(A Sovereign Kashmir: Random Thoughts-309)
– Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal
Unexpected turnoff events give rise to equally unexpected problems. Indian occupation forces have been overdoing their criminal operations, going even beyond the fake encounters and directly murdering young Kashmiris leading the freedom struggle.
From fake encounters, Indian occupation forces have graduated to focus on targeted killing of Muslims in Kashmir, thereby aggravating the militancy in the valley. Militancy continues to rise after Burhan Wani’s killing.
Once a paradise, Kashmir has been converted by Indian forces into a terror zone and it is now the worst military cantonment on earth, scheming and targeting Muslims through powerful remote gadgets bought from its terror associate Israel and elsewhere.
Refusal to abide by the writing on the wall and denying peace, sovereignty and prosperity to Kashmiris would be disastrous for India too in the long run.
Kashmiris are determined, more than ever, to regain their sovereignty and reclaim their lost paradise.
Burhan Wani’s killing- A huge India mistake
India, enjoying genocides of Kashmir Muslims being perpetrated for too long by the occupation forces in Jammu Kashmir, thought by killing popular Kashmir youth Burhan Wani, the freedom struggle in Kashmir would end. By blasting the news in the media about the killing of Burhan Wani India would have thought the Kashmiris would be silenced once for all.
No, the murder of Burhan Wani’s reignited the ill-feeling of Kashmiri Muslims who are being subjected to all sorts of problems. Such inhuman murders for the sake of publicity only aggravated the military in Kashmir.
In order to terrorize Muslims in Kashmir, The army and the police in south Kashmir have killed several prominent militants in the recent past. Plus, two or three score new local militants have been persuaded to return to their homes. The forces’ morale and intelligence in south Kashmir too appears to have improved substantially over the past few months.
India always says Pakistan is behind the freedom struggle. But Pakistan itself is in troubles but the freedom struggle in is very active and would not end without obtaining sovereignty.
Of course, Pakistan offers Kashmir freedom movement logistic support hoping to get Kashmir into Pakistani territories. In fact this approach harms the freedom movement as India does not want to give away Kashmir to Pakistan.
The killing of the iconically popular Burhan, on 8 July 2016 gave a huge fillip to both street demonstrations and to the recruitment of new militants in south Kashmir.
A stream of foreign infiltrators too has come across the Shamsabari range from that time. Many of these Pakistani and other foreigners are lurking in areas of north Kashmir.
Entire Kashmir on struggle path
The recent attack on the motorcade of Jammu Kashmir’s Public Works Minister Naeem Akhtar is one more indication that a horrifically lethal militancy lies ahead. Although the forces have had laudable successes over the past couple of months, worse lies ahead. The attack caused a repeat of a terrible trend of the period after 1989: people in the area complained the security forces accompanying the minister had fired indiscriminately after a grenade hit the minister’s motorcade. The grenade was apparently fired from a gun. If so, the assailant would have been some distance away from the motorcade.
That the attack was on the first day of Moharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, could signify heightened militancy over the next year. Militancy traditionally reduces during winter but this is still just the beginning of autumn—and next spring could augur a hot summer.
Tral, where Akhtar’s motorcade was attacked, has been largely left alone by both sides since April 2016, when the army brutally killed Khalid, militant commander Burhan Wani’s elder brother, in the area. There have been militants there, but have remained careful about not undertaking operations in the area. The most intense areas of operations have included other parts of the sprawling Pulwama district, such as Newa and Kakapora. It is relatively easy to hide around Tral, which is in the mountains to the east of the Valley.
The sobering fact is that a large number of local and foreign militants lurk in various parts of the Valley. Their spread is amazing—apparently including Kupwara, Keran, Lolab, Bandipora, Hajin, Langate, Rafiabad, Beerwah, and various other parts of north, central and south Kashmir.
While the forces can “justifiably” take pride in all these criminal operations, there is no getting away from the fact that more local and foreign militants are now in the field than before. ISIS would likely join them soon an d they would percolate into Indian main. For every new militant that returns home, others take to the field, and are joined by other infiltrators.
