(A Sovereign Kashmir: Random Thoughts-301)
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
India suffers from illogical superiority complex and situation has become very serious under the Hindutva nationalist BJP rule. India government, irrespective of which party or coalition rules the country, does not change its policy for Jammu Kashmir which it sees through its policy for Pakistan.
India possibly thinks if it ends criminal operations in Kashmir and let Kashmiris win freedom and sovereignty from New Delhi that would be misunderstood by the world as India’s weakness.
Kashmiris do not have support of veto powers to make any difference to Indian military yoke in Kashmir and they do not have high precision weapons that Israel has in order to defend themselves from military attacks on them; India very cleverly exploits the weaknesses of Kashmiris. State government being elected by Kashmiris does not think they have a duty to protect the life and property of Kashmiris in Kashmir.
The Kashmiri parties like NC and PDP uses the Hindutva parties like BJP and Congress to threaten the Muslims in Kashmir with action if they continue to demand freedom and sovereignty from India. India and BJP in JK government do all possible things to make Hindus very happy.
Knowing the weak predicament of Kashmiris, Indian federal government is in no mood for talks with Kashmir “separatists” despite JK state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti pushing for discussion with all stakeholders, especially the freedom fighting groups or the so-called separatists. Even the British government eventfully had understood the need to talk to Indian freedom fighters, especially with Mahatma Gandhi to find credible ways to end the struggle.
Now New Delhi, armed with huge arsenals of nuclear and conventional terror goods, does not think the time is ripe go for a talk with Syed Geelani and other Hurriyet leaders who are spearheading the freedom struggle.
Already over 100,000 Kashmir shave laid their valuable lives to see a soverign Jammu Kashmir.
In order to divert the global attention on the state crimes in occupied Kashmir, Indian terror specialists say the Kashmiri freedom fighters are separatists, terrorists and they should be dealt with sternly and Indian government should be supported in its regular massacre operations in Kashmir, leading to creation of secret graveyards in the valley.
While the federal government in New Delhi is unwilling to find solutions to the problems being faced by Kashmiris, Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi with a message that the government should restart talks with Hurriyat separatists for normalcy to return in the Valley. However, the Centre appears to be in no mood for discussion with Hurriyat leaders whom Indian government calls the Pakistani agents, worse than Indian agents in Kashmir and Pakistan. Sources said the government is not in favour of talks with “pro-Pakistan lobby” in the Valley despite such demands from various quarters, including from foreign powers. .
India says entire Kashmir belongs to it and Pakistan should not dream of getting more Kashmir lands. It wants the freedom fighting groups to be silent about sovereignty and Indian government believes that talks with separatists on its terms would yield no result as all such attempts have failed in the past. Pointing to the need to hold talks with all stakeholders, Mehbooba Mufti said that talks with the separatist Hurriyat (Conference) had taken place during the tenure of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. She said talks were the only way forward.
As situation in the Valley remains tense and incidents of stone pelting continues unabated, the government has decided to go ahead after the top aggressive leaders of Kashmir. Indian agencies have been directed to break the backbone of “terror infrastructure” in Jammu Kashmir.
In recent times Kashmiri agitations have embarrassed New Delhi who claims everything is calm an d cool in Kashmir. The continued agitations of Kashmiris, authorities of JK government have also been asked by New Delhi to continue the crack down on social media inciting violence in the region. Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilize stone-pelters in Kashmir to disrupt security forces’ operations at encounter sites. Most of these groups – at least 90 per cent of them – have been successfully shut down in the last three weeks.
Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has reminded the nation once again of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir when she said only dialogue similar to the ones held during the former prime minister’s era more than a decade ago could save the Valley. “There was dialogue when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister and LK Advani his deputy. They even held dialogue with the Hurriyat and others,” Mufti told reporters after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence in New Delhi. Vajpayee ruled between 1998 and 2004. His approach towards addressing the Kashmir issue came to be called Vajpayee Doctrine. It also included improving relations with neighbouring Pakistan.
