NEW DELHI””When Indian soldiers gunned down Hindu Uttam Singh, along with three Muslim militants in a border district of Indian-administered Kashmir Doda in August last year, the 23 year old was described by the army as a conscript in the ranks of the mujahedeen.
Security forces in Kashmir have insisted such militants fight an Islamic struggle that a Hindu could never support.
But the killing yesterday of another Hindu militant rebel leader lends weight to a growing theory that at least some minority Hindus in Kashmir willingly support the jihad of its Islamic extremists.
The two deaths, plus the arrest of at least three other Hindu militants this summer, are also raising doubts about the government assertion that Kashmir’s bloody insurgency is being fought simply in the interests of Islamic militancy.
Acting on a tip, Indian forces trapped two jihadists in Khilandi village in the Indian border district of Doda and killed them yesterday.
After the night-long gun-battle by a team of army and police commandos, it became clear both dead men belonged to the largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahedeen, but that one “” Kuldeep Sharma, 25 “” was Hindu.
Eight years ago, police said, school dropout Kuldeep crossed into Pakistan, where he was trained in arms and explosives. Two years later, with the Muslim nom de guerre Kamraan (Success), he returned to India-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, where he was made a deputy commander of Hizbul Mujahedeen, which fights for all of Kashmir’s inclusion in neighbouring Pakistan.
Read it all.