Muslims and others all over the globe sympathize with the Kashmiris and their just struggle for sovereignty form Indian yoke. Foreign militants are said to have recently settled into the mountains on the other side of south Kashmir—in Shopian district on the west. There are also said to be militants in the dry and rocky Wachi belt between Shopian and Kulgam. Fear runs deep in those areas now. Over the past few weeks, people have taken to getting home before dusk and staying indoors thereafter. As in the 1990s, there are constant phone calls to check on those who are out even during the day.
The intensity of struggle for freedom grew gradually as Indian forces used excessive force to silence the Kashmiris.
Kashmiris would continue their struggle until they achieve sovereignty. Indian army has increased its counterinsurgency grid, mainly in south Kashmir. Only over the past couple of weeks have the forces taken on the foreigners in north Kashmir in a couple of encounters. Far more violence could lie ahead.
The current militancy has been building since 2009, about three years after the militancy which began in 1988 ended. Many of the young people who were brutalized by the police in the months after the `stone-pelting’ uprising in 2010, took up arms. These included Burhan, who took to the gun in October 2010, aged about 15.
Militants became widely popular in south Kashmir in 2015, when militancy converged with street protests. For a couple of years, people from neighbouring areas emerged with stones, slogans and demonstrations to try and help militants caught in an encounter to escape.
Pakistan continues to support struggle for Kashmir sovereignty
Pakistan has been supporting and assisting the freedom groups in Jammu Kashmir. The pro-Kashmir policy continued even when there have been domestic problems in Pakistan.
Pakistan prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has urged the United Nations to appoint a special envoy to Kashmir, as he claimed that the struggle of the people in the region is being “brutally suppressed” by India.
Abbasi, who assumed office few months ago, said that from day one of its creation, Pakistan has faced unremitting hostility from its eastern neighbor India and it is due Indian manipulative tactics that Pakistan is now a destabilized nation. “India refuses to implement the unanimous resolutions of the UN Security Council, which mandate a UN supervised plebiscite to enable the people of Jammu and Kashmir to freely decide their destiny,” he said, adding that India influences big powers not to hold the plebiscite mainly because India would lose and Pakistan would win. India resents Pakistani support for Kashmiri freedom struggle. India keeps attacking and killing Kashmiri Muslims as it refuses sovereignty to Kashmiris. “Instead, India has deployed nearly 700,000 troops in occupied Kashmir to suppress the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris to exercise their right to self-determination. This is the most intense foreign military occupation in recent history,” Abbasi said as he kicked up the Pakistan’s rhetoric against India.
In his maiden address to the UN General Assembly, mentioned Kashmir a total of 17 times and India 14 times among other things in his speech.
Special UN envoy on Kashmir needed
Shotgun pellets have blinded and maimed thousands of Kashmiris including children. These and other brutalities clearly constitute war crimes and violate the Geneva Conventions, but UN is silent as USA and Russia work for Inidan yoke and against Pakistan and Kashmir. .
The Pakistani prime minister said the legitimate struggle for self-determination of the people of Jammu Kashmir continues to be “brutally suppressed by India’s occupation forces”.
Abbasi accused India of indulging in terror activities against his country and warned of a “matching response” if it “ventures across the LoC (Line of Control)” or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan.
PM Abbasi said despite over 600 ceasefire violations on the India-Pakistan border since January 2017, Pakistan has acted with restraint. “But if India does venture across the LoC, or acts upon its doctrine of limited war against Pakistan, it will evoke a strong and matching response,” he said in his speech in which he raised his anti-India rhetoric.
The Kashmir dispute should be resolved justly, peacefully and expeditiously. As India is unwilling to resume the peace process with Pakistan, “we call on the Security Council to fulfill its obligation to secure the implementation of its own resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir,” he added. “To this end, the UN secretary general should appoint a special envoy on Kashmir. His mandate should flow from the longstanding but unimplemented resolutions of the Security Council,” Abbasi said.
