Table of Contents
   About the Author
   The Abdullah Dynasty
   A Journey into History
   Kashmiri Pandits
   The Myth of Negligence
   Mortgaged Media
   Siege by Scandal
   The 'Inhuman' Rights
   The Valley of Oddity
   This Happened to KPs
   Exaggerated Reporting

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri




The Abdullah Dynasty

The vexing problem of Kashmir has not burst upon the scene as a sudden phenomenon but is the outcome of folly after folly committed by the Indian leadership which has a pathetic proclivity to ignore realties and then to seek refuge in clichés in face of trouble. With partition of the country into India and Pakistan in 1947, five hundred odd princely states and principalities, were given the option to choose between India and Pakistan. However, on August 12, the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir offered to execute a Standstill Agreement with India and Pakistan "on all matters . . . pending settlement of details and formal execution of fresh agreement." While Pakistan signed the Standstill Agreement, India wanted the Maharaja or his representative to come to Delhi "for negotiating Standstill Agreement between his State and the Indian dominion".

In spite of signing the agreement, Pakistan imposed an economic blockade, cutting off supplies of essential commodities such as foodgrains, salt, sugar, tea and petrol to the Valley. In October 1947, having succeeded in creating acute scarcity of essential commodities in the Valley, it sent in Afridi - desperadoes and soldiers in plain clothes - with modern weapons to Poonch, Mirpur, Bhimbher and Kotli area in the Jammu region, and Muzaffarabad, Karnah and Uri in the Kashmir region with the intention of annexing the State of Jammu & Kashmir to itself. The Maharaja's forces could not resist the premeditated Pakistani aggression by proxy. Moreover, most of the Muslim soldiers of the Army of J&K State had deserted their ranks to join the aggressors and killed the loyal Hindu soldiers of the State Army.

Recording the melodrama, Prof Bal Raj Madhok - a prominent politician, who was at that time vice-principal of D.A.V. College at Srinagar - wrote in his book, Kashmir: The Storm Centre of the World: "The Pak invasion was to be launched from Abbotabad side on October 21. Srinagar was to be captured by October 25, so that Jinnah may celebrate Id-ul-Zuha at Srinagar. An attempt was also to be made on the life of the Maharaja on October 24, when he was expected to go in a procession to Batmaloo ground for Vijaya Dashmi celebrations. A similar plan had been prepared for Jammu also."

Once the Pakistani invaders reached the outskirts of Srinagar and snuffed out its power supply, the beleaguered Maharaja appealed for military aid from India. He also offered to accede to the Indian Union, which was accepted by the then Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten, on October 27, 1947. However, in his reply to the Maharaja's request, Lord Mountbatten added a rider: "As soon as law and order has been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of State's accession should be settled by a reference to the people..."

Woh Waqt bhi dekha hai
Tareekh ke gaharaiyon men,
Lamhon ne khata ki
Sadion ne saza pai
(Mistake committed at the spur of a moment proved to be a curse and punishment for centuries.)

According to Prof. Madhok the offer of plebiscite was uncalled for, irrelevant to the situation and illegal. He said, "There was no provision in the Instrument of Accession about it. It was outside the ambit of the Act of Indian Independence of the British Parliament. It was never accepted by the Maharaja, who had absolute choice in the matter. Neither was it demanded by Sheikh Abdullah nor by any other leader of the State".

At the time of independence, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and other National Conference leaders were behind the bars, imprisoned for launching the 'Quit Kashmir' movement against the autocratic rule of the Hindu Maharaja. However, on persistent intervention of Mahatma Gandhi, who visited the State from August 1 to 4 in 1947, and other Congress leaders, the Sheikh was released on September 29. The Muslim League leaders, including Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who was the first Governor-General of Pakistan, had consistently opposed the freedom movement of Kashmir, branding it a goonda movement.

The National Conference leadership under the guidance of Sheikh Abdullah decided to defer the issue of accession till the State was granted a responsible government. In the meantime, National Conference leaders - Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq who were at the time of partition in Lahore (they were later to succeed Sheikh Abdullah as Prime Minister and Chief Minister of J & K State following his ouster from power in 1953) - were asked to act as emissaries and contact the Muslim League leaders and Communist supporters of Pakistan to bring about a rapprochement between the Sheikh and Jinnah. However, despite their best efforts, they failed in their mission as Jinnah and his Prime Minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, did not agree to meet Sheikh Abdullah. Jinnah, indeed, had already publicly declared: "Kashmir is going to fall in my lap like a ripe apple in any case."

Jinnah and the Sheikh had strained their relations in June 1944, when the former visited Kashmir. During the visit, he was given public receptions by various political parties of the State. The Sheikh personally welcomed him to the Valley and held long private talks. But on the second day, Jinnah, at a huge congregation at the Jama Masjid in Srinagar, asked the Sheikh to wind up the National Conference and in an intemperate language, accused the Sheikh (who used to be called by his supporters as the Lion of Kashmir) of double-think and double-talk. An infuriated Sheikh lashed out at Jinnah and asked the National Conference workers to see him out of the Valley. Following this incident Jinnah was not able to address any public meeting in Kashmir.

. . . The Sheikh had already sent his family to Indore for safety (at that time). He himself slipped away to Delhi before any action on the Maharaja 's request for help was taken by the Government of India which decided to send its Secretary to the Ministry of States, V.P. Menon, to get first-hand information. He flew to Srinagar on October 25. He soon realized the gravity of the situation. He, therefore, advised the Maharaja to leave immediately for Jammu to be out of reach of Pakistani invaders. This was a timely and correct advice because the aid could be sent from India only after the Maharaja had acceded to India by signing the Instrument of Accession. That he could not have done, had he fallen in the hands of Pakistani invaders. The Maharaja left Srinagar for Jammu that very night and Menon and Mehar Chand Mahajan, the Prime Minister to the Maharaja, flew to New Delhi.

On receiving the report from Menon, the Government of India felt inclined to go to the rescue of the State. Menon flew back to Jammu with the Instrument of Accession. He woke up the Maharaja, who was fast asleep following a night-long drive from Srinagar. Menon has recorded in his book, Integration of States, that before going to sleep the Maharaja had left instructions with his A.D. C. that 'If I (Menon) came back from Delhi, he was not to be disturbed as it would mean that the Government of India had decided to come to his rescue and he should, therefore, be allowed to sleep in peace, but that if I failed to return, that meant everything was lost. In that eventuality, the A.D.C. was to shoot him in his sleep'.

