T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue XII

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

April 2003

I N S I D E


Spotlight 

Deepak Lokhande

 

Editorial     

 

Column     

Yashwant Sinha     

                   

View Point      

Sushil Vakil

 

On Track     

M V Kamath 

         

Opinion

M K Dhar

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Ram Puniyani

 

Perspective

K G Joglekar

 

Last Word

V Sundaram 

 

                            


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E D I T O R I A L

Integrate Kashmir with the Indian Union

What others say......


Just when you thought that the terrorist violence in Kashmir was tapering off, the ISI has reminded us that it is alive and well - and very much in the business of fomenting mayhem in this country. While faraway the US is engaged in a pre-emptive war to neutralise the threat from Saddam Hussein, who may or may not have posed a direct threat to the American interests, we in India are condemned to put up with continued provocations almost on a daily basis from Islamabad because we cannot as a nation bring ourselves to devise a coherent policy to deal with the deep-rooted animus of a demented neighbour. Unless we are able to grasp the nettle of Pakistan, there can be no lasting peace in Kashmir or further afield in the entire country. This plain truth ought to be clear as daylight to the dimmest of politicians, ruling or opposition. The trouble is that while they all know that the source of mischief in Kashmir is in Pakistan, there is precious little that any one of them in the entire political class is willing to consider, let alone do something about it. Every time there is a horrendous atrocity committed by the merchants of death in the Valley, stray voices are heard to right the historic wrongs in order to end once for all the cycle of violence and terror in Kashmir. And each time, after a few days, all is forgotten, and the political class moves on to its routine business of non-governance and politicking.

You can, therefore, be certain that the familiar pattern will follow the perpetration of the latest gruesome tragedy inflicted on the innocent people of Kashmir by the sponsors of terror from across the international border. Sunday night’s cold-blooded massacre of 24 Kashmiri Pandits in village Narimarg of Pulwama district was waiting to happen. For, the newly-installed administration of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had undertaken a PR drive to lure back to the State Kashmiri Pandits before putting in place a credible security apparatus to ensure that they did not become victims of terrorist violence. Kashmiri Pandits, who had become refugees in their own homeland thanks to the collective failure of successive administrations in Srinagar and New Delhi to craft a credible policy to blunt the ISI’s avowed designs on Kashmir, had begun to trickle back to their homes in the Valley. This was not acceptable to the militants whose sole claim to Kashmir lay on the fact that it was a Muslim majority enclave in what they called Hindu India and, therefore, `rightfully’ belonged to Pakistan. The massacre of two dozen men, women and children on the night of Sunday would undermine confidence in the ability of the Congress-PDP Government to offer a modicum of protection against the threat from the ISI mercenaries.

Indeed, the massacre came within a day of the cold-blooded murder of the former Hizbul Mujahideen leader Abdul Majeed Dar. Dar was eliminated because he fell out with his Pakistani masters and was now canvassing for a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir problem with the rulers in Srinagar and New Delhi. As a new convert to the peace process, Dar spurned the Pakistani line and thus became a target of their bullets. His elimination would dissuade other Hizbul leaders to talk peace in Kashmir. Given that the Centre’s new interlocutor for J and K, N. N. Vohra was in the process of establishing contacts with elements who could be relevant to the return of permanent peace in the Valley, Dar’s murder was a big setback. As J and K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Syed has said the killing of Dar and the Kashmiri Pandits underline the fact that Pakistan does not want any impression to gain ground that militancy was on the decline and that Kashmir was slowly but steadily returning to normalcy.

So what can be done to ensure that ISI’s jehadis do not have a free run of Kashmir? Basically, two things, and in that order. One, bring about a national consensus, nay, unity on Kashmir. Unless the entire nation, including the so-called human rightswallahs and so-called secularists learn to speak in one voice, there can be no chance whatsoever of the Indian State forging a credible policy to thwart the ISI campaign of terror in Kashmir. Make no mistake. The so-called jehad, the so-called insurrection in Kashmir, is wholly foreign-driven, foreign-funded. It might be fashionable to say that without the aid and collaboration of the local people foreign jehadis will not be able to operate freely in the Valley, but, remember, that it is the combination of fear and funds which motivates the locals to team up with the ISI. Break that nexus. You cannot fight a ruthless enemy with kid gloves. Make the costs of collaboration with the jehadis prohibitively high for the Kashmiris!

And, two, without undertaking a larger project to integrate Kashmir demographically with the rest of the Indian Union, there can be no lasting peace there. Ours might be the lone voice in the wilderness, now that its original votaries have forsaken it for the sake of power, but the history of jehad and over 50 years of troubled relations with our western neighbour teach us that religion is a major catalyst in fomenting militancy in the Valley. Unless we alter the demographic profile of Kashmir, it will always remain vulnerable to the mischief of Pakistan. In sum, our prescription for righting the wrongs in Kashmir is a fervent plea for wider national unity. Instead of finger-pointing at one another, politicians should sink their differences on Kashmir and integrate it fully with the rest of the country.

- The Free Press Journal - 

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