The Vajpayee doctrine on Kashmir called for peace, progress and prosperity in the Valley by imbibing the spirit of Insaniyat (Humanity) , Jamhuriyat (Democracy) and Kashmiriyat (Identity of the people of Kashmir). The doctrine was universally acclaimed by all segments across of political spectrum in the state, including the extremist elements in the Valley.
Vajpayee’s mantra included resolving all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including that of Jammu and Kashmir issue in a peaceful manner through bilateral dialogue without any third party intervention. He carried his message of peace to Pakistan during a bus journey to Lahore on February 19, 1999. Vajpayee made it a point to visit to Minar-e-Pakistan where he re-affirmed India’s commitment to the existence of Pakistan. He reached out to the people of Pakistan in a passionate speech at the governor’s house in Lahore telecast live both in Pakistan & India.
Vajpayee also signed a Lahore Declaration with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on February 21, 1999. As part of the declaration, Pakistan agreed to resolve all bilateral issues between the two countries, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir in a peaceful manner and through dialogue and to promote people to people contact. The Delhi-Lahore Bus Service Sada-e-Sarhad (Call of the Frontier) was launched as a symbol of the efforts of the Vajpayee government to promote peaceful and friendly relations with Pakistan on the basis of reciprocity.
Vajpayee did allow the bus service to be terminated even when Pakistan army chief Parvez Musharraf launched an attack in Kargil between May and July, 1999, which the Indian armed forces successfully repulsed forcing the Pakistani army to vacate the occupied hills in the region. However, the service had to be suspended during the heightened tension between the two neighbours in the aftermath of the Pakistan-ISI sponsored terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. It was restored on July 16, 2003 when Pakistan assured the Indian government as well as the international community that Islamabad would not allow its territory to be used for terrorists’ activities.
Vajpayee on whom the BJP government bestowed nation’s highest civilian honor for his contribution to social work and politics, extended a hand of friendship on the basis of reciprocity and mutual trust and called for collective fight against poverty in the Indian subcontinent devoid of terrorism and drug-trafficking. His emotional speech made Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to say: “Vajpayee Saheb, ab to aap Pakistan mein bhi election jeet sakte haein (Vajpayee now you can win elections even in Pakistan).”
All the setbacks to his dialogue initiatives, including Kargil conflict, hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandhar and terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament, notwithstanding, Vajpayee did not allow the peace process to derail despite serious provocations by the Pakistan army and the ISI.
Perhaps, Mehbooba Mufti wants PM Modi to follow the Vajpayee doctrine to normalize the situation in the Kashmir Valley and lower the tension with Pakistan.
“We must start from where Vajpayee ji left… Modi ji has repeatedly said that he would follow the footsteps of Vajpayee ji, whose policy was of reconciliation, not confrontation,” Mufti said. “There is no option but to talk,” she asserted.
Mufti’s meeting with Modi came in the backdrop of the worsening security situation in the state that has also rattled the ruling PDP-BJP alliance in Jammu and Kashmir. The government headed by Mehbooba Mufti is under mounting attack in the face of fresh spurt in violence in the state.
Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilize stone-pelters in Kashmir to disrupt security forces’ operations at encounter sites
The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir regions has been fragile in the last few months, and the Army-civilian relationship has been in the news for all reasons unsavory. Further, the rise in stone-pelting incidents to thwart counter-insurgency operations in the state has been a cause of worry for the security forces.
Nearly 300 WhatsApp groups were being used to mobilize stone-pelters in Kashmir to disrupt security forces’ operations at encounter sites. However, most of these groups–at least 90 per cent of them–have been successfully shut down in the last three weeks. “We identified the groups and the group administrators, who were called in by police for counseling. We have had a good response to this initiative,” the official said.
- Each of these 300 WhatsApp groups had around 250 members, the police official explained how determined attempts were being made to disrupt the operations of the security forces by mobilising stone-pelting mobs at the encounter sites.