The Maharaja at once signed the Instrument of Accession and also handed over a letter for Lord Mountbatten, the then Governor-General of India, informing him that it was his intention to set up an interim Government at once and to ask Sheikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in the emergency with Mehar Chand Mahajan, his Prime Minister.

Sardar Patel, the then Home Minister in the Government of India, in his anxiety for the State, had been waiting at Delhi airport for the return of Menon. But Nehru and Lord Mountbatten were hesitant. It was not before Mahajan, who was aware that every minute counted if about a lakh of Hindus in Srinagar were to he saved from total annihilation, threatened to proceed to Karachi and surrender Kashmir to Jinnah to secure safety of Hindus that Nehru 's reluctance could be overcome.

Abdullah was interested only in Kashmir Valley. His sole ambition was to become master and arbiter of Kashmir. He neither had any interest not any stake in other parts of that far flung kingdom (including Jammu and Ladakh regions).

His attitude about accession to India or Pakistan was also guided by this one over-riding ambition and consideration. As a realist he knew that his followers were emotionally inclined towards Pakistan. As an Islamic fundamentalist his own intuitive sympathy was for Pakistan. The tenor and tone of his autobiography Atish-i-Chinar point to his aversion for Hindus and the Hindu-majority parts of the State. All through his biography, he has referred to Anantnag, a district headquarters in southern Kashmir as Islamabad.

At the same time, he was equally sceptical about his own future in the case of accession of the State to Pakistan. He himself has given a vivid account of the talks he had with two representatives of Pakistan, Dr. Mohammad Din Tashir and Sheikh Sadiq Hassan, president of the Punjab Muslim League, who visited Srinagar on the eve of the Pak Aggression (by proxy). They tried to persuade him to put his might for accession of the State to Pakistan. Instead of giving a clear reply, he equivocated. He rather wanted a clear assurance for himself before taking any positive decision in favour of accession to Pakistan. Both of them invited the Sheikh to visit Lahore and have direct talks with Jinnah. The Sheikh accepted the invitation.

But before going to Pakistan he had to go to Delhi to preside over the State's People's Conference of which he had been elected the president. He was in Delhi when the Pak attack on Kashmir began on October 21. He addressed a Press conference at Delhi the same day, in which he blamed the Maharaja's Government for repression in Poonch but did not utter a word against Pak raiders who had created insurgency there.

On his own admission the Sheikh was in Delhi on October 25-26 when Mehar Chand Mahajan reached there to plead for immediate acceptance of accession and dispatch of Indian troops to save Srinagar from falling into the hands of invaders. There is no authentic information about the Sheikh's whereabouts from October 22 to 24. Even if he had returned to Kashmir he must have maintained a studied silence.

Abdullah was at the residence of Nehru in New Delhi on October 26 when a crucial meeting about accession was held there. He did not take part in the meeting but overheard what transpired in that from a side room.

Having been apprised of the situation, the Sheikh now desperately favoured the State's accession to India. He pleaded fervently with Jawaharlal Nehru, India's Prime Minister, to accept the request of the Maharaja for accession and to send the Army to Srinagar. He even opposed the 'reference to people' justifiably claiming that he represented the people of the Valley as head of the National Conference - the only political organisation in the State which commanded unquestioned support in the entire Valley irrespective of communal line-ups.

In a justification of the havoc wreaked upon the unfortunate populace of the Valley by the Pathan aggressors, Lamb said that "parties of tribesmen looted the markets in Muzaffarabad, where there were many Hindu and Sikh shopkeepers during this period. They also attacked Christian premises, notably in Baramulla", but added "it might be expected from warriors engaged in what they saw as a jehad (a holy war) . . . Any incidental savagery by these men would pale into insignificance when compared to what had taken place both in Punjab and Jammu at the time of the partition (with as many as 160,00,000 refugees and 5,00,000 killed in communal violence). There can be no doubt that for those in the way, Pathans on the warpath is bad news . . . The significance of the Pathan atrocities is to be found less in their alleged magnitude than in the great publicity given to the time and ever since.

"The Indian 1948 White Paper concentrates on the horrors of the attack on Baramulla, on the road a few miles to the west of Srinagar. Other atrocity stories reported in the White Paper in fact relate to later atrocities in the war and other sectors; and they have no bearing upon the nature of the initial tribal advance towards Srinagar from Domel. Even in Baramulla, according to the White Paper, accounts of what happened vary. One source claims that 3,000 inhabitants were killed, many of them Hindus.

"An American journalist, Robert Trumbull, reporting for The New York Times from Baramulla on Nov. 10, 1947, two weeks after the attack, reported that only '1,000 were left of a normal population of about 14,000'. This has been interpreted by Indian writers to mean that up to 13,000 people were killed in Baramulla. In fact, of course, it meant no more than that the majority of the town's people had gone away, as one would expect in the circumstances. If one applied the refugee-killed ratio of partition to Trumbull's Baramulla statistics, one would come up with something like 400 killed, a reasonable figure in the light of other sources.

"Two facts should be remembered when considering any account of the tribal operation of October 1947. First - the Indian side committed its share of atrocities in the process of repelling the 'invaders'. This is well enough documented, albeit rarely mentioned in the literature of the Kashmir dispute. Second - the Kashmiri casualties suffered in 1947 were certainly far less than those which have been inflicted upon the inhabitants of the Valley of Kashmir by the Indian security forces since 1989."(Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy 1846-1990, Alastair Lamb p. 143-144)

What strange parallels has Lamb drawn. He justifies the savagery of the Pathans. And, he does not make clear on whom the Indian side committed its share of atrocities in the process of repelling the invaders.

There is not a shred of doubt that the tribals' invasion on Kashmir and Jammu was engineered by Pakistan which could not send its Army for the operation as it was then under the command of a British officer. In June, 1947 began in Poonch, an area in the Jammu region, a no-tax campaign which rapidly developed into a secessionist movement. This was greatly reinforced by a crisis throughout most of Poonch when on August 14 and 15 people tried to unfurl the Pakistani flag, held public demonstrations and celebrate the 'Pakistan Day', in defiance of the Maharaja's orders.

