Kashmir Rights Forum

Month: April 2022

Over the last few years, some international media organizations wittingly or unwittingly have launched a misinformation campaign regarding limiting free speech and ‘harassing’ journalists in India, and especially in Kashmir in a way to position their sympathy with the media in valley. The latest in the list is a story carried by New York Times in its April 16 edition titled: “Kashmir Journalists Face Forbidding Pattern: Arrest, Bail, Re-arrest.” The story is based on mere imagination and fake perception as the ‘journalists’ whose names have been mentioned in the story are all facing multiple cases for their involvement in unlawful and terrorism related activities.

Asif Sultan, whose case the NYT story has mentioned, is facing serious charges of abetting terrorists and has been jailed for the crime since August 2018. Sultan, who was granted a bail by a local court in one case last week, was re-arrested by the police in another terror case. But the bail order of the Sultan clearly mentions that he can be released in case he is not wanted in any other cases.

What are the charges Sultan is facing?

According to J&K police investigations, he was in constant contact with Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, and used to glorify terrorism in his news reports prior to his arrest in 2018. The investigations reveal that he was in contact with Abass Sheikh, the self-styled chief of The Resistance Front (TRF) terror outfit, who was killed by police last November. TRF is believed to be Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in disguise. Before becoming the chief of TRF, Sheikh was a senior commander of Hizbul till 2019. According to independent sources sheikh was instrumental in reviving terrorism in capital city Srinagar due to his motivational skills. After the killing of terrorist commander Burhan Wani in July 2016, Sheikh had shifted his base from south Kashmir to Srinagar.

According to police, it was Sultan, who harbored Sheikh and few other terrorists at his residence in congested Batamaloo area in Srinagar several times from 2016 to 2018. “Even the terrorists, who killed veteran journalist Shujat Bukhari on 14 June 2018 outside Srinagar’s press enclave had been provided logistic support by Sultan,” a senior police officer revealed. According to the police charge-sheet filed in a local court not only Sultan, who worked with now defunct and little known local news magazine ‘Kashmir Narrator’, would harbor militants, but in his stories would often give coverage to Hizbul terrorists, especially Burhan Wani, to attract youth towards terrorist organisations.

“He had taken shield of journalism to promote terror activities. During its three-year publication, the magazine had negligible advertisement and it was only through money being pumped in by terror outfits that the magazine was sustaining. After the crackdown on hawala money channels in Kashmir, the magazine wound up,” the officer added.

Charges against Fahad Shah

Another case which the NYT story has highlighted is that of Fahad Shah, the editor of a news portal called “The Kashmir Walla.” He is wanted in three separate cases for glorifying terrorism, spreading fake news and inciting general public for creating law and order problems. No law in the world states that if a person is granted a bail in one case, can’t be re-arrested, if he has committed another crime.

Shah, who hails from a lower-middle class family and whose father worked in J&K police, would always upload anti-national content including photographs, videos and posts with criminal intention to create fear among the public. The same can be verified from his social media accounts and the website of “The Kashmir Walla.” Shah’s story too is murky which the NYT reporter never tried to highlight and instead in a biased manner highlighted only those portions which suited it. The NYT reporter never mentioned the anti-national activities Shah, Sultan and others have taken under the cover of journalism.

Who is Sajjad Gul?

The third ‘victim journalist’ in the NYT story is Sajjad Gul, who worked as a ‘reporter’ with Shah’s news portal. Gul, who hails from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, came into limelight after tehsildar of the area filed a complaint against him for interfering in his work. In the name of journalism Gul was trying to pressurize the Tehsildar to side with a particular party in a land dispute in the area in 2020. As Gul felt the heat, he played the victim card on social media by stating that he was being victimised for doing journalism which is far from the reality and can be checked from the police records. Before his arrest, he uploaded videos on social media highlighting anti-national slogans raised by a few people in a house of killed Lashker terrorist Saleem Parray on January 3, 2022. Parray, a dreaded terrorist, was involved in silting throats of several civilians in Hajin before he was killed by security forces.

Recent incidents where terrorists used press as shield

On March 30 security forces killed two Lashker-e-Toiba terrorists in congested Rainawari area of old city Srinagar. One of them, Rayees Bhat was masquerading as a journalist before his luck ran out. Similarly, Aadil Farooq Bhat, who worked with a local news gathering agency CNS, was arrested with two hand grenades in city center Lal Chowk in Srinagar on August 10, 2021. Aadil was arrested soon after a grenade attack in the vicinity that left 10 civilians injured. Prior to that in 2019, he was arrested for terror links and Public Safety Act (PSA) was slapped against him by the J&K Police. However, he managed to get a bail.

