As India’s Independence Day nears, jihad terrorist attacks have started to shake India’s union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, which shares a border with Pakistan. The former Indian state has suffered decades of insurgency and terrorism owing to India’s Western neighbor, and this attack was nothing new or surprising.
On Thursday, August 12, a powerful bomb was hurled at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jasbir Singh’s residence in the Rajouri district of Jammu & Kashmir by jihad terrorists from a newly formed local jihadist outfit. Images from the scene show extensive damage caused to the building due to the explosion. Security personnel are still probing the attack, and investigations are underway.
Veer, the four-year-old nephew of the BJP leader, was killed as the strong explosion ripped through the house; seven other family members, including another minor who is seven years old, have sustained severe injuries in the attack. Though the little one was rushed to the government medical college and hospital in Rajouri almost immediately, he succumbed to his injuries at midnight. His body was handed over to his family for the last rituals.
A massive contingent of security forces has been deployed in the district following the attack at the politician’s residence. While other politicians have strongly condemned the terror attack, we must highlight that this was the third one in the series of jihad attacks right before the Independence Day celebrations.
On August 9, BJP leader Sarpanch Ghulam Rasool and his wife, who was also a Panchayat member, were shot dead by jihad terrorists in the Anantnag district. This attack was followed by a grenade attack at the Hari Singh High Street, Srinagar on August 10 that left three civilians gravely injured.
Though security officials initially failed to identify the entities that executed the grenade attack at Jasbir Singh’s house, and reported the incident as an attack by unknown assailants, the People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) soon claimed responsibility for the attack.
This is not the first time the newly-formed jihadist outfit has carried out an act of terror in Jammu & Kashmir. Back in June of this year, a BJP leader who was serving as the Municipal Councillor of Pulwama’s Tral, Rakesh Pandita, was gunned down by three unidentified terrorists. The sole breadwinner of his family, Pandita was visiting his friend at Tral Payeen and was unarmed at the time of the slaughter. Eventually the People’s Anti-Fascist Front (PAFF) claimed responsibility for the assassination.
In December 2020, PAFF declared that they “won’t allow Israeli-type settler colonies in Kashmir.” They had also released videos threatening to kill agents of the RSS (a Hindu welfare and nationalist organization) if they were “planning to settle down in Jammu and Kashmir” in the guise of non-political citizens. This came as a response to people from other parts of the country showing interest in settling in Kashmir, and Kashmiri Pandits who were chased away from the valley during the 1990’s exodus considering a return to their homeland with government support after the abrogation of article 370 and 35A in August 2019.
PAFF, through its various public statements, has repeatedly revealed its intense hatred for Hindus by slandering Hindutva. It had also claimed responsibility for a jihad attack on officials of the Sashastra Seema Bal (border guard force ) and the police at Nowgam, Jammu & Kashmir, ahead of Independence Day last year. Two policemen were martyred in the said attack. Inspector-General of Police Vijay Kumar revealed to the media that, “PAFF is an offshoot of the Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM).”
While the Indian security establishment alleges that PAFF is a shadow of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), the motive behind forming this new group of jihad terrorists is not limited to creating chaos in the Jammu & Kashmir valley. The jihadist outfit has been assigned to carry out jihad terror activities across Jammu & Kashmir under the pretense of being a band of liberal, indigenous and, most significantly, non-Islamic rebels. The world has learnt how Islamic jihadis or pro-Pakistan Muslim secessionists were behind all the destabilization the state-turned-union territory endured in the past few decades.
To increase their support from various international Leftist entities, the jihadis are now projecting themselves as a non-Islamic “liberal” undertaking, and trying to sell the insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir as an indigenous effort. This would also help whitewash the tarnished reputation of Islam, given that it has gained a tarnished reputation due to Islamic jihad activity in the region since the mid-1980s.