You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Amarnath yatra attack aimed at leaving PDP-BJP govt red-faced, say experts

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-07-2017 Shaswati Das

New Delhi: Monday’s attack on Amarnath Yatra pilgrims came after a span of 15 years. In 2002, 11 Amarnath Yatra pilgrims were killed in two separate episodes by the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which was also responsible for Monday’s attack that killed seven and injured 19.

But why now? An expert said that the attack is aimed at humiliating the central government and, by extension, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Yatra is a matter of prestige for the government...; external forces want the government of India to be left red-faced because innocents dying is a huge embarrassment for any government,” said Lt General H.S. Panag, defence expert and former Indian Army officer.

The attack breaks an unspoken code of not harming the pilgrims, and, therefore, the state’s tourism-dependant economy, and is a signal that Pakistan is upping the ante, added Gurmeet Kanwal, defence expert at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.

The attack also underlines the need for a radical change in India’s policy, other experts said.

One former government official, who asked not to be identified, suggested that India needs to get tougher with Pakistan and more sincere about building bridges with the local population.

“We are too worried about the United Nations will say and the sanctions that our allies will impose,” this person added. But “we need to accept the fact that we can’t have a relationship with Pakistan. Any democratically elected leader there who talks peace with India,” he said.

Meanwhile, it is also time for the government to tap into the growing disillusionment with Pakistan among ordinary Kashmiris, the former government official added.

More From LiveMint

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon