He called for ‘unrelenting blows’ on Indian Army and the government

New Delhi: The latest video message on Kashmir by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, calling upon the Mujaheddin to inflict “unrelenting blows” on Indian Army and the government so as to bleed India and make it suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment, has increased manifold the threat to Amarnath Yatris as it is “Sabaab” for jihadists to kill pilgrims from other faiths.

The statement also nullifies the UN narrative on Kashmir. The valley has become the storm centre of terrorist activities perpetrated by the ISIS and its cohorts. Clearly, the UN cannot be talking against Islamic terrorism and express its concerns about the growing influence of terror outfits like Al Qaeda and, yet describe the religious frenzy and the resultant unrest in Kashmir valley as “an indigenous struggle for freedom” and blame India for it.

The video titled “Don’t Forget Kashmir” shows Zawahiri, while holding an assault rifle in his right hand and a Quran in his left, saying, “Fight in Kashmir is not a separate conflict but part of a worldwide Muslim community’s jihad against a vast array of forces.”

He reminded “unnamed scholars of Islam” to propagate this point: “You (the scholars) must clearly state that supporting the jihad in Kashmir, the Philippines, Chechnya, Central Asia, Iraq, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, the Islamic Maghreb and Turkistan is an individual obligation on all Muslims until sufficient strength is achieved to expel the disbelieving occupiers of Muslim lands.”

Zawahiri’s statement has proved Prof Bal Raj Madhok’s words prophetic. He had been persistently speaking and writing about the growing threat that Islamism posed to India. He said: “The Kashmir problem is an off-shoot of the problem of Pakistan, which is a by-product of the Muslim problem, to solve which united India was partitioned in 1947. Pakistan’s confrontationist policy towards India is inherent in its genesis and the ideology of Islamism that has been sustaining it.”

Prof Madhok said that Kashmir was going to be a part of an Islamic movement that may start from any part of the world. He was of the view that even Partition was a part of a wider Islamic conspiracy within India and beyond its geographical boundaries. The role of the Khilafat Movement with Congress helping it out in awakening distinct Islamic consciousness and fundamentalism among Indian Muslims leading up to the creation of Pakistan should be seen as part of an Islamic political design. This design, also called “Ghazwat-ul-Hind”, is the leitmotif of jihadist forces working against India.

In fact, the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from their native land and steady Islamisation of Kashmiri culture and language are part of this nefarious design meticulously planned and executed by Sheikh Abdullah and his kin.

According to Prof Madhok, after Sardar Patel’s demise in 1950, Abdullah saw to it that no Hindu-Sikh refugee from Pakistan and even Pakistani occupied areas of the state settled in the valley. He pushed them all towards East Punjab or Jammu and persistently refused to give citizenship rights to over 50,000 Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan who have settled in Jammu since 1947.

He also sidelined Kashmiri language, which has been recognised as one of the national languages of India in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Derived from Sanskrit, Kashmiri language has a rich literature. It links Kashmiris and their culture, customs, traditions and saints like Lalleshwari and Nand Rishi with their Vedic Hindu heritage.

“Sheikh Abdullah wanted to cut this link by imposing Arabized Urdu as the state language to the exclusion of Kashmiri. With its Persian script and vocabulary drawn from Turkish, Arabic and Persian, Urdu which itself is a Turkish word, meaning ‘Lashkar’ or army, has been one of the most important media of Muslim separatism. Muslim League made full use of it for partitioning India and rulers of Pakistan have been using it to establish a distinct Islamic identity of Pakistan.

“He wanted Kashmir to be an Islamic Sheikhdom and took planned steps to Islamise it. He wanted to change the demographic complexion of Jammu and Ladakh as well to Islamise them. That was the real reason for his insistence on Article 370 and separate law of citizenship for the state. He used Muslim majority of Kashmir as an effective lever to influence the policies of the government of India in favour of Muslims in the name of secularism”, wrote Prof Madhok in Kashmir: The Storm Centre of the World.

Today the demographic complexion of Ladakh has almost changed, while that of Jammu is fast changing, with Rohingyas and Muslims from the valley settling there in increasing numbers. In Kashmir valley, one finds ISIS flags fluttering more often than before. Therefore, it is quite possible that with this call by Zawahiri if all the terrorists and separatists including those of Al Qaeda come under the umbrella of ISIS then one day, sooner than anticipated, ISIS may declare the valley as its territory. This is not something to be laughed at as far-fetched imagination. The actual administrators in Kashmir may deny this possibility but those who are familiar with the hard reality on the ground and understand the Islamic jihadist mindset know that the possibility has increased manifold.