Indian authorities alarmed over signs of increasing militancy in Kashmir

Kashmiri relatives and friends of slain Indian paramilitary soldier Sharief-Ud-Din-Ganaie mourn during his funeral at Nagam Chadoora village of central Budgam district on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 03 January 2018
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Indian authorities alarmed over signs of increasing militancy in Kashmir

NEW DELHI: The involvement of two local Kashmiri boys in a suicide attack on a paramilitary camp in Indian-administered Kashmir on Sunday has rung alarm bells among security personnel and political experts who have rarely witnessed homegrown suicide bombers.
Fardeen Mohiuddin Khanday and Manzoor Ahmad Baba, age 16 and 21 respectively, were among the three suicide bombers who targeted the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp at Lethpora in Pulwama in Kashmir on Dec. 31 in which five security personnel were killed.
Khanday was from Hiana in Tral area of Kashmir and Baba from Drubgam in Pulwama district of the valley.
“It is a serious and worrisome sign,” said Suresh Paul Vaid, director general of police of Jammu and Kashmir.
Talking to Arab News, he said: “We are taking this matter seriously and are having high-level discussions.”
Masood Hussain, the editor of Kashmir Life, a weekly magazine from Srinagar, also expressed alarm at this development.
“This is the first time we have local boys going inside a military establishment and blowing themselves up. It is a new aspect of militancy that we have not witnessed before,” said Hussain to Arab News.
“This is the first time that the entire operation has been carried out by local boys. Security personnel here admit that this is a very disturbing trend in militancy in Kashmir,” he added.
However, Srinagar-based senior journalist, Yusuf Jameel, said: “It is not a good sign for Kashmir that young educated boys are joining the militants.
“This new trend of youngsters joining militants began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani, in July 2016 who was an icon for the new generation.”
Immediately after the attack on the CRPF camp, the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed released a video message by Fardeen who blamed what is described as “Kashmir’s occupation by India” and ravaging “the modesty of our women” as the reason for “the rise in militancy in the valley.”
Well-known Kashmiri academic, Professor Siddiq Wahid, called it “a response to force with force.”
“It proves once again that India’s use of state force against both civilians and militants is not the answer to the Kashmir conundrum.”
Wahid stresses that youth are being driven to this kind of extreme violence due to “the lack of dialogue, the Indian government’s taking the Kashmiris for granted, and the lack of international attention to a dispute that is among the most complicated in the world today and is at the center of three nuclear states.
“Prime Minister Modi’s insistence on the insignificance of dialogue, its denial of Pakistan’s role in the dispute, and its insistence on nothing short of total surrender by Kashmiris has added new dimensions and accelerated the critical aspects of the problem.”
Jameel said that the “desperation” among the youth is due to “the sense of injustice and the government is not willing to address that injustice.”


Malaysia opposition leader arrested for corruption

Updated 13 min 42 sec ago
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Malaysia opposition leader arrested for corruption

  • Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was detained after being questioned by anti-corruption authorities
  • He was arrested in “relation to an investigation into abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering,” the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition leader was arrested Thursday on suspicion of corruption, a fresh blow to his party which was ousted at elections this year after six decades in power.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a former deputy premier and ally of scandal-mired ex-leader Najib Razak, was detained after being questioned by anti-corruption authorities. He will be charged Friday.
He is head of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the lynchpin in a coalition of parties that ruled Malaysia from independence in 1957 until their shock defeat in May polls.
The UMNO has been on the ropes since, with many coalition partners abandoning a party that had become synonymous with widespread graft, divisive racial politics and a rotten ruling elite.
Najib has also been arrested and charged over allegations he oversaw the plundering of state fund 1MDB, a scandal that played a major part in the election defeat.
Ahmad Zahid was arrested in “relation to an investigation into abuse of power, criminal breach of trust and money laundering,” the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said.
It gave no further details but local media reported that he was accused of misappropriating 800,000 ringgit ($190,000) from a foundation he chairs to settle credit card payments in 2014 and 2015.
“I urge UMNO members to remain calm and follow the rule of law,” Ahmad Zahid told AFP before his arrest.
The UMNO quickly came to the defense of Ahmad Zahid, who was elected as party chief after May’s polls, and said the arrest was politically motived.
“This action is a strategy to portray Zahid as an untrustworthy and unqualified leader,” said Jalaluddin Alias, a member of the party’s supreme council.
Ahmad Zahid, who also served as interior minister in the last government, stuck by Najib even as other senior figures abandoned him over the 1MDB graft scandal.
US authorities say more than $4.5 billion was misappropriated from the fund, with nearly $700 million diverted into Najib’s personal bank accounts. The ex-leader has denied any wrongdoing.