Unfortunately, publications like NYT never quote such cases when they write stories about press freedom in conflict hit Kashmir. Any state in the world takes action against anyone, regardless of his profession, who is involved in any activity that poses a threat to the country’s security and sovereignty. Moreover motivating the youth into anti-national activities by spilling in them the hatred and radicalization. People like Sultan, Shah and Gul are being projected by some media organizations as “champions of press freedom” while reality is that they masquerade as journalists. If the NYT and others will dig deeper and write without any bias, the reality of such ‘journalists’ will be exposed.

The freedom of expression is never absolute as it carries with it special responsibilities, and may be restricted on several grounds. Those who write on Kashmir and freedom of press must write about the killing of a dozen journalists, including Shujat Bukhari, by the terrorists in Kashmir since 1990. Dozens of journalists are being threatened from across the border day-in and day-out for reporting factual and ground situations. But alas it has no takers as truth is bitter!

Srinagar, Apr 26: A grenade was hurled at a CRPF vehicle on Tuesday afternoon by terrorists in the Brazloo area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. Terrorists lobbed grenades on 18 Batallion a CRPF vehicle which missed the intended target and exploded on the roadside. While no loss of life or injury was reported in the incident, however, the tyres of the vehicle were damaged by the explosion. KRF denounces the attack, such attacks shall never down the high spirits of the security forces to eliminate them.

Together Against Terror

Together In Sunshine And Rain

Amid targeted killing of members of the minority community by the militants, the two communities in Kashmir continue to be tied by a deep bond which cannot be destroyed by these dastardly acts of terrorism. The most significant takeaway from the recent terror attacks on Kashmiri Pandits and the pain felt by their neighbors from the majority Muslim community over such cowardly terror attacks is that the trust and faith both communities have in each other continues to shine bright.

Some Kashmiri Pandits stayed on in 1990, deciding not to leave their home and hearth when terrorists forced the entire community to leave. In interactions with KASHMIR CENTRAL over the last few days, many Pandits said they believe that the majority community in no way accords approval to the terror attacks against them. They feel that unarmed civilians are helpless, regardless of their religion or community since terrorists don’t seek approval. They only kill.

The Pandits attribute the increasing attacks on their community to many factors. Some very vocally suggest that the narrative of “demographic change” pushed by terror apologists post the abrogation of Article 370 is the reason behind such attacks.

According to this section, there are concerted efforts by those who drive the anti-India narrative in Kashmir to create fears in the minds of people against New Delhi. Terrorists draw strength from such discourse to kill the members of the minority community. There is also anger against those among the exiled Kashmir Pandits who preach and propagate hatred against the Kashmiri Muslims and hold them responsible for the exodus in 1990.

Unfortunately, growing animosity among some sections of Kashmiri Muslims and also Kashmiri Pandits is being vented out on social media. This is taking a heavy toll on the Pandits who didn’t migrate despite all odds.


Kashmir Central interviewed scores of people belonging to the minority Kashmiri Pandit community in the immediate neighborhood of those who fell to the bullets of terrorists in the recent past.

The KASHMIR CENTRAL team visited hamlets in Pulwama, Srinagar and Budgam districts where people from both communities live together. The team also visited some villages in the terrorist- infested area of Tral in Pulwama district and interviewed scores of people from the Sikh Community.

It merits mention here that at least three people from the Sikh Community fell to the bullets of terrorists in the recent past. KASHMIR CENTRAL also interviewed Kashmiri Muslims who live in the immediate neighborhood of the members of Kashmiri Pandit and Kashmiri Sikh communities.

Those who agreed to speak expressed their anguish and pain over the killings by the terrorists in Kashmir. They said that there are attempts to create hatred between the communities. They were steadfast in stating that there is a strong bonding of mutual brotherhood and harmony among all Kashmiris, which cannot be shaken by such incidents.

KASHMIR CENTRAL interviewed many people belonging to the Pandit community in Trisal, Monghama, Tahab, Vahibugh, Rohama, Chakoora and Tomlehal villages in Pulwama district. There are deserted houses and ruined structures, which give a ghostly look. They remind us of the terrible events of the exodus when the Kashmiri pandits were forced to flee from their home and hearth. Right in the middle of these deserted houses are some renovated and maintained structures. These are the houses owned by those Kashmiri Pandits who chose to stay back against all odds.

In the aftermath of the recent killings, Pulwama Police deployed a heavy contingent of cops to guard the villages where there is Pandit population. The cops keep a close vigil on those passing through these places. The Kashmir Central team was allowed to go into these villages only after proper frisking and checking of identity cards.


At Tomlehal village, some Kashmiri Pandits said that they are not happy with the deployment of police guards. They said that their intention is not to create hurdles for the police, but police deployment creates physical and psychological barriers. “We live happily with our neighbors from the Muslim community. They are the ones who stand by us through thick and thin. We have co-existed with them for centuries, and we need them more than anything else,” said an elderly Kashmiri Pandit who did not wish not to be named. “Our bond is rock solid. We don’t differentiate between ourselves. We are one,” he said.

