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‘This Is Not Jihad’, Says Kashmir Village After Terrorists Kill Cop

‘This Is Not Jihad’, Says Kashmir Village After Terrorists Kill Cop

SRINAGAR: The death of a police constable has triggered an intense anger and resentment against terrorists at a village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district – an unexpected turnaround in the wake of the five-month unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. Over the last few months, Kashmir has been witnessing an upsurge in the number of mourners at the funerals of terrorists. But on Sunday, thousands attended the funeral of Abdul Kareem. Constable Abdul Kareem, 40, was killed on Saturday after he was shot by a group of terrorists whom he had intercepted at a road crossing Chougal, on Kupwara – Srinagar road. “Whoever killed him, I will never call him a Mujahid. He is a terrorist. I’m categorically saying this, whatever the consequences may be. It is terrorism and this terrorism should stop,” said his relative Abdul Kabir. In recent years, massive crowds have turned up for the funerals of terrorists – triggering worry for both the state government and New Delhi. During the unrest since July, the hostility against the local police had deepened so that policemen could not go home, fearing attacks by crowds. Since July, there have been several incident of policemen being targeted. But the mood at Abdul Kareem’s funeral could not be more different. “If they call killing anybody Jihad, we don’t accept it. Ask his widow, who will be delivering child today. Ask his children,” said Abdul Gani Sheikh, a neighbor. “This is not jihad. It is against Islam,” said another local, Mohammad Jamal. “We will say good bye to such jihad where people are being murdered.” Mr Kareem had worked as a Special police officer or SPO for more than 12 years before he was recruited in regular police force in 2013. The locals say he never harassed anybody and was always ready to help the needy, which accounted for the hero’s burial he was given and the sudden shift in mood. Leading his funeral was local legislator Engineer Rashid, who is often known for anti-government and pro- separatist views. Mawar area is a transit route for the infiltrating terrorists and there have been several encounters between terrorists and security forces in the recent past.

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