In a justification of the rebel action, Lamb purported that the Kashmir Day had been observed on August 14 since 1931, while the fact is that the Kashmir Day is observed on July 13. Martial law was imposed. The Maharaja's Government, well aware of the danger brewing in Poonch, had already ordered all Muslims in the State (Jagir) to hand over their firearms and ammunition to the authorities. In reaction, fresh supplies of weapons were sought from across the frontier. By the beginning of September, bands of Poonch-men rose up in arms, equipped with weapons obtained from Pakistan. They were also being joined by small groups of volunteers from across the west bank of the Jhelum. By this time, others in authority in Pakistan had begun to take an active, though claimed to be unofficial, interest in the Poonch revolt. A Pakistani soldier, Colonel Akhtar Khan - later to become a senior commander in the second Indo-Pakistan war over Kashmir in 1965 under the pseudonym 'General Tariq' - records a meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaqat Ali Khan, and a number of other Pakistani ruling elites, including the Finance Minister, Ghulam Mohammad, and the Governor of West Punjab Government, Sardar Shaukat Hyal Khan, during which practical steps to aid the rebels were considered.

However, Lamb concludes that the evidence tends to confirm that Jinnah was kept entirely isolated from such discussions until mid-September though elsewhere in the same book he writes that K.P.S. Menon, the Indian Ambassador to China, was aware of these developments and informed his Government. When even Menon in Peking was aware, how could Jinnah, the head of Pakistan, be unaware? In the meantime, Pakistan resorted to an economic blockade of Kashmir Valley, proffering a lame excuse for the short supply of essential commodities - any fall in the supplies was probably due to such factors as the reluctance of lorry drivers to cross border tracts between J & K State and Pakistan which were then ravaged by communal violence. Pakistan sent Major (later Colonel) A. S. B. Shah (at that time Joint Secretary in the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs which was also responsible for matters relating to the State of J & K) to discuss the improvement in supply routes from Pakistan. Instead, Shah brought with him a blank Instrument of Accession to Pakistan which he hoped the Maharaja would fill up and append his signature to.

On September 29, Sheikh Abdullah was released from detention. A few days later other National Conference leaders also gained their freedom. The Instrument of Accession was signed by the Maharaja on October 26 and the Indian troops followed the next day to drive out the invaders from J & K. The Indian Constitution did not justify any rider such as reference of accession to the people at a later stage in an Instrument of Accession. India referred the issue to the United Nations on whose intervention both the forces ceased firing and a cease-fire line, to be supervised by UN observers, was agreed upon between India and Pakistan.

Abdullah took over as the Chief Emergency Officer of the State as the Instrument of Accession was signed. He continued in that office till March 25, 1948 when under the oath of loyalty to India he became the Prime Minister with Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq, Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg, Shyam Lal Saraf, Girdhari Lal Dogra, Sardar Budh Singh and Colonel Pir Mohammad Khan comprising the Cabinet.

No sooner did the Indian Army clear large portions of the State of the Pak invaders and cease-fire was agreed to (in January 1949), than the Sheikh started demanding the Maharaja's ouster and a special status for Kashmir in the name of 'Muslims of the Valley' or 'The Muslim character of the State'. He succeeded in extracting a number of concessions such as a separate constitution and a separate flag for the State, besides different nomenclatures for its head of the State and head of the Government. The head of the State was to be known as Sadr-i-Riyasat, while the head of the Government was to be called Prime Minister. The Indian Government even agreed to incorporate a special provision - Article 370 - in the Constitution in the name of safeguarding the xenophobic demands of the Sheikh.

In a triumphant mood, the Sheikh ordered elections for a Constituent Assembly to frame a constitution for the State. Overplaying his cards, he got 73 members elected unopposed to the Assembly and engineered the defeat of two opposition candidates from the Jammu region. This lead to a virtual one party rule in the State which further alienated the residents of the Jammu region.

Resentful of being completely ignored and sidelined as well as misgoverned, the people of Jammu launched a strong agitation against the J&K Government and Congress policies, under the leadership of Pandit Prem Nath Dogra, a respected leader of the region. Raising the slogan of "Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan" (one constitution, one Prime Minister and one flag), the Praja Parishad - the organisation that spearheaded the agitation - called for the extension of all provisions of the Constitution of India to the State. Sheikh Abdullah's Government came down heavily on the agitation which resulted in the martyrdom of 40 Praja Parishad activists. The Sheikh dubbed the agitators as communal even though a large number of Muslims from the Jammu region had participated in it.

In Kashmir, too, the National Conference Government was accused of corruption and maladministration by a large section of its own workers and leaders. Disenchantment soon set in because of the Sheikh's strong-arm methods of governance, in utter disregard of democratic norms and values. As discontentment started to simmer, the Sheikh's popularity as well as his political base began to erode fast.

Unable to stem the rot in the State, which was of his own creation despite the unquestioned love and affection accorded to him by the people in the Valley, Sheikh Abdullah dug up the buried issue of the State's accession to India. He adopted a new stance of denigrating India and began to convey to Kashmiri Muslims that their woes were not because of misrule or corruption but due to the accession to India.

Meanwhile, the tragic death of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherji, founder president of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, who was under detention in Kashmir, rocked not only Kashmir but also the whole of India. He had been detained for entering the State without a permit which every Indian, living outside the State, was required to obtain. He died in detention under mysterious circumstances. The permit system was subsequently withdrawn, but only after the loss.

Some leaders of the National Conference, including Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad - who was the Deputy Prime Minister in the Sheikh's Government - G.M. Sadiq, Maulana Sayeed and D.P. Dhar resented the shifting stance of the Sheikh and addressed public meetings and party workers, opposing the diabolical turn in the stand of the Sheikh. A number of Congress leaders visited Srinagar to persuade Sheikh Abdullah but their attempts proved in vain. In his arrogance the Sheikh went as far as insulting Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, India's Education Minister, publicly at an Idgah gathering in Srinagar. The Sheikh even held meetings with foreign diplomats and dignitaries such as U. S. Ambassadors to India - Henderson and Adlai Stevenson. Such developments caused anxiety in the minds of the people. Even the Communist Party of India, which was in favour of accession of Kashmir to Pakistan in 1947, flayed the Sheikh for playing into the hands of 'imperialist' powers. Some people demanded action against the Sheikh for his irresponsible acts and demanded his ouster. Throughout June and July 1953, the Sheikh continued to fulminate against the Centre and made attempts to arouse anti-Delhi sentiments, refusing even to meet India's Prime Minister. He was under the impression that the Government of India would once again succumb to his pressure tactics and accept his demands, however unreasonable they might have been.

In the grave situation that had arisen, the Sadr-i-Riyasat (as the Governor in that State was called) and the Union Government in consultation with some prominent National Conference leaders, decided to dismiss Sheikh Abdullah and incarcerate him for secessionist activities.

