The hanging of Azal Guru, has raised the debate whether it would mark the return of insurgency in Kashmir as it did at the time of the Maqbool Bhat hanging. Many leaders in Kashmir are apprehensive that the effects of this hanging would not have an immediate impact, but it is bad news for the Valley in the future.
However the team which was part of the investigation of the Parliament attack which included officials of the Research and Analysis Wing and also the Intelligence Bureau say Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat cannot be compared. Bhat was an ideologue, but Afzal is a mercenary and hence there is no cause for worry, officers would point out.
If one were to look into the interrogation report of Afzal Guru it is clear that he was not fighting any cause, but he lent a helping hand to the operation on Parliament for Rs 10 lakh. This is not indicative of an ideologue and the officers point out that he was part of the operation only for the money.
Afzal had willingly joined the Harkat-ul-Ansar trained with them, but backed out and decided that he wished to earn money. Following this training programme he remained quiet and there were no traces of him joining any movement in Kashmir. His tryst with the Parliament began when he was spotted by Ghazi Baba of the Jaish-e-Mohammad. His job was restricted to providing logistics and he had trained specifically for that. He was paid a sum of around Rs 10 lakh for the operation. However he carried out the operation to perfection and the logistic support that he had provided was impeccable the officer says.
Intelligence Bureau officials who are working in the Valley say that they do not see the Maqbool Bhat kind of situation this time around. Although it is being said that there would be a bad repercussion in the near future, the Intelligence does not see this happening.
Bhat unlike Afzal Guru was driving a programme in Kashmir. He was an ideologue and he was present at a time when the Kashmir movement was at its peak. At that time around the people of Kashmir did believe that this was a fight for independence and they were not aware that they were being used by Pakistan who were pursuing their devious agenda of terrorism on Indian soil. 30 years have passed since the hanging of Bhat and a lot in Kashmir has changed since then. Today India is more aware of the problem is in a much better position to deal with the situation.
The image and the capacity of the promoters of terrorism (read Pakistan)is not the same today. India’s capacity to prevent infiltration and effectively counter terror from across the border is much better today. Moreover the people are tired of militancy and almost all of them are seeking peace. Take a look at the 2010 uprising in Kashmir. The Lashkar-e-Tayiba which drives the Kashmir movement today was able to rope in just 70 youth while they would have expected the number to be much larger. The sentiment is clearly dying down, the Intelligence Bureau officials feel.
Officials say that even if Pakistan does manage to push in 2000 terrorists from across the border today, there would still not be a sanctuary for them. These terrorists thrive on local support and that has clearly gone down today. The locals are not prepared to fight anymore and they have a fair idea that they were just pawns in the hands of the Pakistanis.
There have been many movements that have taken place in Kashmir over the past couple of years, but none of them have sustained which itself tells the picture. Yes, there would be a spate of protests and bundhs in the Valleys due to the hanging of Afzal Guru, but then it would not have a long lasting impact. Although the Indian agencies do not see a long term impact of this hanging, they are aware that from across the border some may try and use this issue. However this again would not be sustained as the Pakistan militants are finding it hard to find local support.
When compared to Bhat, Afzal Guru did not have a following in Kashmir. Unlike Bhat, Afzal Guru had no commitment for Kashmir and was an operative trying to earn a fast buck. This is the basic difference between the two and hence due to this hanging there is not much cause for worry in Kashmir.
When Bhat was hanged, the people of Kashmir had an anger against the Indian state. Today a majority of the population seeks peace and feels that it is better to live in the existing situation and aim at making it better rather than fight a battle against the Indian state.