Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir – Analysts and pro-Indian political leaders have dismissed an escalation in a decision to withdraw the security detail for top Kashmiri separatist leaders.
The move by India's home ministry There were 42 Indian troops killed in the restive region and raised fears of a confrontation with Pakistan.
On Sunday, a formal order was issued to remove government protection given to the region's four separatist leaders because of the attack.
"In view of the recent terrorist attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Lethpora village in Pulwama, the government of India has emphasized the need for immediate review of police resources in providing security to a large number of non -government persons, particularly relevant in the context of security provided to separatists and their sympathizers, "the order said.
The announcement could lead to further crises in the region that has been engulfed in violence for years, analysts said. Last year was the deadliest in nearly a decade with the highest number of casualties of rebels, security personnel and civilians.
In the past, several Kashmiri separatist leaders have been assassinated under mysterious circumstances.
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While India has blamed Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI for its role in eliminating leaders for their alleged proclivity towards a disputed region, pro-separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir state have also been a thorn in the side of indian security agencies
Ajai Sahni, a defense and security analyst based in New Delhi, told Al Jazeera "the entire orientation of this [BJP] government as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned has been directed towards their own electoral interest ".
" They [BJP] use polarization as a principal weapon for whatever they have been doing in the region and this stone p will feed more polarization. This is essentially going to appeal to the constituency who have been demanding these things for a long time. It is not considered to be move by the state apparatus. It is a political move. If these people are under threat the state can simply remove their security, "he said.
He said there was a political destabilization in Kashmir for the past five years." That's why we are in a condition that we are in now , "he said.
With separatist leaders enjoying overwhelming public support in the Muslim majority state, any attack on the potential to trigger a new law and order crisis in the restive state.
" If something happens, anyone is attacked, it will impact the local situation. It will put pressure on local police and the governor, "another security analyst, Rahul Bedi, told Al Jazeera.
Police officials in the region expressed the same fear of attacks on the Kashmiri leadership.
" Some of these leaders have been attacked several times. It's worrying. If anything happens it will be difficult to act, "Al Jazeera's senior police on condition of anonymity.
The latest attack has also escalated tension between India and Pakistan, with New Delhi warning Islamabad or reprisals. also the separatist leaders of "receiving money from Pakistan and its intelligence agencies"
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Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, one of The four separatist leaders whose security was with the Indian government of diverting the Kashmir dispute.
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"The government provided me security. I did not ask for it. And now they have with it. Let them. They just want to divert the attention of people from the real issue, which is Kashmir's struggle for the right to self-determination, "he told Al Jazeera.
Umar, whose father Moulvi Mohammad Farooq was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in 1990, said he will continue to fight against the Indian oppression in Kashmir.
"This won't affect us; our struggle will continue. We will change our stand, "Farooq said. Another separatist leader, Abdul Gani Bhat – leader of Muslim conference – said" it is a non-issue for them ".
" The government kept these guards in our offices and homes. It was their decision. We never told them to give us any security. I even requested them once to withdraw it. Even our security and the latest attack has no connection. They are connected to the two things, "Bold Al Jazeera.
" Without anybody guarding me with a gun, I will move freely. "
The adviser to the state governor Vijay Kumar told Al Jazeera the decision was made by the federal home affairs ministry and "they are looking into some more nuances or it".
Mehbooba Mufti, forms chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and a senior pro-India politician, called the step as "kneejerk reaction".
"Why was the security granted to them? It was because of the threat perception and who assessed that threat perception? It was the government. Many leaders were killed and that was the basis for security. "Mufti said." The killing of dozens of Indian security forces by the 20-year-old local suicide bomber has triggered xenophobic attacks against Kashmiris in several parts of India by right- wing groups.
On Sunday, the Himalayan region observed a complete shutdown to protest the reprisal attacks.