Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the Uri attack as another attempt to destabilise the Valley, adding that it’s always the people of the Valley who lose in the hostility between the two nations. She said that the attack was aimed at creating a war-like situation between India and Pakistan.
The fidayeen attack on an army camp in Uri , at a time when 86 people have been killed in clashes, might affect the ongoing unrest in Kashmir in multiple ways, say observers. Security forces might start “crushing civilian protests” in the ongoing unrest in a more aggressive way. There are already reports of militants leading protests and saluting the Pakistani flag.
Counter-insurgency operations in the Valley were suspended after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8 and the army and paramilitary forces have been working overtime to contain the unrest since then. The Uri attack might serve as a handle to crack down on protesters amid reports that the region has seen a spurt in infiltration bids across the Line of Control in the last few months.
In the unrest that unfolded after Wani’s death, police have claimed that there were multiple instances of weapons being snatched from them, grenades lobbed and police stations set on fire.
But many fear that if security forces respond with an iron-fist approach in tackling the unrest, Kashmiri civilians might bear the brunt of the same.
Well-known Srinagar-based political scientist, Professor Noor Ahmad Baba, told HT, “How the attack will impact the ongoing situation is all speculation at this point. But yes, it might considerably affect the psyche of the security personnel.”
Mufti, in a press statement issued on Sunday, also said, “Unfortunately, people in Jammu and Kashmir, who are already mired in an agonising situation, shall have to bear the maximum brunt of the fresh attempts being made to step up violence and trigger fresh bloodshed in the state.”
Officials in the state’s security establishment feel that an Uri like attack boosts the anti-India sentiment, which is ripe in a large section of Kashmiri society.
A police officer posted in south Kashmir, the epicentre of the ongoing unrest, said on the condition of anonymity, “Of course, the anti-India protesters, the stone pelters will be happy today. The attack may act as an inspiration, an encouragement for their activities.”
But a senior journalist, who did not wish to be named, said that the effect on anti-India protesters would have been greater had the location of the attack been in the Valley’s heartland instead of a border area like Uri. He also pointed out that the militants killed were not local Kashmiri men and hence would not receive public sympathy like Wani or his associates.