At Chakoora, the KASHMIR CENTRAL team found Pandits and Muslims busy discussing the record rise in temperature during April, which otherwise pleasant in Kashmir. They said that the bonhomie between the two communities has no parallels. “We are emotionally attached to each other. We don’t differentiate between ourselves,” they echoed in one voice. “We live happily with each other. There is only love and affection, and that is our religion,” said members of both communities.

A Pandit whom the KASHMIR CENTRAL team met in Rohama village said that the centuries-old Kashmiri ethos continues, and people from two communities share same the bonding.


In Srinagar, the KASHMIR CENTRAL team visited Solina area of Srinagar city, where Kashmiri Sikhs live in large numbers. A teacher from this area was killed mercilessly on October7 last year at Eidgah Srinagar, along with another teacher of the minority community.

Gursimran Kaur, an engineering graduate from this area told KASHMIR CENTRAL about the bonhomie between Sikhs and Muslims in the area. “First of all there is a bond between Sikhs and Muslims which remains unshaken despite highly unpleasant events over the last 33 years. There were massacres perpetrated by unidentified terrorists. In some cases the security forces were blamed for killing the Sikhs. But our faith and bond remains unshaken.

Referring to the killing of Supinder Kour, a teacher at Government Higher Secondary School, Eidgah in Srinagar on October 7, Gursimran said that the incident was horrifying, but the response of the Muslims in their neighborhood was highly noble and soul- touching. “Our neighbours were as much in grief as the family of Supinder Kour. Post Supinder Kour’ killing, the amity and brotherhood between the two communities has strengthened even more. There is a resolve from both sides to persevere and protect each other in harmony.


In becharoon ka koi kasoor nahi. Terrorist in se pooch ka thode he aate hain. (Our hapless neighbors are innocent. Terrorists don’t seek their permission when they strike). The aged but experienced Kashmiri Pandit articulated the recent events very beautifully. “Hum khofzada hain aur ye dard main (We live in fear and they in pain because of how we are targeted). Chot humain lagti hai, dard unko hote hai (Whenever we are hurt they feel the pain),” the 67-year-old Pandit said.

The recent targeted killings have left the Pandits feeling deeply scared. A young Pandit girl said that she and her family members have no complaint against their Muslim neighbors, and that they are deeply caring. “They stand by us and share our grief and happiness. Still fear grips our village more than ever before. What keeps us going is the tenderness and innocence with which our neighbors treat us. I am telling you that they are as helpless as we are under the given situation.”

Courtesy: Kashmir Central

On April 23, a Railway Police Force sub-inspector lost the battle for life after six days. Sub Inspector Dev Raj was attacked along with a colleague by a pistol-borne terrorist a week before at Kakapora Pulwama. 
The RPF SI was being treated at SMHS after receiving critical injuries in the attack near a Dhaba in Kakapora Pulwama along with his colleague Surinder Singh who had died on spot. The attack was carried out from a lush green crop field when the soldiers were sitting just outside a Dhaba. KRF strongly condemns the attack and prays for their eternal journey. These attacks are highly reprehensible leading to growth in terrorism in the valley.

Srinagar, Apr 22: Two non-local labourers were shot on Friday evening in Nowgam area of Srinagar. One critical, another stable, says MS SMHS. Terrorists fired upon two outside labourers in the Nowgam area, the outskirts of Srinagar City. Both of them have been shifted to hospital. KRF highly condemns the dastard attack. Terrorists are targeting non-locals and trying to spurt anti-minority sentiments in the region, opposing the spirit of Kashmiriyat. 

Friday, 22 April: A bus carrying 15 CISF tunnel going for morning shift duties was att by terrorists at about 4.25 hrs near Chaddha Camp in Jammu. CISF averted the terrorist attack, retaliated effectively, and forced the terrorists to run away. In the line of action, one ASI of CISF lost his life and two others received injured. Ammo recovered from terrorists suggest the slain were planning a fidayeen strike; ADGP Mukesh Singh says satellite phones, and crucial documents were recovered.
PM Modi will address a major rally which will be attended by thousands of Panchayat members at Palli village. Ahead of the visit, security has been put on high alert and round the clock patrolling is being carried out by security forces to prevent any such confrontations.
KRF strongly condemns the attack leading to destruction, instability and violence. 

Srinagar, April 19: Terrorists on Tuesday night hurdled a grenade at Police Station Budgam but no casualty was reported in the incident.  

Terrorists lobbed the grenade at police station around 21:15 hours. The device exploded outside the gate. However, alert santry fired upon the terrorist but they managed to escape, taking advantage of the darkness. KRF condemns the incident of violence aimed at disrupting the peace and tranquility that evolved after 2019.

7 years ago, during a visit to my native village, Sogam Lolab, as an excited 8-year-old, my life changed forever.