- The government’s policy of suspending internet services appeared to be showing positive results in curbing stone-pelting during encounters and cited the case of the encounter in Budgam district on Saturday. Just a few youth gathered to hurl stones after two militants were gunned down in the encounter.
- This was in sharp contrast to an encounter in Durbugh village in the same area on March 28, when a large number of stone-pelters had assembled and three of them were killed in firing by security forces.
- “With no internet services, the mobilization of mobs has almost become impossible. Earlier, we would see youth from as far as 10 kilometres from the encounter sites joining the protesters to pelt stones at security forces to disrupt the anti-militancy operations,” the official said.
- “That did not happen on Saturday during or after the encounter in the absence of internet on mobiles”.
- Some of the youth listed personal issues like alleged harassment by security forces as reasons for taking to stone-pelting. “Most of them get carried away momentarily,” he said, adding authorities are also looking at further sensitizing the personnel on the need to adopt a humane approach while dealing with the youth.
- “With the internet facility withdrawn, the activity on these social networking groups and other sites like Facebook has come down drastically”.
- Stone-pelting on security forces near the encounter sites has been causing major operational problems for the law enforcing agencies over the past one year. More than half a dozen youth have been killed in such incidents in the first quarter of this year.
- However, people especially those from the business community say they are facing hardships, because of the inability to stay connected online. “Today, the business depends on internet for communication. I am into stock markets and I have had no business since the mobile internet services were withdrawn last week,” Mudasir Bhat said. He said most of the people had done away with landlines and broadband internet services as mobile internet facility gave them more freedom and were also cheaper.
- Ishfaq Ahmad, a contractor by profession, said life, without internet, had come to a standstill. “I had to submit a tender document two days after the internet facility was withdrawn. As the document was to be submitted online, we had to request the concerned department to extend the date till we make arrangements for e-filing,” Ahmad said. He said he has applied for landline connection but the service provider, BSNL, has informed him that it will take time. “BSNL is the only landline services provider here in Kashmir. I hope the government takes steps to ensure that businesses do not suffer because of this internet ban,” he added.
The BJP, however on Sunday, said there were no differences between coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir and the state government was “working well”. “As far as the coalition is concerned, there are no differences among the partners. The PDP-BJP government is working well. Everyone is performing his or her task,” state BJP unit Chief Sat Sharma told reporters. The PDP had earlier accused the BJP of betraying it in the council elections, in which an associate member of the PDP voted in favour of the BJP candidate on assurance of a post.
Jammu Kashmir is reeling under tension also because the PDP lost the seat to National Conference in the April 9 bypoll, in about 3 years after the 2014 General elections. The election to the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency was marred by violence and witnessed the lowest voter turnout. Mufti is, hence, expected to review working of PDP-BJP coalition government in the state and discuss with Modi the roadmap to restore peace in the Valley.
JK CM Mehbooba Mufti wants PM Modi to follow the Vajpayee doctrine to normalize the situation in the Kashmir Valley and lower the tension with Pakistan.
The deteriorating security situation in JK state and reports of strains in the PDP-BJP coalition indicate negative functioning of the BJP – PDP government. Mufti, who attended the Niti Aayog meeting in Delhi, discussed the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir with Modi and seeks a solution from the Centre to address the issues of the people of the Valley; especially after the increase in the incidents of stone-pelting. The rise in these incidents also led to a friction between the PDP and the BJP, which are running the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir.
India wants to continue with its terror programs by using terror goods manufactured in India and abroad to terrorize Kashmiris who still think Pakistan would make them free from colonialist occupational crimes of India and help them make a home for themselves. However, going by the rhetoric and action of Pakistan, it is clear that Pakistanis fight for Kashmir to be added to Azad Kashmir which then be made an integral part of a destabilized Pakistan – and they are indeed not fighting with India for the sake of unfortunate Kashmiris.
Both India and Pakistan are fighting for Kashmir.
Naturally, India is in no mood to resolve the explosive Kashmir issue as it has the upper hand. And world powers like UNSC and NATO have not putting any pressure on India to vacate Jammu Kashmir.