The day ‘armed struggle’ began

On this day, in 1988, twin blasts rocked the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. Most analysts believe that the twin blasts were the beginning of the militant struggle in this Himalayan region contested by India and Pakistan.  Meraj-u-din, who currently heads the television section of Associated Press in Srinagar, agreed to share some of his pictures which were published in The Kashmir Times.

 Chairman JKLF Mohammad Yasin Malik said that Kashmiri people are peace loving and they never believed in violence. “We were forced to believe that non-violent movement is not an option for we people,” he said, adding, even today no political space is being provided to those leaders who struggle peacefully.

It is widely perceived that four commanders of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front planted bombs at the Telegraph Office and Srinagar Club. “The idea behind the blasts was to announce the beginning of the struggle,” says JKLF’s Yasin Malik.

He says that the struggle started in 1988 was instrumental in bringing a peoples revolution in 1990 when lakhs of Kashmiris took to streets with one slogan of Azadi. “This revolution continued till 2008 when people of Jammu Kashmir on the persuasion of world community made a historic transformation from violence to non violence and started a historic non violent struggle for freedom. Now it is the duty of world community to safeguard this non violent struggle and play its active role in resolving the Jammu Kashmir dispute,” he says.

Yusuf Jameel, a renowned journalist from Kashmir who reported the blast says it was a new thing for us to cover. “Before we used to cover politics, tourism, culture, but the blasts changed the journalistic discourse,” he says.

We were on our toes after the blasts. There was something in the air we anticipated a lot and the work culture suddenly shifted,” says senior photo-journalist Habib Naqash.

 The group of four militant leaders from Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front better known as ‘Hajy Group’ reportedly planted two bombs, one at Golf Course, and another at Telegraph Office here to send a ‘firm and clear message to the government of India that Kashmiri youth are ready to face them’.  “These bombs were planted with an intention to give loud and clear message to government of India that Kashmiri youth are ready to face them. These bombs were not planted to harm anyone. These blasts jolted the establishment and attracted attention of international community towards the long-pending issue,” JKLF leader Javid Ahmed Mir says.

Former Commander who acted as the publicity chief of JKLF then said that it was only after the blast that rocked Srinagar city that government came to know that hundreds of youth have arrived in Valley with weapons to take on India.