on showing the way."

Several Bollywood celebrities also visited Kashmir during the "Iconic Week Celebrations" and enthralled the audience. Many youth who showcased their talent were encouraged by the celebrities to aim for a bigger stage.

Militants, who were on a mission to create uncertainty and chaos, seem to have forgotten that time has changed. J&K is not the same as it was in 1990. People have become aware and can easily differentiate between friends and foes. A common man in J&K wants his troubles to end. He is no more interested in illusions and false narratives. Jammu and Kashmir has risen and will continue to rise as the country's political leadership and armed forces are on the same page.