Abbasi demanded an international investigation into the genocides and atrocities in Kashmir and sending of an inquiry commission to Jammu and Kashmir in order to secure the punishment of those “responsible of human rights violation” and provide justice and relief to victims.
Pakistan remains open to resuming a comprehensive dialogue with India to address all outstanding issues, especially Kashmir and discuss measures to maintain peace and security in the region. “This dialogue must be accompanied by an end to India’s campaign of subversion and state sponsored terrorism against Pakistan, including from across our western border,” Abbasi said. Taking a jibe at Pakistan, a top Indian diplomat has said Islamabad’s decision to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN, which has not been discussed at the world body for decades, is like Miyan ki daud masjid tak.
India says Kashmir is not an issue between them. India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin told reporters in the UN. “I have outlined in our approach, which is progressive forward looking. We are visionary in our goals. If on the other hand there are other countries, who focus on old issues then they are yesterday’s people,” Akbaruddin said in response to a question on reports that Pakistan plans to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN. “Pakistanis should not focus on an issue which has not been on the discussion table in the UN now for decades, not for years, for decades”.
A day earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry had said that Abbasi would be raising the Kashmir issue at the UN. Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi demanded the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir, asserting that his country will continue supporting the right to self-determination in Jammu and Kashmir.
Identifying Kashmir as the core issue with its eastern neighbour, Abbasi exuded confidence that the resolution will help address the contentious issue. The implementation of the Security Council resolution will be a great starting point that will help address each other’s concerns and provide peace to the region and between Pakistan and India. That’s the core issue between the two countries,” Abbasi told a New York audience at an event organised by the Council on Foreign Relations.
What India and Pakistan need to do to achieve peace? “There is Indian aggression along the Line of Control (LoC), mostly to draw attention away from the genuine struggle of the Kashmiri people, who have today risen against the Indian occupation there,” he responded to another question. Abbasi asked the world community to honour and defend the fundamental right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “We fully support the right to self-determination. We’ve fully supported that at every forum since 1948, and we continue to support that. And that issue should be resolved as per the UN Security Council resolutions. There are no two opinions about that. We fully support the self-determination rights of the Kashmiri people, and we ask the world community to honour and defend that,” he said. “The Indian occupation forces there have committed atrocities which are really beyond belief, and we expect the world community to take notice of those atrocities. These are very serious crimes against humanity in that region,” Abbasi alleged.
US-India converted Pakistan into a terror state
Abbasi alleged that India has continued with its aggression in the recent past. He, however, said that the two neighbours need to engage on core issues and that he wants “normal relation” with India. “Those have to be resolved first, and Kashmir is the basic core issue there. But unfortunately, in the recent past, the aggression from India has continued unabated, and that is not acceptable. And we want normal relations with India, but on the basis of trust and respect,” he said in response to another question.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivered her address on 23 September. She lambasted Pakistan calling it a terror factory but in saying so, she only means that the USA has converted an Islamic Pakistan into a terror state and destabilized its for supporting all its hidden agendas in South Asia, Russia and Afghanistan.
JK CM Mehbooba Mufti’s widening gap with Kashmir youths
Unfortunately, Kashmiris do not trust their political leaders as the toe the New Delhi line in dealing with them. Not only the Congress and BJP have no real supporters in Kashmir but even the local parties in Jammu Kashmir like the ruling PDP and National Conference are suspected by the people of Kashmir.
The unnatural poll alliance and coalition government between PDP and Hindutva communal BJP are despised by the Kashmiris. In fact, the PDP has lost much of its political base in Kashmir.
Since July last year, the ugly turmoil in south Kashmir has not only forced mainstream politicians to live far away from people due to the security risk posed by the deteriorating security scenario, but they have also closed their doors for the very people whom they are supposed to represent, if only temporarily. Last year’s violence that had engulfed the Valley after the killing of Burhan and the renewed counter-insurgency operation against the militants this year has only widened the divide between the rulers and the ruled.
Victims of violence (both people of Jammu and Kashmir and the representatives of the government) have closed doors for dialogue. The politics of engagement is dying a silent death.
