Much ado in Kashmir over Padma Shri for Mir
It has come as a surprise to many that Ghulam Mohammad Mir, often described as Kashmir’s first counter-insurgent, has been honoured with the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest civilian awards.
Mir alias Momma Kana, 60, who was awarded for public service, has been accused of involvement in cases of extortion and attempted murder.
A police official told ‘The Telegraph’ that Mir’s name sent shivers down the spine of people across Kashmir — he is said to have run a private militia and helped Indian troops combat insurgency.
“A lot of stories about how he would commit atrocities on people began being circulated in Kashmir those days,” the newspaper quoted a police officer as saying.
In the nineties, over a dozen militant groups were fighting Indian troops and at least three pro-government militia groups were helping security forces in combating the rebellion.
New Delhi has denied the allegations against Mir and said the counter-insurgent is a nationalist who fought separatist militants challenging Indian rule in Kashmir.
But officials in Kashmir say the award to Mir had come as a big embarrassment for the state government.
Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the People’s Democratic Party, Kashmir’s main opposition party, said honouring Mir is unfortunate and like adding salt to the wounds of Kashmiris.
The award for Mir has come amid near daily protests in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley where anti-India sentiment still runs deep.
Is New Delhi further alienating the people of Kashmir by honouring him?