The Sheikh was succeeded by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad as the Prime Minister of the State. He was welcomed as the right choice. He released all political prisoners put behind the bars by the Sheikh. His very first declaration was the abolition of levy on peasants. He made education till University free. He introduced subsidy on food and promised all-round development of the State. It was during his time that planning was introduced in the State and Central loans and assistance sought for economic development. He kept his word as far as the development was concerned. A singular achievement during his regime was the construction of the Banihal Tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway which made it an all-weather national highway and reduced the distance between the two major cities of the State.

But with the development works came corruption which infected every walk of life, extending patronage to vested interests. Corruption became rampant as political supporters were pampered and opponents allured into silence with money. A number of centres of extra-constitutional powers developed and some even emerged as law unto themselves to browbeat their opponents. While the Sheikh resorted to political blackmail, Bakshi came to be known as a financial blackmailer, asking the Indian Government to dish out as much money as possible in the name of keeping Kashmiri Muslims on the right side.

Meanwhile, the Plebiscite Front came on the scene. It was an organisation of the supporters of the Sheikh. It was formed in 1954 by Mirza Afzal Beg, a comrade-in-arms of the Sheikh.

In 1957, G.M. Sadiq, Mir Qasim and G.L. Dogra, along with their Left-leaning supporters, became disillusioned with the Bakshi and opposed his method of governance, rampant corruption and strong-arm tactics of some of his supporters. In October, they resigned from the National Conference and formed a new political party known as the Democratic National Conference (DNC) which drew a number of young men into its fold. The formation of the DNC resulted in a catharsis of pent-up feelings. It was for the first time that a pro-India opposition in the Valley was able to galvanise people on issues other than plebiscite.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdullah was released from prison in January 1958, but he continued to harbour the dream of an Independent Kashmir. He did not relent from his anti-Delhi stand Attacking India - while having a good word for Pakistan - in an interview to the Blitz, a weekly newspaper, he said that his release was caused by international pressure on India. In his speeches at Srinagar later, he lashed out at Bakshi for being ' unfaithful ' and assailed the DNC and its leaders as 'Indian agents' and 'greater enemies' of Kashmir. He was again arrested and charged along with his comrades with subversion and sedition against the State.

In about two years, the enthusiasm of some of the DNC leaders began to wane and they rejoined the Bakshi camp. Nehru and other Congress leaders too, persuaded the DNC leaders to dissolve the party and troop back to the National Conference. Thus an opportunity was lost to maintain a platform for the pro-India elements who were opposed to the National Conference. Such a forum could have acted as a safety valve by letting people ventilate their grievances and satisfy their democratic urges.

In 1963, under the Kamraj Plan, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was made to resign as the Prime Minister of J & K. Bakshi got Shamsuddin, one of his staunch supporters, elected in his place against the wishes of the Congress central leaders. He wished to indulge in backseat driving. Shamsuddin, however, could survive only for ninety-nine days in the wake of unrest following the theft of the holy relic from the Hazratbal shrine. The crisis was defused only after the restoration of the relic and its verification by religious leaders. The agitation had turned against the Bakshi.

The Congress leaders asked G.M. Sadiq to take over the reins of Government. Sadiq came with his new policy of liberalisation, promising democratic rights and seeking to win over volatile anti-India elements through discussion and debate. Attempts were even made not to discriminate against the children of the Plebiscite Front leaders and workers in matters of admission to higher educational institutions and Government recruitment. A formula was devised for admission in educational institutions and professional courses on a majority-minority basis - the ratio being 70 per cent for Muslims and 30 per cent for non-Muslims. Though such an approach helped to some extent in blunting the edge of the underground anti-India movement and in neutralizing the youth who were provided with jobs, it encouraged a large section of the separatists to come to the fore. Demonstrations against India on an unprecedented scale became the order of the day and for the first time the slogan - 'Indian dogs go back', was raised with impunity. Sadiq, too, resorted to the old stratagem of getting his party candidates elected unopposed in a bid to win the elections.

However, Sadiq took a number of measures to bring the State into the national mainstream. He was instrumental in getting the State constitution amended to have the nomenclature of the Head of the State changed to Governor from Sadr-i-Riyasat and that of the Head of the Government to Chief Minister (Wazir-e-Ala) from Prime Minister (Wazir-e-Azam). The Governor was now to be appointed by the President of India instead of being elected by the State Legislature. Further, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court was extended to the State and several sections of the Indian Constitution were made applicable to it. The National Conference was merged with the Indian National Congress. Such steps helped in strengthening the political integration.

Sadiq died in 1971, a few days before the conclusion of the third Indo-Pak war and Syed Mir Qasim was sworn in as the Chief Minister. Although Qasim was secular yet during his time overt and covert support to the rabid communal organisations such as Jamaat-e-Islami, increased with the result that the Jamaat could get five of its members elected to the State Assembly in 1972. Anti-India forces gained in strength and the demand for plebiscite was raised with renewed fervour and with greater vehemence and frequency.

Discounting this impression, Mir Qasim wrote: "The Jamaat-e-Islami was creating doubts about the finality of Kashmir's accession to India. I told its leaders that this party would not be allowed to fight the elections because it had not accepted the accession. But they said that the impression was not correct. The Jamaat candidates would take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution of India as well as of Jammu & Kashmir.

"I also consulted Mrs. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, on the telephone on the question of debarring the Jamaat from the elections. Mrs. Gandhi said, no; it would create a difficult situation for her in the rest of the country where the Hindu communal bodies like the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS), too, would have to be disqualified for elections. She told me she was already under pressure to ban the RSS. I said she could ban both the RSS and the Jamaat and in Kashmir I would do the same. She said, no.

"Still, I called the Jamaat leaders to tell them that their nomination papers would be rejected because they did not believe in the accession of Kashmir to India. But they stated that while filing the nomination forms they would take the oath of loyalty to the Indian as well as J&K constitutions. Thus they could take part in elections.

"They won a few seats and my detractors accused me of having connived with the Jamaat. But I had not. We were not responsible in any way for their electoral gains. Among the factors which favoured the Jamaat were attempts within the Congress to let down some Congress candidates at the elections.

"The Congress won by a big majority conceding 17 seats to the Opposition - the largest number the Opposition had so far got in the Kashmir Assembly. Out of 74 seats, the Congress won 57, the Jamaat 5, the Jan Sangh 3, and Independents 9. A few Independents later joined the Congress."

In 1972, negotiations were initiated with Sheikh Abdullah and his colleague Mirza Afzal Beg. Mir Qasim claims to have helped the Sheikh and the Centre in signing the Kashmir Accord which saw the return of the Sheikh as the Chief Minister in February 1975.