After months of political unrest in Kashmir threatened to create an unbridgeable gap between people of the Valley and the mainstream politicians, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has embarked on an ambitious plan to reconnect with the people.
This is the first time since Burhan Wani’s death last year, that the chief minister will interact with the public. Mehbooba spent an entire day listening to the elders and youths in the volatile Pulwama district of south Kashmir and exploring possibilities to speed up developmental works that have halted due to the turmoil on the streets in recent months.
Mehbooba listened to local people patiently, asked then to suggest fresh ideas to engage youth and help the government in facilitating developmental works at a fast pace in the district. Senior party leaders and workers who attended the public darbar revealed that Mehbooba avoided making speeches and instead preferred to listen to various delegations. During her interaction, she outlined a comprehensive roadmap for the development of Pulwama town and other areas of the district.
A senior party leader said Mehbooba, who is also the president of her party PDP, is planning more such interactions, particularly in the south of Kashmir, the epicenter of last year’s uprising, to bridge the widening gap between the government and the people.
A sitting legislator of PDP from Batamaloo constituency, Noor Mohammad, was chased when he was attending a marriage function in the interior of Zainakote area on the outskirts of Srinagar city. The police denied the incident even took place but have failed to explain why its men chased protesters in the area.
PDP’s image suffered badly after the party chose to ally with the BJP in 2014, but it was further dented to a point of no return in the wake of a massive crackdown by the security forces on protesters and the New Delhi’s clampdown against the separatists in the Valley.
The start of marathon meetings from Pulwama district, which was at the forefront of the agitation last year and continues to remain the hotbed of militancy, is aimed at trying to rebuilt the nearly lost legitimacy of the government and winning back the foot-soldiers of party by carrying out developmental work at a fast pace,” a senior PDP leader said.
But the million dollar question is: Does Mehbooba have enough time on her hands to reclaim the ground that her party has lost since she came to power? Will New Delhi stop the politics of aggression in Kashmir and apply balm on the wounds of people?
Some analysts describe this widening gap between the people and the ruling dispensation as a fodder for separatists and separatism to flourish. However, they also caution that if the politics of engagement remains stagnant for a long time, there is a possibility of losing whatever little faith people have in democratic institutions.
The mainstream politicians are facing a tough challenge when it comes to regaining their lost ground, but for the people in rural areas, who have been at the forefront of the agitation this time, they have no other ways of addressing the local issues of governance. That ultimately translates into votes during elections.
In recent months, even for the grassroots political workers of different political parties, carrying out normal political activities has been fraught with dangerous consequences. Many have been killed, and most faced public wrath at the hands of militants and people alike.
When the workers of PDP gathered in a tent outside the circuit house of Pulwama, which has provided the maximum number of youths to ‘new age militancy’ during the last year of turmoil, it infused a new lease of life among workers. The situation is certainly becoming better. But that does not mean we are out of danger. New Delhi should make a fresh beginning if it wants to win our hearts and minds. It has to reach out to all people of Kashmir, regardless of their ideology.
Time is running out for the PDP in Kashmir.
BJP’s “unconditional’ offer for dialogue with Hurriyat?
Interestingly, on the one hand BJP and Congress party calls the Hurriyet parties terrorist outfits and on the other BJP is now shing eagerness to talk them.
Probably, BJP-RSS duo think without the support of Hurriyet parties, they cannot enter the Kashmir valley as normal political outfits and get their votes.
The BJP government’s apparently contradictory approaches to Kashmir have again caused confusion and disbelief on the ground. Speaking to the media in Srinagar, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav confounded most observers when he offered `unconditional’ talks with the Hurriyat Conference. He said anyone was welcome to engage with the state or central governments without conditions.
In principle, talks, and serious efforts to resolve all issues, are most welcome. But certain straws in the local wind indicate that this invite could signal a specific road-map—one that could involve a rough ride, and not get all that far.
There have been rumours in recent days that a couple of figures from the `separatist’ part of the political spectrum might take on the heat and dust of active politics. If those rumours are true, Madhav’s open-ended invitation for talks might open the way towards a third alternative in Kashmiri politics. That would hardly be enough.
