Genesis Of Kashmir Terror

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Apr 2018 11:30:21

By FAZAL MEHMOOD,

 

One of the reasons why terrorist and subversive groups continue to survive and thrive in Kashmir is that the people are no longer willing to tolerate the inequity, poverty, and corruption in which the State has been mired. Disgusted with the governments and despairing of the prospect for peaceful and incremental change within the existing order, the people are looking for an explanation of their personal suffering and societal degradation


THE unending insurgency in Kashmir took a heavy toll on April 1, and 19 people including 13 militants, four civilians and three Army personnel were killed and over 100 civilians injured in three separate operations. Since the insurgency in J&K began in 1989, India has been consistently indicating that the State was a theatre for Pakistan’s proxy war. It was only after the December 13, 2001, terrorist attack on Parliament that the Indian Government decided that this proxy war required the threat of a military response and military deployment along the border with Pakistan was built up. The consequent face-off between Indian and Pakistani forces strengthened Western perceptions of the Kashmir issue as a potential flash-point for a future nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan, and the international community urged India to avoid an armed conflict with Pakistan and to give more time to curb the activities of terrorist groups. Several peace initiatives have been undertaken in recent years to address the Kashmir issue. Through an official statement on April 5, 2001, the Indian Government invited all Kashmiri groups to participate in negotiations to end the crisis. Initially displaying confusion, the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) failed to issue an official reaction to the Government’s invitation for talks and rejected the Government’s offer for talks. The Hurriyat’s official rejection stated: “We are ready to enter into a dialogue with the Centre provided we are allowed to go to Pakistan, and New Delhi accepts Hurriyat Conference as the only representative body in Jammu and Kashmir.” Stressing the second point, the statement added that the alliance ‘. . . is not ready to join the crowded train which goes nowhere.”


Terrorist violence erupted whenever peace moves were initiated. Thousands of people have died during fighting between insurgents and the Government as well as thousands of civilians who have died as a result of being targeted by the various armed groups. According to official figures released in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, there were 3,400 disappearance cases and the conflict has left more than 47,000 people dead which also includes 7,000 police personnel as of July 2016.


The then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, took two steps soon after coming to power: A freeze on the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act and the release of militants. These are the cornerstones of his much-vaunted policy of the “healing touch.” The tactic was to first to put down “the internal fire of discontent and alienation” in Kashmir, a significant break from the security-centric approach of the past. However, these initiatives met with immediate response from the terrorists. The possibility of reversing the terrorists’ ethnic cleansing of the Valley remains remote, and there are now reports of a hidden migration from some of the border areas in the Jammu region where the Hindus are a minority. As part of the Composite Dialogue between Pakistan and India, talks on combating terrorism and dealing with the menace of narcotics and drug cartels were held on August 10-11, 2014, at Islamabad.


On these sensitive issues very little could be expected to emerge in the first round of talks. India and Pakistan reaffirmed their determination to combat terrorism and emphasised the need to eliminate this menace.
One of the reasons why terrorist and subversive groups continue to survive and thrive in Kashmir is that the people are no longer willing to tolerate the inequity, poverty, and corruption in which the State has been mired. Disgusted with the governments and despairing of the prospect for peaceful and incremental change within the existing order, the people are looking for an explanation of their personal suffering and societal degradation. The eruption of militancy in Kashmir during the late 1980s was not a sudden outburst but the cumulative result of various twists and turns in the State’s politics over many years. If one wants to understand the growth of militancy in Kashmir, one has to bear in mind that it is both spontaneous as well as a result of some external planning. The denial of basic human needs like a genuine, decent livelihood, civil liberties, and federal autonomy to the people of Kashmir, alienated them and subsequently, they crossed over to the side of militancy. Pakistan, a traditional rival in the dispute of Kashmir, took advantage of the situation. It not only gave military training to young Kashmiri Muslims but also provided sophisticated weapons.
The plain and even brutal fact is that the political and administrative system in Jammu and Kashmir, like several other States in India, has been a failure. Political parties in Kashmir have used all means and broken rules at will in their quest for power and wealth. Ministers worry first about the money they can collect and only second about whether their decisions have any value for the public. Legislators are known to have collected bribes to vote for bills. Even military officers are alleged to have ordered weapons on the basis of how large the kickback will be.


In Kashmir, the line between the police and the criminals is a thin one, and at times, may not exist at all. It is, then, no coincidence that ethnic violence, religious blood- letting, and civil unrest are tightly entwined with the corruption of cynical leaders. The incapacitated State cannot sustain democracy, for sustainable democracy requires constitutionalism and respect for the law. Nor can it generate sustainable economic growth, for that requires private capital to invest in productive activity, but due to insurgency, no business house is willing to invest and set up industries in the State. It is difficult to resist the temptation to think that the problem is rooted in the culture of this State, or perhaps of the nation, and that there is not much anyone can do about it. It is true that the State will neither develop its economy nor consolidate its democratic system until its culture changes, but it is wrong to presume that cultural change must lead the way out of the predatory trap. Cultures change only slowly, but institutions can be altered rapidly. And culture will adapt to new institutional incentives if the institutions work effectively to generate new expectations and norms.
(INAV)