We were visiting after a long time. From Srinagar, we had traveled to north Kashmir’s Kupwara to reach the village.

Upon arrival, my mother decided to visit my uncle’s house and spend the night. She insisted that I stay with her but I didn’t listen. I went to another uncle’s place to have fun, as I hadn’t met them in a long time. Little did I know, it was going to be the last time I would speak to my mother.

To my surprise, at around 6 PM that day, all the neighbouring houses in the village switched off their lights. I asked my cousin about it, and he said, “Militants make routine visits to the houses in the village, and people offer them food and other things. Nobody has the guts to say anything to them. Whatever they say, everyone follows.”

17 years ago, during a visit to my native village, Sogam Lolab, as an excited 8-year-old, my life changed forever.

We were visiting after a long time. From Srinagar, we had traveled to north Kashmir’s Kupwara to reach the village.

Upon arrival, my mother decided to visit my uncle’s house and spend the night. She insisted that I stay with her but I didn’t listen. I went to another uncle’s place to have fun, as I hadn’t met them in a long time. Little did I know, it was going to be the last time I would speak to my mother.

To my surprise, at around 6 PM that day, all the neighbouring houses in the village switched off their lights. I asked my cousin about it, and he said, “Militants make routine visits to the houses in the village, and people offer them food and other things. Nobody has the guts to say anything to them. Whatever they say, everyone follows.”

Seeing My Mother For The Last Time

At around 7 PM, while I was playing carrom with my cousins, we heard some gunshots. Initially we thought it to be an encounter between security forces and militants, because militancy was far too common in the Valley back then. After a few minutes, upon hearing loud cries from outside, we rushed to the gate to find my aunt weeping. When we entered the house where my mother was staying for the night, we saw blood stains on the walls. My elder sister fainted, and my brother and I had no idea what was going on.

The following day, people started gathering at our house. I saw two lifeless bodies lying on the bed — that of my mother’s and that of my uncle’s.

There was a cotton roll full of blood in my mother’s right eye.

Eight-year-old me kept asking everyone why was she lying on the bed and why nobody was speaking to her or asking her to talk. I could only think of her being angry at me for not staying with her the previous night. Then I saw my father crying and realised something was wrong. Nobody responded to my questions; everybody was crying.

In the evening, I was told to see my mother’s face for the last time before the burial. I also went to the graveyard and filled her grave with my hands. It was all a blur, and I was absolutely clueless about the goings-on.

What Happened To My Mother & Uncle?

So what really happened that fateful night to my mother? The story goes, the militants had come knocking on my uncle’s door, and asked my mother for water. When she returned with water, one of them shot my uncle in the chest, while another shot my mother in the eye. Both of them died on the spot, and the militants fled.

Those militants not only killed two people – they rendered seven children motherless in the blink of an eye.

Seventeen years have passed, but the incident remains fresh in my memory. I still recall my last moments with my mother.

The Law Of The Jungle

As per the central government’s data, there has been a 40 percent decline in the recruitment of militants in 2019 since the previous year. After the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami and the Hurriyat, stone-pelting has reduced. The Hurriyat has also faced opposition and rejection rejected from different sections of the Valley because of their failed Kashmir policy.

But the youth in south Kashmir, especially Tral, Pulwama, Shopian, continue to join militant outfits. They tend to easily fall for the ideals of jihad, after systematic brainwashing. They have no idea what they are up to, but they seem to prefer death over life.

Militant outfits succeed in this indoctrination mainly by using social media for their propaganda.

It’s believed that (late) Hizbul commander Burhan Wani heralded the use of social media to recruit Kashmiri youth into militant ranks.

The fear of the gun in Kashmir is the only reason people don’t want to raise their voice against militancy and violence. In the past, we have witnessed the fate of those who have spoken against gun culture and violence in the Valley. Nobody dares to question the militants in such an atmosphere.

Where do we go from here?

Courtesy: Sajid Yousuf

Srinagar, April 18: A Railway Protection Force personnel was killed while another was injured in a terror attack in the Kakapora area of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Monday. Both the injured personnel were shifted to a nearby hospital for treatment, where one of them succumbed to his injuries. KRF strongly condemns the attack. Terrorists turned frustrated by their elimination daily basis. Such coward attacks are highly reprehensible to the development of the region. 

Srinagar, April 15: An independent Sarpanch was shot dead by terrorists in the Pattan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Later the bullet-ridden body of the Sarpanch, Manzoor Ahmad Bangroo son of Mohammad Sadiq of Goshbugh area of Pattan was found in an orchard, in the Rakh area, and was taken to hospital, where doctors declared Manzoor dead on arrival. The killing came after a Hindu driver was target and killed in Kulgam on April 13. 
KRF strongly reacts to the spree of killings in the valley by terrorists leading to fear and psychosis among the locals.