Sheikh Abdullah was chosen as the leader of the House as Mir Qasim resigned to pave the way for him. However, he was not elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party. Even the Sheikh did not want it. The Congress merely extended its support to him.

Prior to it, Sheikh had spurned all efforts at reconciliation. But now that his arch foes, Bakshi and Sadiq, were dead. (He had asked the people to dig up Bakshi's grave and socially boycott latter's supporters and sympathisers. It is a different matter that after the death of Sheikh Abdullah, terrorists wanted to dig up the Sheikh's grave at Hazratbal and a round-the clock vigil was kept to prevent it.) But with Pakistan's defeat in the 1971 war and the emergence of Bangladesh, the Sheikh realized that he had no alternative left but to come to terms with reality and accept what the accord offered him.

By accepting the accord, the Sheikh had neither become a patriot overnight nor had he forgotten the past and forgiven his detractors. But being in power he could create difficulties for the Centre and this he did. His first act was to make some Muslim legislators of the Congress to defect to his side. Next, he cut off the subsidy given by the Centre on rations, asking people to tighten their belts rather than eat food at subsidised rates. He also reverted to his old game of double talk - criticising India in front of his Kashmiri audiences and being his sweet reasonable self while speaking to Indian newsmen or addressing audiences outside the Valley.

However, in the 1977 elections which have been described as fair and free by all observers, Sheikh Abdullah refused to have an alliance with the Congress. He had revived the National Conference. The Janata Party, which had come to power at the Centre replacing Indira Gandhi, and the Congress, too fought the elections. The Sheikh fought these elections on the issues of opening the Jhelum Valley road to Rawalpindi, assuring the withdrawal of the Indian Army from Kashmir and defeating "political parties of India". He revived the old Sher-Bakra feud between his supporters and those of Maulvi Farooq, the Mirwaiz of Kashmir.

The supporters of the Sheikh were described as Sher (Lion), while those of Mirwaiz used to be called Bakra (goat). After winning the elections, the toughs of the National Conference gave a hard time to the Janata Party supporters. Bakras had to flee their homes and seek shelter in safer places to escape the wrath of the furious enthusiasts of the National Conference. As for the Congress workers, the choicest epithets of 'vermin, insects, worms crawling in the drains' were reserved for them.

During the second phase of the Sheikh's rule (1977-'82) - which was the most peaceful period - obscurantist forces were encouraged. The administration was Islamised as far as possible. Friday prayers were offered in offices; cinema shows on Friday were cancelled during Namaz times. Every conscious effort was made to undermine the authority of the Indian union. Income-tax officials, who came to inquire into cases of tax evasion by some big business houses in Kashmir, were not only denied police assistance, but were also physically manhandled by violent mobs organised by the goons of the ruling National Conference. IAS officials from outside the State were given insignificant postings, barring a few who did their biddings. Jamaat-e-Islami schools were not taken over as the Sheikh had promised earlier. On the other hand, lots of funds started pouring in from Pakistan and Arab countries for the Jamaat and its front organisations as well as the Jamaat-Ahle-Hadis.

In March 1980, the Jamaat-e-Islami played host to a delegation from Medina University in Saudi Arabia. The delegation was lavishly entertained by the Sheikh as well . Later, a member of the delegation, Professor Abdul Samad, felt encouraged to say at an open meeting al Hotel Lal Rukh (a State Government-owned hotel at Srinagar), "For an Islamic revolution we have to prepare the people individually and collectively. To achieve it we have to make sacrifices." In September the same year, the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami of Pak-occupied Kashmir - Maulana Abdullah Bari - paid a visit to Kashmir and publicly proclaimed that Kashmiris were not a party to the Simla Agreement. It seemed that the Maulana had come to brief his counterpart in Kashmir on General Zia's "Operation Topac". However, on the advice of the Central Government, he was asked to leave the Valley within 24 hours.

Under a pretext or another a number of new police battalions were raised. Some of these battalions recruited the Jamaat activists and even persons believed to be from across the Line of Control.

As an act of political expediency, the Sheikh resorted to Islamisation to prove himself as a true Muslim to the Kashmiri Muslims. The Government as well as Muslim Auqaf funds were spent on building impressive mosques and beautifying areas surrounding them. Property worth crores of rupees was built on Government land. The names of hundreds of Kashmiri villages and towns were changed so as to obliterate the traces of history and culture. Thus, the Sheikh helped, directly or indirectly, forces inimical to India and its secular character. He spent his last years in power to make India a suspect in the eyes of Kashmiri Muslims. That seems to be one of the reasons why he described all Kashmiri Pandits as agents of Intellegence Bureau (IB) in his autobiography Aatish-e-chinar and castigated Indian secularism and Congress leaders. Incidentally, the book was awarded the Sahitya Akademy Award.

Sheikh Abdullah no longer trusted his people. He even fell out with his alter ego, Mirza Afzal Beg. He did not have any confidence even in his son-in-law, G. M. Shah, who remained with him through thick and thin. At the fag end of his life, he declared his son, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, as his heir and appointed him the president of the National Conference. Addressing a public meeting to mark the occasion, he said, "I trust him and request you too to help him in doing the job. Like me, he would not betray your trust. What I have not been able to achieve, he will." Dr. Farooq adopted the style of his father. In 1984 following his ouster from power at the hands of his brother-in-law G. M. Shah, he did not hesitate in seeking the assistance from subversives and secessionists.

In September 1982, Sheikh Abdullah died and Dr. Farooq was made the Chief Minister ignoring the claims of the seniors in the party and even without taking the party legislators in confidence. Everything undemocratic was done - silently and swiftly - with the blessings of Indira Gandhi, Farooq being close to her son Rajiv.

Dr. Farooq's political education had started in U.K. where he came into contact with a JKLF group that had close links with the British secret agencies. He was in touch with the JKLF leader Amanullah Khan in London on the arrival of the latter, who fled from Pakistan to evade arrest. During his visit to Pakistan in 1973, Dr. Farooq went to Pak-occupied Kashmir and took an oath to 'liberate' Kashmir in a ceremony organised by the JKLF. He also administered such an oath to a number of other young men present there. When Sheikh Abdullah had been accorded a reception in Kashmir after his return to power, Dr. Farooq too had joined the procession along with a number of his JKLF friends whom he had brought all the way from Britain and raised a new slogan 'Chyon Desh, Myon Desh - Kashur Desh, Kashur Desh' (Your country, my country - Kashmir, Kashmir.)

