New Delhi: Terror group Al Qaeda’s Chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has told “Mujahideen in Kashmir” to inflict “unrelenting blows” on the Indian Army and government in Jammu and Kashmir in a message released by the outfit’s media wing, as per the Foundation for Defence of Democracies’ (FDD) Long War Journal. He also brought to light Pakistan’s involvement in fuelling cross-border terrorism in Kashmir in the message titled “Don’t Forget Kashmir,” released by As Shabab. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu Thomas Joscelyn, in his article for the journal, wrote that Al Qaeda has been grooming an upstart group to wage jihad against the Indian forces in Kashmir. “(I am)of the view that the Mujahideen in Kashmir- at this stage at least- should single-mindedly focus on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and government, so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in manpower and equipment,” Zawahiri said. Also Read – ED can withhold names of tax evaders in Panama Papers: CICWhile Zawahiri did not explicitly mention deceased terrorist Zakir Musa, a picture of the dead Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind’s (AGH) founder flashed on the screen as the terror outfit’s chief spoke on Kashmir. Joscelyn speculated that Zawahiri and al-Qaeda’s Kashmir cell, AGH, are coordinating their messages as he drew similarities between the terror outfit chief’s message and a speech given by Musa’s successor, Abdul Hameed Lelhari, recently. While both Musa and Lelhari admitted to Pakistan’s role in training Kashmiri jihadists, they cautioned that the ” Pakistanis are not trustworthy.” Zawahiri called both the Pakistani Army and government as “toadies of America” in his message. He claimed that Pakistan prevented the “Arab Mujahideen” from “head[ing] to Kashmir after expelling the Russians from Afghanistan,” — which was countered by the author by quoting the 9/11 Commission. Joscelyn stated that the United States had learned of the presence of Pakistan’s military intelligence service at one of al Qaeda’s camps in Afghanistan, which was struck in retaliation for the August 1998 US Embassy bombings. The Pakistanis were training Kashmiri jihadists at the camp, according to the author. The writer also highlighted the “double-game” played by Pakistan after the gruesome 9/11 terror attacks in the US. While Pakistan did conduct counter-terrorism operations against Al Qaeda following the 2001 attacks, it also harboured the Taliban’s senior leadership, including members of the al Qaeda-allied Haqqani Network. “All the Pakistani Army and government are interested in is exploiting the mujahideen for specific political objectives, only to dump or persecute them later,” Zawahiri claimed, highlighting Pakistan’s role while casting them in a negative light. Pakistan’s “conflict with India is essentially a secular rivalry over borders managed by the American intelligence,” the terror outfit’s chief further alleged. In his message, Zawahiri also claimed that the “fight in Kashmir” is not a separate conflict but instead is part of the worldwide Muslim community’s jihad against a vast array of forces. He further called on “unnamed” scholars to spread this point. “You (the scholars) must clearly state that supporting the jihad in Kashmir, the Philippines, Chechnya, Central Asia, Iraq, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, the Islamic Maghreb and Turkistan is an individual obligation on all Muslims, until sufficient strength is achieved to expel the disbelieving occupier from Muslim lands,” he said. Zawahiri also told his terrorists not to target “mosques, markets, and gathering places of Muslims” in Kashmir during his message. Even though the Al Qaeda has attacked several locations which have claimed the lives of innocent Muslim civilians, amongst others, the terror outfit’s chief claimed that “absence of sharia guidelines,” could turn the mujahideen into “murderers.” He also claimed that the terror outfit’s “Jihad against America in Afghanistan” is an “individual obligation” of all Muslims. “Esteemed scholars! It is your duty to preach to the Ummah that the Jihad against America in Afghanistan today is an individual obligation (fard ayn), just as the jihad against Russia was three decades earlier,” Zawahiri said. “Clarify to the people that we are a single ummah, and our jihad is one jihad,” he added. The terror chief also told the scholars to explain that “support of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan is an individual obligation on the people of Afghanistan and those in their proximity, and after them on all Muslims, until sufficient strength is achieved to defeat America, its allies, and its agents,” as per the article on the journal’s website. (With inputs from Hindustan Times)
If one were to apply the international poverty line of $2.5 per day, the figures in these three districts are 74.4 per cent, 60.9 per cent and 57.2 per cent respectively. As for the age profile of the poor in the North and East, the study points out that about 47 per cent of people living in poverty come under the group of below 25 years, compared to 40 per cent in other Provinces.Lack of access to the labour market and high unemployment rates, particularly among the youth and among educated women, are the factors that have contributed to the prevalence of such high rates of poverty.On the people in the estate sector, the World Bank’s report has said a large share of the population is “vulnerable to adverse shocks”. The World Bank has called for the implementation of programmes aimed at improving market accessibility, incentives to promote entrepreneurship among educated youth and schemes to help ex-combatants and women-headed households. As for the estates, multi-sector interventions should be undertaken to improve nutrition outcomes, enhance job opportunities for the youth and prepare for a growing number of aging estate workers, the report has added. With respect to the estates, the poverty headcount rate is 10.9 per cent, as per the Sri Lanka’s national poverty line and this goes up to 50.6 per cent under the international poverty line.Though the World Bank has not specifically given the figure of Batticaloa, a 2014 publication of the Department of Census and Statistics of the Sri Lankan government mentioned that the figure (as in 2012-2013) was 19.4 per cent. Describing as worrisome the non-monetary indicators of health and nutrition in the estates, the document has pointed out that the estates have the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. “About 30 percent of children below 5 are underweight, nearly one in three babies born have low birth weight, and one-third of women of reproductive age are malnourished.” Regions with the highest rate of poverty in Sri Lanka are areas inhabited by Tamils, according to a study of the World Bank.The regions come under the districts of Mannar, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi in the Northern Province; Batticaloa in the East and plantations in Badulla district (Uva Province) and Nuwara Eliya (Central Province). One Sinhala-dominated region the study has identified as having a high rate of poverty is the Monaragala district, The Hindu newspaper reported. Going by Sri Lanka’s national poverty line of about $1.50 per day (Purchasing Power Parity in 2005), the poverty headcount rates of Mullaitivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi are 28.8 per cent, 20.1 per cent and 12.7 per cent respectively.