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l July 2003 l

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

l Vol 2, No 3 l

E D I T O R I A L

J&K POLICE: The stark truth

What others say......


The (recent) disclosure that a group of Jammu and Kashmir policemen were involved in the killing of a senior National Conference leader last September has confirmed our worst suspicions. We had always suspected that without the involvement of the local authorities, terrorism in the State could not have flourished for so long in spite of the active involvement of Pakistan. A large section of the J and K police and its bureaucracy, especially at the middle and lower levels, was hand-in-glove with foreign mercenary militants; the two together held the entire State to ransom.

Add to this the ham-handedness of the State Government and the ambivalence of its leading politicians and you have the field clear for terrorists to play havoc. Senior National Conference leader and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister in the Farooq Abdullah Government, Mushtaq Ahmad Lone, was gunned down while he was addressing an election rally in his Sogam constituency last September. Three months later his brother too was shot dead by terrorists in the same town. Now it turns out that six J and K policemen were involved in these killings.

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All six were arrested a couple of days ago. The nexus came to light when one of the militants who had come to attack a police station was earlier seen with a clerk of the Sogam police station. The interrogation of the clerk, Abdul Ahad Rather, unraveled the conspiracy. They were collaborating with the militants on a regular basis for long. Indeed, militants had supplied the policemen with wireless sets so that they could be told about the movements of their prospective targets.

Without doubt, the incident would further bolster the charge that a section of the Kashmiris played host to the Pak militants. The local Muslims were beholden to Pakistan for various reasons, mainly religious and financial. There is more than a kernel of truth in the charge that Pakistan exploits the religious feelings of the Kashmiri Muslims to rope them into its spurious `jehad’ in J and K. Even senior civilian officers of J and K who happen to be Muslims tend to be in thrall of the socalled `jehadis.’

That Pakistan lays claim to Kashmir only because it is a Muslim-majority enclave in the entire country is clear to all. Even the other day the Pakistani dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, made bold to claim in a television interview that but for the presence of `seven lakh Indian troops’ Kashmiris would walk out of India. He made his claim only because he believed that Kashmiris being Muslims would not like to stay with India.

Is there a lesson for Indians, especially the so-called secularists among them, in the arrest of J and K cops in the conspiracy behind the murder of Lone and Musharraf’s claim over Kashmir? Yes, there is. And it is that it would not help to close your eyes to the reality in the Valley. The Kashmir problem is rooted in the religion of its majority community. And Pakistan exploits this religious affinity to create mayhem in Kashmir and to lay claim over it. Indeed, in recent years, there has been a systematic attempt to alter the religious profile of other regions in J and K in such a manner that terrorists can spread their tentacles beyond the narrow confines of the Valley proper.

To a large extent, this willful demographic alteration has already been implemented. Therefore, while a law and order approach to deal with the menace of militancy might pay short-term dividends, the long-term solution to the Kashmir problem lies in its full integration with the rest of the country. Article 370 is an artificial obstacle in the path of Kashmir’s integration with India. Given that Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir is based on the religious affiliations of the majority community in Kashmir, it stands to reason that India would weaken this claim by demolishing the artificial clamps on free settlement of Indians from other parts of the country in that once idyllic enclave.

Unfortunately, successive governments in New Delhi have invariably pandered to the spurious Pak claim by sealing off Kashmir to all Indians while offering unlimited sops to Kashmiris to stay loyal to this country. But the Kashmiris were clever. They took the sops, and demanded more, while flaunting their religious affinity with Pakistan, even when India, and not Pakistan, was home to the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. So much for the wisdom of our rulers. We wonder when our political class would come to terms with this stark truth in the Valley. Till then, the Indian State will continue to bleed at the hands of Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir police and bureaucracy notwithstanding the periodic charade of a dialogue which Islamabad might go through with New Delhi to upstage India in the international fora.

[ The Free Press Journal ]



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J & K News - June 2003:  Geelani, Hurriyat, rift widens * 13 soldiers killed as militants attack army camp * Army chief visits Jammu, reviews security scenario * Over 94,000 pilgrims registered for Amarnath yatra * JuM claims responsibility for Lone assassination * No mediation on Kashmir, says US * $3 billion US package for Pakistan * Kargil ruined Kashmir peace plan: Nawaz Sharief * Musharraf wants greater US involvement in Kashmir * Don't compromise on Kashmir, Islamists warn Musharraf * Musharraf refuses to rule out another Kargil