India: Demanding vengeance against Pakistan
India is in a paroxysm of rage, said The Economic Times (India) in an editorial. At least 40 Indian paramilitary police were killed last week after a suicide bomber smashed an explosives-packed car into a convoy in Kashmir. It was the deadliest attack in the border region since the anti-Indian insurgency began there in 1989, and it was committed by a terrorist from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed, which wants Muslim-majority Kashmir to split from India and become part of Pakistan. With an election just over a month away, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that the terrorists and “their supporters”—meaning Pakistan—would pay a “very heavy price.” He’s right: “India must find and punish those who attack its citizens and soldiers.” But some Indians are foolishly taking matters into their own hands. Mobs have attacked Kashmiri students across India, while in Jammu, a mostly Hindu province of Kashmir, people are chanting “shoot the traitor Kashmiris.”
Don’t blame Pakistan, said The Frontier Post (Pakistan) in an editorial. The attack could have been a “false flag” operation perpetrated by India to make Pakistan look bad. Unfortunately, Washington has swallowed the Indian narrative. U.S. national security adviser John Bolton has reportedly promised that the Trump administration will support whatever India does in retaliation.
Pakistani denials are worthless, said Syed Ata Hasnain in The Hindu (India). This was a sophisticated attack, requiring explosives expertise, logistical planning, and local recruitment. Jaish-e-Mohammed is “virtually sponsored and owned by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.” Islamabad may feel emboldened because it knows U.S. President Donald Trump needs its help to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban so that he can withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Pakistan is also protected by its ally China, said The Hindu in an editorial. The leader of Jaish-e-Mohammed, Maulana Masood Azhar, is living free in Pakistani Punjab, giving addresses to Islamic militants with what looks like “outright support from the establishment.” Yet every time the United Nations has tried to put Azhar on the list of banned terrorists, China has wielded its veto.
India is partly to blame for this attack, said Ather Zia in Qatar’s AlJazeera.com. Since Modi was elected on a Hindu nationalist platform in 2014, and particularly after a 2016 uprising in Kashmir, Indian forces have been “staggeringly brutal” to Kashmiri Muslims. Thousands of Kashmiris are political prisoners, jailed for peaceful protest, and thousands more—including women and young children—have been wounded, even blinded, by police shooting pellet guns. “Stories of rank humiliation” are common. Indeed, the family of the 22-year-old Kashmiri suicide bomber say he was radicalized after Indian troops detained him and made him “rub his nose on the ground.” It’s no surprise that Kashmiri youth turn to violence—and this suicide bombing won’t be the last. ■