Pulwama Attack: How Educated Fidayeens Are Making Militancy Glamorous in Kashmir

Politics

Pulwama Attack: How Educated Fidayeens Are Making Militancy Glamorous in Kashmir

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

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n April 2, 2011, a 12-year-old boy from Gundibagh, a sleepy hamlet in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, found his hero when Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the World Cup final for India by hitting a towering six over long on. For the next seven years, the Indian team’s captain became this village boy’s idol. He cherished every helicopter shot, every rapid stumping, and every triumph. Two years ago, when Dhoni’s team lost to Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy, he knew what his Kashmiri friends who cheered for the rival team would have in store for him. He locked himself up in his room, and didn’t step outside for a couple of days.

On February 14, this Team India fan rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF convoy at Lethpora, Pulwama, on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, killing more than 40 Indian jawans. This Team India fan was Adil Ahmad Dar, known to the world as the teen who executed the deadliest suicide attack on security forces in Kashmir. Adil spent a year waiting to attack, which has taken the Indo-Pak relationship to a new low. But what changed in six months? Until July 18, 2017, the day of the Champions Trophy final, he was still rooting for India.

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