On May 6, the security forces notched up a big success in their crusade against terror in Kashmir. They managed to exterminate not one but five terrorists in an encounter in Shopian. No sooner had the news of this highly successful operation started trickling in, the usual spate of ‘sympathy-generating’ articles began to be churned out by ‘journalists’ from the Valley. Besides the usual Op-eds over ‘misguided’, disgruntled youth taking to arms and getting killed, this time there was another angle added to the sob story. Apparently one of the terrorists who had got trapped in the house where the encounter took place, happened to be an Assistant Professor at the University of Kashmir.
And the Kashmir propaganda-mill made full use of this ‘qualified’ terrorist. So while TOI’s Saleem Pandit highlighted the Terror-master’s last call to his father in which he was supposed to have asked for forgiveness, the ‘Indian Express’ Basharat Masood used a picture of grieving women with the headline ‘Professor among five militants killed in the Valley’. What a deceptive heading, doesn’t it seem as if a Professor got killed accidentally, while ‘militants’ were being targeted? Masood goes on to mention that “Till 2 days ago, he taught at Kashmir University.” Was that supposed to be an alibi?
‘The Quint’ lovingly describes Mohammed Rafi Bhat as “a humble, soft-spoken scholar who turned militant after witnessing the unrest in Kashmir.” What The Quint fails to explain is how a ‘soft-spoken scholar’ could have engaged in a prolonged gun-battle with security forces. The ‘scholar’ was obviously well-versed in the art of warfare! The fact that he ignored repeated calls for surrender from the senior police officers at the site speaks for his utter ‘dedication’ to the ‘Cause’. Had he been more Academic than Terrorist, he might have persuaded his militant companions to see reason and surrender but like the trained ‘do or die’ terrorists, he stayed put.
Raghav Bahl of ‘The Quint’ tweeted that “unless we break away from this binary of hate, and begin to understand the desperation that is pushing even PhD scholars to take to arms, Kashmir will continue to bleed.”
Propagandist TV anchors will swoop down on Dr Rafi Bhat’s “anti-nationalism”, but unless we break away from this binary of hate, and begin to understand the desperation that is pushing even PhD scholars to take to arms, Kashmir will continue to bleed. https://t.co/rC4DNRs29e
— Raghav Bahl (@Raghav_Bahl) May 7, 2018
What exactly is this ‘desperation’ that makes ‘scholars’ turn to bloodshed? Had The Quint’s editor bothered to take a good look at the university where Bhat was employed as a teacher, he might have understood what drove this ‘Professor’ and others like him to take to arms. Since the late 1990s, the University of Kashmir has been regarded as the hub of anti-India, pro-Islamic thought and activities. Most Professors here have always been vocal proponents of ‘Azadi’, actively recruiting students for their Cause. Several controversial anti- India seminars/workshops/ conferences have been regularly organised in this Campus with young firebrand students and their mentors frequently spouting pro-Pakistan slogans and brandishing ISIS and Pakistani flags. It is precisely in such an environment that Bhat acquired his degrees and doctorate and went on to ‘teach’ what he had already been ‘taught’.
The Kashmiri journalists referring to his thesis, scholarship and teaching experience, strangely choose to gloss over the fact that this Professor who was radicalised during his years in the university, had classrooms full of young, impressionable minds which he was free to fill with the extremist views he himself apparently subscribed to. It is anybody’s guess how many similar ‘scholar-terrorists’ are being coached in Kashmir’s educational institutions by the likes of Professor Bhat.
As Major Gaurav Arya, a Kashmir Specialist, recently pointed out: “Local terrorists were earlier fighting for ‘azaadi’ & many believed it to be a political struggle, even as they used weapons. ‘Azaadi’ is in the past,. Now you see ISIS flags. The language has changed because of radicalisation. The cause has changed (sic.).” So if ‘educated’ young men are turning to weapons, it’s not a ‘passion for freedom’ that inspires them, but plain and simple Jihad.
Local terrorists were earlier fighting for “azaadi” & many believed it to be a political struggle, even as they used weapons. “Azaadi” is in the past. Now you see ISIS flags. The language has changed because of radicalisation. The cause has changed. https://t.co/9ACd6WnWYy
— Major Gaurav Arya (@majorgauravarya) May 9, 2018
At the grand funeral organised for this Professor of Terror, we are told ”a dozen students sat in a line waiting for the dead body”, whether these were devoted students or brainwashed followers, is open to conjecture. Britain’s MI5 revealed that “two-thirds of the British suspects have a middle class profile and those who want to become suicide bombers are often the most educated.” In an article titled The Madrassa Myth (The New York Times June 14, 2005) Peter Bergen and Swati Pandey wrote that on examining the educational backgrounds of 75 terrorists involved in major global attacks, it was found that most of them were college-educated. The possession of degrees does not ensure a liberal or secular outlook.
The deliberate highlighting of the educational qualifications of Mohammed Rafi Bhat, is part of a bigger plan in the quest for total Islamisation of Jammu and Kashmir. The driving force being religion, there is little effect that education can have on these zealots. So while an Academic effortlessly dons the role of a gun-toting Terrorist, his counterparts in the field of ‘journalism’ get ready to derive maximum mileage from the ‘story’ generated. Had the Prof survived, he would have been cleverly turned into a kind of role-model to ‘inspire’ others, a Terror-commander outwitting the security forces in a ‘heroic chase’. Once killed, he was quickly ‘humanised’ to derive maximum sympathy from the gullible public, both in India and abroad.
We haven’t forgotten how Barkha Dutt transformed the Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani into the ‘poor, misunderstood Headmaster’s son’. Several local Kashmiri journalists tried to reprise that story by referring to a slain terrorist as a ‘brilliant Professor’ and a “soft-spoken scholar”. We were even treated to his ‘last words’. In the last call to his father from the house where he was trapped, Bhat is supposed to have said: “I am sorry if I have hurt you and this is my last call as I am going to meet Allah.” Saleem Pandit of ‘The Times of India’ quoted this line almost as if he had personally listened in to the call. Terrorists are known to be cold-blooded, brutal men, they have no relationships or ties with the normal world but, in Kashmir a slain terrorist instantly becomes a ‘son and a brother’ unlike his unsung victims.
There is nothing unusual about educated people turning to terrorism, Mohamed Ata, Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Wadi Haddad were all educated men. Unfortunately, their ‘education’, gainful employment did not stop them from perpetrating the world’s most mindless and heinous attacks on innocent people. In several global studies it has been noticed that in most terrorist movements the top leadership and mid-level command strata are populated by the educated and financially well-off, while the majority of foot soldiers are generally less-educated and from modest backgrounds. Therefore, when our Valley journalists pen dire warnings about the ‘increasing number of educated Kashmiri youths picking up the gun’ they need to be reminded that there is nothing unique about this phenomenon. It is a globally established trend. The security of a government salary makes it easy for Kashmir’s educated young men to dream of ‘revolution’ and Jihad, be it a Professor/Engineer or Doctor!