Table of Contents
  Profile
  Vision of India and Kashmir
  Kashmir: Illusion and Reality
  Open letter to Ms. Robin Raphel
  Autonomy: Nuts and bolts
  Letter to Mr. Rajiv Gandhi

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Matrimonial

 
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Kashmir - Illusion and Reality

By Jagmohan

Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it." This observation comes to my mind every time the Government brings a resolution for extension of the President's rule in Jammu and Kashmir. The last such resolution was brought to Parliament on August 9, 1994. The Home Minister's speech, introducing the resolution and the Governor's report, had practically the same contents as on the previous occasions. All these speeches and reports reflect the same state of mind - the mind which prefers to live with illusions rather than with reality.

During the period intervening between two extensions, the Government has always been claiming improvement in the situation and singing the same song about the political process and elections But what are the facts?

From the data collected by me from the replies to starred and unstarred questions during the just concluded session of Parliament, it emerged that the casualty figures had been going up. In 1990, 1,177 persons were killed; in 1991, 1,393; in 1992, 1,909; and from January 1, 1993 to June 30, 1994, 3,964. If the figures of abduction, kidnapping, attacks on security forces and other incidents related to terrorism are tabulated, the same trend would be visible.

During the last six months alone, 102 security personnel and 526 civilians were killed, 145 persons were kidnapped and the security forces were subjected to heavy firing and grenade attacks 1,275 times. In this period, Doda, too, came under the vicious grip of terrorism.

Encounter
As in last year, rockets were fired at this year's Independence Day function at Srinagar. On August 13, the militants, in the heart of the capital, engaged the security forces in a pitched encounter for practically the whole day. In this gun battle, the BSF lost a commanding officer and five jawans.

The murder of Dr Qazi Nissar on June 20 and the virtual refusal of the Government servants posted in the Valley to do any work connected witb the Amarnath Yatra (August 13-21) also show the way the wind is blowing. The bomb explosion in a Jammu bus on August 25, which resulted in the death of ten persons, including eight children, points to the same direction.

At the time of every extension, I have been raising a few basic questions. Why has terrorism been increasing both in scale and ferocity? Why are persons like Qazi Nissar still being murdered? Why do people respond to the calls for general setrikes by militant outfits? Why is not the Government tackling forces of subversion which are being continuously fuelled by the ISI to continue internal disorder and incipient aggression?

Loyalty
The answer to these and allied questions, which the Government has always side-tracked, is that the truth has never been and is still oot being, faced in Kashmir. The truth is that the loyalty of a large number of public servants has been subverted; the truth is that no one is trying to rebuild the collapsed structure of civil administration; the truth is that the initiative is being allowed to rest with the militants and the Government is persisting with its permissive attitude.

Take, for instance, the Hazratbal incident of October/November, 1993. In this case the Government first surrendered its option, at the time of cordon, by providing food to the militants; then it surrendered its laws by releasing 62 persons who had been waging a "war against the State", in conspiracy with a foreign power- and now it has surrendered its prestige by removing the 'bunkers' for the retention of which it had been insisting for the last ten months. Clearly, such a weak response would add to the belligerency of the militants and would have the same impact as was caused by the simultaneous release of 70 hard-core militants in September/December, 1989, by Dr Farooq Abdullah's Government.

The extent to which the Government has been trapped in its own confused web would be evident from the way it has been dealing with Yasin Malik who is a principal accused not only in the kidnapping (December 8, 1989) of Rubaiya Sayeed but also in the killing of four innocent Indian Air Force officers (January 24, 1994). Is it not in itself a tragedy of monumental proportion that the Indian State, whom Jawaharlal Nehru vowed to make "mighty in thoughts, mighty in deeds, mighty in culture, and mighty in service of humanity", is today looking to persons like Yasin Malik in resolving the Kashmir problem, instead of setting right its own mooring?

Is it not paradoxical that whereas 134 personnel of the security forces have been punished for "excesses", not even a single militant involved in serious crimes has been convicted, and the "designated court" set up by me in early 1990 at Jammu for speedy and effective prosecution, was made dysfunctional under political pressures of petty interests? Is it not a naivety of its own kind to talk of elections in the Valley, when practically every functionary of the State is afraid of raising his head above the parapet wall and when pro-Pakistan and pro-independence elements are being allowed to inject, through media and subversive literature heavy doses of militancy in the social environment of the Valley?

Too late
When on August 15, 1994, I heard the Prime Minister teUing Pakistan, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, "With you, without you, in spite of you, Kashmir is an integral part of India, and this will not change," I was reminded of the following words of General Douglas MacArthur: "The history of failure in war can be summed up in two words: Too late, too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy; too late in realising the mortal danger; too late in preparedness; too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance."

If Government had adopted a firm line in 1988-89, when the present game of subversion, terrorism and low-intensity war was started by Pakistan, it would not have been in the sorry mess in which it finds itself today and the people of Kashmir and the rest of India would not have paid such a heavy price both in human and financial terms. Even now it is doubtful whether the Prime Minister's words would be matched by deeds. The Government has been, and is still, sending conflicting signals. Even the three main functionaries - the Home Minister, the Minister of State for Home Affairs and the Governor, J&K - have been speaking with different voices.

Performance
What is needed is a clear, consistent and comprehensive policy which not only malces up for the deficiency of late response but also demonstrates that promises would be followed by performance. This policy should, as I have been emphasising since 1990, include putting sustained pressure on pro-Pakistani militants, concentrating on rebuilding the civil administration; dealing effectively with subversive elements within the services; eliminating indirect help to militants by way of civil works and "appeasement-recruitment", prosecuting the disinformers in specific cases; activising the 'designated court' at Jammu fur speedy trial of the accused involved in killing and kidnapping; taking initiative to unearth arms and ammunition; organising counter-guerrilla groups; keeping all the while an honourable line of retreat open for new leadership not involved in heinous crimes; and, finally bringing home to all concerned that, if fair gestures are not responded to, Article 370, which is being currently misused to cause internal subversion and facaitate external intervention, would be abrogated.

"While truth", says Emile Zola, "is buried underground, it grows, it chokes, it gathers such an explosive force that one day it bursts out, it blows everything up with it." Since the Government and Parliament have not been facing the truth in Kashmir it has been hitting them in the face after every six months. And, if the present attitude persists, it would continue to hit them in the coming months also. Every extension means not merely constitutional extension of the President's rule; it also means extension of India's wishful thinking.

(Courtesy: Hindustan Times)

 

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