As soon as he assumed office with the blessings of the Congress, he denounced his father's ministerial colleagues at a public meeting right in their presence and asked for the people's mandate to have a new team of 'honest and trustworthy' ministers. Fed up with corruption, people shouted the ministers down and made them run for their lives. Such freak characteristics in the personality of Dr. Farooq continued to reflect throughout his political career.

He told the gathering that he would never compromise 'the dignity and honour' of Kashmiris, even if it meant 'fighting the mighty India'. Within three months of coming to power, he showed his true colours and started taking anti-Congress stance by aligning with the national opposition parties as a tactical move to make his position comfortable. He allowed his State to become a backyard of Punjab terrorists who poured in in large numbers.

He accused India of fomenting communal trouble and declared that Kashmiri Muslims were not safe in India. Before Indian political leaders and mediamen, he always tried to present himself as an Indian patriot hounded by Indira Gandhi and her Congress party; while in Kashmir, he joined hands with the arch rival of the Abdullah family - Maulvi Farooq - and entered into a pact called as the "Double Farooq" Accord.

As the 1983 Assembly elections drew near, he started fulminating against India in full swing and the Centre became a whipping boy, for every ill in the Valley, at his hands. Addressing election meetings he said, "We are fighting the Congress. Its defeat will mean the defeat of the Central power that wants to subjugate Kashmiris." As usual, barring the solitary exception of 1977, elections in Kashmir were rigged. Communal passions were aroused to a frenzy. Dr. Farooq's party won most of the predominantly Muslim constituencies on an anti-India and anti- Hindu platform, while the Congress was successful in most of the Jammu areas by playing the Hindu card.

In spite of his gimmicks, Dr. Farooq failed to create any impact as an administrator, spending most of his time in pleasure pursuits. His cavalier attitude and frivolous manner cost him his seat, as Mrs. Gandhi eased him out by engineering defections with the help of G.M. Shah. Supported by the Congress, the defectors formed a new Government in July 1984, though Governor Jagmohan had recommended the dissolution of the State Assembly and imposition of the Governor's rule.

Shah's installation as Chief Minister was another inglorious chapter in the political history of Kashmir. No wonder, it proved costly for India. Even people opposed to Dr. Farooq were not happy with Shah and his ways. During his rule, the State slumped into chaos and confusion. Bomb blasts and subversion became the order of the day and normal life frequently came to a standstill due to frequent imposition of curfew . It is believed that it was the handiwork of the JKLF activists, at the instigation of Dr. Farooq, to queer the pitch for Shah.

The installation of the Shah Government. which was a puppet in the hands of the Congress (I), resulted in the growth of fundamentalist forces and separatist tendencies besides evolution of the 'Ummet-e-Islamia' - comprising Jamaat, Shia Rabita (contact) committee, the Islamic Study circle, Jamiat-e-Tulba and certain segments of the Jamaat-Ahle-Hadis .

In February 1986, riots broke out in southern Kashmir, particularly in Anantnag district, against the minuscule minority of Kashmiri Pandits. Fundamentalists went on a spree of loot and arson and desecration of temples to terrorise the helpless Pandit community. Barring a handful of old nationalist Muslims, none including the administration, came to the rescue of the victims. Any stern action against the then Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Anantnag district was opposed by some religious hot-heads and political extremists. The development provided an excuse to the Congress (I) to withdraw support to the Shah Government. Shah fell as he could hold the office only as long as the Congress (I) desired. Though arrogant he was an able administrator.

Throughout this period when Dr. Farooq was out of power, he successfully feigned an injured innocence and tried to gain the sympathy of the national opposition leaders and the media. Like his father he had two faces to show the people. His anti-India face was meant for his supporters, while he successfully projected himself as a well-wisher of India to his friends in the opposition as well as in the Congress.

The Governor's rule came as a boon to the people who were fed up with corruption and misgovernance. With the Governor in-charge, things started moving in Kashmir. People's grievances got redressed without delay and corruption eliminated to a large extent. The Governor attempted to make the officials responsible for their jobs in order to solve the problems faced by the common man. Problems such as scarcity of water and shortage of power - that had been plaguing the State for years - were remedied. In a short period of about six months, Jagmohan captured the hearts of the Kashmiri people who were impressed by his administrative acumen. Yet, there were some persons - politicians, power-brokers, black-marketeers, corrupt officials, drug-peddlers and exploiters of all hues - who were not happy with him. These people started ganging up and spreading canards against him. Some called him 'a Muslim baiter' as his axe in the first take fell on corrupt Hindu officials and some described him as a 'Hindu chauvinist who did a lot of work for the Vaishno Devi shrine in the Jammu region, while some recollected his Turkman Gate episode at Delhi during the Emergency. These allegations, however, made little dent in the public opinion as people for the first time saw things being done. Even Dr. Farooq, who was once again sworn in as the Chief Minister following Farooq-Rajiv Accord, said at the time of the oath-taking ceremony, "Governor Sahib, we would need you very badly. It is indeed, amazing that such remarkable work could be done by you in a short time through an imbecile and faction-ridden bureaucracy. Please do not hesitate to pull my ears if I go wrong. If today three ballot boxes are kept - one for the National Conference, one for the Congress and one for you, your ballot box would be full, while the other two would be empty."

In November 1986, the Governor's rule was brought to an end. Dr. Farooq was brought back as the Chief Minister following an accord between Rajiv Gandhi and Dr. Farooq Abdullah - the third between the Nehru dynasty and the Abdullahs. The Congress (I) supported Dr. Farooq. The Legislative Assembly which had been kept suspended, was dissolved and fresh elections were scheduled for March 23, 1987.

All the political parties, including a large number of political groups, were suddenly activated. On one side there was the partnership and coalition of the National Conference and the Congress (I) and on the other, a combination of parties - such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Ummet e-Islamia led by Qazi Nisar and other smaller groups - primarily united by the cementing force of Islam. Maulvi Abbas Ansari was the convenor of this group, known as the Muslim United Front (MUF). People's Conference of A.G. Lone and the Awami Action Committee of Maulvi Farooq were also in the fray but they had not joined the MUF. However, they subscribed to Islamic fundamentalism. The parties in the MUF wanted to win the elections as a united group and, therefore, they began electioneering with a joint manifesto and a common election symbol. The approach of the MUF and its manifesto attracted a lot of adherents and fellow travellers amongst Muslim leaders and intellectuals in the Valley. The MUF ideology was discussed in every Muslim home and the party stalwarts made it known that the MUF victory, in fact, was the victory for Islam.