BJP is fully aware of the fact that because of its alliance with PDP, the latter has also lost its credibility among Kashmiris in Kashmir valley. For one thing, the National Investigation Agency’s recent probes have eroded what little credibility was left with the various `secessionist’ or freedom groups that are generally described by the term `Hurriyat.’
Youth participation worries New Delhi, both Congress and its secret ally BJP. A significant problem with this approach is that almost all of those who have taken up kitchen arms, and who pelted stones and physically imposed shutdowns last year, are under 25 years of age. Many of them have more contempt for all kinds of political `leaders’ than even the most vitriolic right-wing television anchors.
The large majority of young Kashmiris appear to back the radical ideas of leading militant Zakir Musa. They reject Indian talk of democracy and Hindu nationalism, and promote the exclusive glory of Islam. Musa was presumably backed by Al Qaeda and the Taliban after he left Hizb-ul Mujahideen in mid-May.
Since 60 per cent of Kashmir’s population is under 25 New Delhi feels the heat. Indeed, almost half are teenagers or in their pre-teens. These were the age segments that manned barricades and imposed shutdowns for four months last year after security forces killed the popular militant commander Burhan Wani.
However, no `Hurriyat’ or other political figure has much influence over the radicalized majority among young Kashmiris. In fact, two of the figures about whose political revival there have recently been rumours have only a geographically or socially restricted influence in Kashmir.
India has been using pure gimmicks to fool the Kashmiris and make them ‘pure’ Indians. . The historical record of failed engagements with `secessionist leaders’ with a view to bringing them into the `mainstream’ is vivid. When PM PV Narasimha Rao , who hatched conspiracy along with RSS-BJP to dismantle the historic monument the Babri Mosque, picked Shabir Shah and announced that `the sky is the limit’ for `maximum autonomy’ for Kashmir, Shah also met Atal Behari Vajpayee, who was then the leader of the opposition.
But them that is the usual Indian gimmick.
As if to endorse a positive change, the then US ambassador Frank Wisner visited Shah at his Srinagar home. Yet, India is insincere. Naeem Khan, the foremost of those in the sting interviews and now in Tihar jail, was Shah’s close aide at that time.
When the fiesty Abdul Ghani Lone was considering the extent to which he might engage in the electoral process, he was assassinated (by whom?) in May 2002, just five months before the assembly elections that year. Lone had yelled at the ISI chief at a meeting in Dubai just a fortnight before he was killed. He had already told Pakistan’s then President Musharraf the previous July (when Musharraf was in Delhi en route to a summit meeting in Agra) that Kashmiris were tired of violence and wanted to settle down in peace with a negotiated settlement.
Terrroristan and terrorindia
After killing over 1000,000 innocent Kashmiris, and forcing several thousands to flee their own nation (recently secret graveyards have been discovered in Kashmir), India systematically murders young Kashmiri Muslims for which it should be named terrorindia.
India, backed by USA, coins a lot of phrases to insult Pakistan, thereby discouraging to any real patch up. Especially after India referred to Pakistan as `Terrroristan’ on the floor of the UN General Assembly just a few hours after Ram Madhav’s invitation for talks, the western neighbour will surely do its utmost to undermine any political process in Kashmir meant to lead towards a settlement that would leave Pakistan out.
Let Burhan Wani’s killing give rise to a soverign Kashmir!
India may not agree that peace gimmicks and murders are not tenable and they won’t go on forever.
Enough of fake encounters and targeted murders in Jammu Kashmir and let both India and Pakistan and China) consider leaving Kashmiris in peace with sovereignty. .
It is high times India withdrew its terror forces ill-focused on Kashmiri blood and win up its occupational camps in Jammu Kashmir so that a peaceful solution could be found by which Kashmiris would live with freedoms and in peace and prosperity and in peace and friendship with India and Pakistan.
Soft borders among India, Pakistan and Kashmir could be the best future option for a sustained tension-free South Asia region.
This can cut short even the referendum route and protect the remaining Kashmiris and save India from embarrassment of defeat.