Blood Soaked Pilgrimage
Attack on Amarnath pilgrims would deepen Hindu-Muslim divide, fuel Kashmir unrest
The brutal attack carried out by suspected militants on Amarnath yatris last fortnight in Kashmir’s Anantnag district is going to change the rules of engagement between the security forces, the militants and sympathizers of new age militancy in the Valley.
The dastardly attack, which left seven people dead — six of them women — and more than dozen injured, was carried out by militants in pitch dark at 8.25 pm. The pilgrims were sleeping inside a vehicle parked on the national highway in the Botengoo area of Anantnag after their car was punctured.
The attack seems to be a reaction to a sustained counterinsurgency campaign launched by security forces against militants in recent weeks during which more than two dozen militants have been killed.
A massive crackdown against militants and militancy sympathizers in the coming days is likely to follow after the attack as pressure builds on the security apparatus to deliver justice to the perpetrators of the act.
There is no denying in the fact that militants have crossed a redline in the Valley. In August 2000 30 pilgrims were killed when militants attacked a base camp in Pahalgam area of south Kashmir. Similar attacks were carried out in 2001, 2002 and 2006.
“In coming days we will go after them and get them even if they are hiding in pigeon holes,” a senior army officer based in Anantnag told Firstpost on Tuesday morning.
“This also applies for the people who have been sheltering and sympathising with their cause,” he added.
The attack is going to have far reaching implications not just on Kashmiris living in the Valley, but outside too. For more than two decades, the culture ethos of Kashmiris was already stained with the forced migration of Kashmiri pandits in early 1990s. This attack is likely to further deepen the already widening divide between Kashmir and Jammu as it will pit a Hindu majority Jammu against the Muslim majority Kashmir. Traders in Jammu have already called for a strike on