Every nook and corner was flooded with green flags of the MUF. The sight of the crescent and the star on the green flags of the MUF made people literally dance with joy. The people were told that with the victory of the MUF the entire face of the State would change. There would be prosperity and abundance of everything, including industries, jobs and work for all. The other promises which made people fall instantly for the MUF, related to the eradication of corruption, profiteering, hoarding and black-marketing. Those found guilty of such nefarious acts would be dealt with severely. People sincerely believed that this would happen because under Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic rule) such guilty persons may lose their limbs as punishment. People were indeed sick of these evils in society.

Instead of fighting with the MUF politically, the National Conference-Congress (I) combine resorted to the old game of rigging the elections. It was not exposed that S. A. S. Geelani, a top leader of the MUF, had his son admitted in MBBS course from the Chief Minister's quota and that the son of A. G. Lone, another pro-secessionist leader, started a lucrative business at New Delhi. Instead, the National Conference workers boasted that they would win the elections anyhow, whether people voted for them or not. Dr. Farooq was jittery from the very beginning.

Had the MUF won a few seats, particularly from the urban areas, there would not have been a major change in Kashmiri politics. Even leaders of the MUF expected to win not more than 10 seats. Rigging - that was the highlight of the 1987 elections - agitated MUF workers. And more so with the inordinate delay in the announcement of results of Amira Kadal, Shopian and Bijbehara constituencies which eventually were bagged by the National Conference. In some cases in Srinagar city, MUF workers, too, resorted to booth-capturing and rigging.

The MUF gained tremendous public sympathy for their cause - more than what it could have achieved by winning a handful of legitimate seats.

Barring a solitary exception of the 1977 Assembly elections, rigging punctuated every election in the State, particularly the Valley. However, in 1987, fundamentalists got an opportunity on a platter to whip up anti-Indian feelings. Had the 1987 elections been fair, secessionists would have invented another reason to advance their nefarious designs. The people surmised that Rajiv Gandhi and Dr. Farooq deliberately took away their right to vote and betrayed them by massive rigging. The MUF came in for favourable mention in every home, in every office and in every lane and bylane of Kashmir. People began to perceive bad administration, rigged elections, etc. as a consequence of Kashmir's accession to India.

The stage-managed defeat of some of the MUF candidates paved the way for onset of terrorism in the Valley. Out of 76, the National Conference (Farooq) won 36 seats, the Congress (I) in alliance with the National Conference 24, the MUF 4, the BJP 2 and Independents 4. Elections for three constituencies were postponed. The situation continued to drift further as no effective measures were taken.

In his monthly report to the President of India for February 1989, Governor Jagmohan, mentioned: "The call given by subversive elements for observing January 26 as a Black Day was fully responded and the hartal (strike) was total. The communal, parochial and subversive elements are becoming more active and the administration is getting more isolated. Neither the National Conference nor the Congress (I) is showing any inclination to face the challenge at the political level. A large amount of arms and ammunition brought from across the border has also yet to be recovered. The local intelligence network, as reported earlier, is not proving equal to the occasion. Moreover, the subversive elements enjoy overt as well as covert support of a sizeable section of the politicians, particularly those belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami, the People's Conference, the People's League and the Mahaz-e-Azadi."

In March,1989, Jagmohan, inter alia, recorded: "The gathering storm on the political horizon of the State to which reference has been made in my earlier reports has burst in the Valley. My worst apprehensions are coming true. The situation is fast deteriorating. It has almost reached a point of no return. During the period under report, there has been large-scale violence, arson, firing, hartal, casualties and what not."

In a letter to the Prime Minister next month, Jagmohan wrote; "The things have truly fallen apart. Talking of the Irish crisis, British Prime Minister Disraeli had once said, 'It is potatoes one day and the Pope next'. Similar is the present position in Kashmir. Yesterday, it was 'Maqbool Butt'; today it is 'Satanic Verses'; tomorrow it will be the 'repression day'; and day after, it will be something else.

"The Chief Minister (Dr. Farooq) stands isolated. He has already fallen politically as well as administratively; perhaps, only constitutional rites remain to be performed. His clutches are too soiled and rickety to support him. Personal aberrations have also eroded his public standing.

"The situation calls for effective intervention. Today may be timely; tomorrow may be too late."

In another letter to the Prime Minister in May, Jagmohan stated: "From May 8 to 13, there have been 14 bomb blasts and six cases of firing and cross-firing (exchange of fire). Four persons died and about 20 were injured. A tourist bus proceeding from Gulmarg to Srinagar was fired upon and four tourists were injured. The current administrative and political structure has once again proved unequal to the task. During the hartal period, no worthwhile activity has been visible at the political front to counter the move of subversionists is swelling their ranks, and the animosity is being diverted against the Central authorities. I have indicated my anxiety to the Chief Minister."

In his monthly report for May to the President of India, Jagmohan had, inter alia, indicated: "The youth is sullen and angry. It is taking refuge under religion whose appeal helps it to gain sympathy and support of the common folk. The main secessionist outfit, the J&K Liberation Front has already announced setting up of ten hit squads. It has also claimed support of the Islamic Jamhuri Itihad (IJI) of Pakistan. It has announced in a handout that 'Al Jehad' hit squad will be headed by Javed Ahmed Mir, 'Humza' squad by Abdul Ghaffar, 'Victory Commandos' by Muzaffar Shah, 'Aizaz Jan baz Commando Force' by Ghulam Hasan Lone, 'Shaheed Zia Tigers' by Mohammad Asraf, 'Al Fateh squad' by Javed Ahmed, 'Sada-i-Janbaz' commando force by Abdul Hamid, 'Al Maqbool' by Safed Rasool Aqadhan and 'Pak Commando' force by Roofi Islam."

Instead of curbing such anti-national activities, Dr. Farooq's Government, in an attempt to buy peace with the subverters released as many as 70 hard-core terrorists between July and December 1989. Here is the 'roll-call of honour' in a few typical cases:

Mohammad Afzal Sheikh, son of Khazar Mohammad, resident of Trehgam - a detenue under the Public Safety Act. He crossed over to Pakistan clandestinely and, stayed in the house of his brother-in-law, namely Ghulam Mohmmad Wani, settled in Pak-occupied-Kashmir at Athmuqam. He went to Kachi Ghari, Peshawar, Pakistan for training. In Muzaffarabad (PoK) he met Javed Maqbool Butt and Showkat Maqbool Butt, sons of late Maqbool Butt with the help of Amanullah Khan, chairman of the JKLF. He also came across Abdul Ahad Waza who is one of the top leaders of the JKLF. He took an oath of allegiance at Muzaffarabad and filled up a form in which he affixed a thumb impression with his blood. He was responsible for causing two bomb blasts causing damages to buses. His detention was confirmed by the Advisory Board, headed by the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court.

