From abusing the Indian government, to mocking the Indian Armed Forces, to glorifying terrorists, these graffiti have not just been used as a propaganda tool but also a means to demean India’s armed forces.
Obliterating such offensive graffiti had been Indian Army’s conventional response to the menace till now. Not anymore. A few young Indian Army officers have now decided to take the battle right up to these walls—one graffiti at a time.
The name of Zakir Musa—a Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist recently believed to be named by the Al- Qaeda as its India chief—was found painted on walls after walls in Budgam district. It was then a young Rashtriya Rifles’ Company Commander decided he needed to respond: spray can for spray can and that too, innovatively.
So the graffiti which originally said ‘MUSA BHAI’ in capital letters was modified by adding two new alphabets and tampering with an existing one. A few sprays later, the graffiti screaming MUSA BHAI became an even more screaming SAMOSA BHAI.
As Budgam woke up the next morning, the sense of amusement on the streets was unmistakeable. Many were intrigued by who this SAMOSA BHAI was. And the fun continued for a few days.
“We found that not a single wall had been spared. Zakir Musa’s name had been painted all over the place. At first, we thought of obliterating these graffiti like we normally do. Then we had this idea and decided to react differently,” said an army official in Kashmir, requesting anonymity.
“It was an interesting experiment, one that also lifted the mood of our men,” the army official said. Senior Army officials acknowledge that the anti-India messages painted on walls in Kashmir can at times make soldiers feel disheartened and demeaned. “This kind of a response surely helps in lifting the spirits of our men,” the official added.
Sources said there was a growing appreciation within the Army establishment for officers and leaders who were trying to come up with out-of-box solutions to the situations they face on a daily basis in the conflict zone in Kashmir.
“You will keep hearing of more such innovations in days to come,” the officer from Kashmir said.