SRINAGAR: Syed Ali Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of Jammu and Kashmir’s separatist Hurriyat Conference, is the only leader to condemn the US operation to kill Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.
No other separatist leader has publicly reacted to the US killing Osama, who was housed in a mansion in Abbottabad near the Pakistan capital Islamabad. Geelani has told a news agency that Osama was “a martyr who died fighting US oppression in Afghanistan”.
“He was a symbol of resistance against the US and he was martyred while defending the Muslims.”
The octogenarian separatist leader, however, added that he had no animosity with the people of the US. “We condemned 9/11 attacks as they were terrorist acts. But since then the US has killed lakhs of Muslims in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.”
Even common people have maintained silence on the killing of Osama, who masterminded the 9/11 terror attack. However, in private circles, the US operation in Pakistan is being debated and even questioned.
“How could anyone, including the US, operate in Abbottabad close to the military academy there without the knowledge of Pakistan,” asked a political science teacher who did not wish to be named.
Despite apprehensions, there has been no public outburst in the Kashmir valley over the death of the Al Qaeda leader. It has been business as usual since Monday when news came in of Osama’s killing. Authorities had sounded a high alert, fearing a law and order situation in the aftermath of the Abbottabad incident.
“It is quite encouraging that the situation continues to remain normal here. We are hopeful things would remain normal in the coming days as well. The Osama development has not affected life in Jammu and Kashmir state as good sense prevailed on the people here,” said a senior police officer here.
On the other hand, the Communist Party of India-Marxist on Tuesday said the killing Osama was unlikely to end terrorism.
“The death of bin Laden, while being a setback for Al Qaeda, will not result in an end to the extremist violence spawned by fundamentalism,” the party said in a statement.
At the same time, it said the US-sponsored “war on terror” had only worsened the situation, with tens of thousands of people getting killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The fact that bin Laden could live in Pakistan for so many years points to the linkage between the security establishment and some of the extremist groups operating there,” it said.
It pointed out that the US had enlisted Pakistan to fight the Soviet-backed Afghan government in the 1980s.
“The Pentagon and CIA had equipped and financed through the ISI, people like Osama, fuelling the later day Taliban and jehadi fundamentalists.
“The recent military intervention in Libya and the continuing war in Afghanistan show the US has learnt no lessons from the past.
“State terrorism and fundamentalist terrorism feed each other,” it added.
“Unless the US changes its approach of resorting to military force and state terrorism, the problem of terrorism cannot be tackled successfully.”