Mohammad Ayub Najar found with terrorists owing allegiance to the JKLF and other PoK based organisations, had opened fire at Jama Masjid on August 25, 1989. He was detained under the Public Safety Act. The Advisory Board confirmed his detention. As a result of the meeting held on December 8, the date on which Dr. Rubayya Sayeed was kidnapped, it was decided in the office chamber of the then Agriculture Minister Mohammad Shafi (Uri) that the detenus be released and accordingly he was released in December along with 45 other detenus.

These persons were highly motivated terrorists and were trained in handling weapons and ammunition; they had contacts at the highest level in PoK, and they knew all the devious routes of going to and returning from Pakistan. Here were the persons who had the practical experience of all aspects of terrorism - training, border-crossing and smuggling weapons from Pakistan into Kashmir. Their detention was approved by the three member Advisory Board, headed by the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court. But yet, they were released when terrorism in the State was attaining its peak. Was it not a conspiracy, foolhardiness or a subtle way of keeping the feet in both the camps by the then rulers? The net result is for every one to see - virtual rule of the gun and gruesome killings of the innocents.

The political developments in Kashmir in the post-Independence period bear testimony to the fact that whenever the National Conference found its political hold weakening due to the non-performance or misperformance, it always adopted anti-Centre, pro-Pak or pro-independence stance. Even the all India services were openly referred to as the East India Company by the National Conference workers.

In fact, Dr. Farooq's Government had abdicated its responsibility much before December 1989 and various terrorist outfits had taken control of the Valley. None recall the funds, pumped in by the Centre to keep the people in the State happy, while every failure was conveniently attributed to the Central Government. Such accusations for all political ills in the State were not always unfair as the Centre also lacked a consistent policy on Kashmir. Moreover, the Centre under every Congress rule systematically liquidated secular, democratic and progressive forces and individuals in the Valley. The politicians in the State, irrespective of their hues, gathered an impression over the years that New Delhi understands only two languages - the language of violence and the language of pro-Pakistan demonstrations.

It is recalled by observers that even Kashmiri Pandits had to raise 'hail Pakistan' and 'Long live President Ayub' slogans in the mid-sixties during the regime of G.M. Sadiq when their 25-day-long agitation on the 'abduction' of Parmeshwari Handoo, a Kashmiri Pandit girl with a Muslim boy and her conversion to Islam later, failed to evoke any response from the State Government. Even the Station House Officer of the concerned police station cared to meet the agitators only after pro-Pakistan slogans were raised by them. Not only this but the then Union Home Minister Y.B. Chavan also flew to Srinagar to take stock of the situation following this development.

Similarly, every economic movement in the Valley during the last few years was conveniently dubbed as anti-national by the successive State Government. Such an attitude of the State, often endorsed by the Centre, increased the animosity of the local population towards New Delhi. Instead of acting as a buffer between the two extremes - the ruling minority and the hostile majority - the Centre continued with its act of corrupting the local politicians or luring them to join the ruling clique. But it is also a fact that secessionist forces always used every agitation to advance their game. Even in the agitation protesting the hike in the electricity tariff, led by the Congress (I), slogans such as 'Hail Pakistan' were raised with impunity.

It is indeed intriguing that when the State's administrative machinery had come to a standstill, Dr. Farooq chose to be away on foreign jaunts. Equally intriguing is the manner in which pistols and small arms, issued to the National Conference workers found their way to terrorists.

In the meantime, Jagmohan had relinquished charge as the Governor on July 12, 1989 following the completion of his five-year term. However, he was recalled as Governor when the Union Government headed by V.P.Singh, rose from its slumber in the wake of menacing threat from terrorists. He assumed the second term on January 19, 1990 and was called back by the Centre on May 26 following the assassination of Maulvi Farooq a few days earlier. He was replaced by G. C. Saxena, a former police officer who was also called back by the Centre in March 1993. But the situation remains far from normal and the writ of terrorists continues to rule the State.

Working in tandem, the terrorist, fundamentalist and secessionist outfits are guided by Zia's 'Operation Topac' for their strategy which in a nutshell is:


1. Spread fear and terror;

2. Spread half-truths and falsehoods;

3. Demoralise political opponents;

4. Gain active support of Muslim personnel in police and bureaucracy in the name of Islam and Jehad;

5. Suppress all dissent through threats, bomb blasts or shoot-outs;

6. Indulge in selective killings of non-Muslims and scare them away through verbal or written warnings;

7. Indulge in arson, loot and destruction of liquor shops, bars, clubs, video parlours, beauty parlours, etc. as all these are un-Islamic;

8. Ensure strict adherence to Islamic rules of conduct, for instance, purdah in case of women;

9. Eliminate Indian intelligence personnel, particularly non-Muslims;

10. Burn down Government and private schools run by non-Muslims and promote Jamaat schools;

11. Do not allow any political activity except that which is sanctioned by militant organisations;

12. Take control of local mosques and mullahs;

13. Ambush and attack security forces;

14. Kidnap VIPs and their relatives;

15. Assassinate political enemies and deserters.

It is also interesting to note that the Tashkent declaration following talks between India and Pakistan in the presence of the USSR in the wake of 1965 Indo-Pak war over Kashmir suggested that the Kashmir dispute should be put into cold storage. The armies of both the countries should withdraw to the positions they had occupied before the crisis erupted in August 1965. The declaration was signed on January 10, 1966 and the withdrawal of the armies behind the established international border and the 1949 Kashmir cease-fire line was implemented by late February.

In the Simla agreement, reached upon between India and Pakistan on July 2 in 1972 following the third Indo-Pak war over Kashmir in 1971, it was decided that in Jammu & Kashmir the 'Line of Control resulting from the cease-fire of December 17,1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterely, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or use of force in violation of this line'. The new cease-fire line was later referred to as the Line of Control (LOC) or the Line of Actual Control (LOAC). It, in fact, became the de facto border between India and Pakistan.

However, the situation continued to drift further. Even a peep into the history of the Valley shows that Kashmir always suffered on account of intrigues by rulers, and their detractors as well.

Crescent over Kashmir



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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference 1993 Panun Kashmir
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