Isha khan’s Weblog

India’s Options in Kashmir
September 26, 2008, 8:59 pm
Filed under: India, Pakistan, SubContinent
India’s Options in Kashmir 
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By Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

First, the good news for Kashmiris. To the credit of the freedom leaders it must be stated that for the first time in Independent India, a few mainstream newspapers, academicians, public figures and even political parties have expressed their solidarity with freedom struggling Kashmiris and they support an independent Kashmir. That is the biggest asset the poplar uprising has earned since 1947 when conservative India quite tactfully annexed Kashmir and will help in ushering in a free Kashmir at the earliest.

Any spontaneous struggle by people has a lot of historical significance and Kashmir uprising for sovereignty sent out that message to the world loud and clear. Finally, the world has realized it is no more any “terrorist’ adventure by few Kashmiris or Pakistan sponsored “cross-border-terrorist act” as India thus far claimed in international forums and propagated in world media, but it is indeed the popular freedom struggle being waged by Kashmiris on all-Kashmir basis. And, conservative India can no longer call the freedom fighting Kashmiris since there are no guns, grenades or any other weaponry in the hands of people here. They are protesting peacefully. However, India is using brute force against the unarmed protestors. They are firing bullets and teargas shells on them, torturing them and killing them.

The spectacle of hundreds of thousands marching and protesting in both regions needs an explanation. Brutal murder of innocent Kashmiris who protested peacefully requires an explanation. Yet, Indian government, diverting the global attention by keeping alive a non issue like nuclearism which mean nothing to India and famous terror acts, still keeps criminal silence over surrendering sovereignty back to the struggling Kashmiri masses. US should use nuclearism flirting of India to make Kashmir free form India.

The Kashmiri population feels that their homeland is essentially occupied, and harbors a deep sense of oppression over several decades and generations by Indian governments. This powerful sense of unmitigated grievance was triggered by yet another ‘slight’ – the decision to transfer land without any consultation with the valley’s people. The Jammu agitation caused disruption to traffic on a highway running from Srinagar to Jammu and beyond that is the valley’s lifeline. In August over 30 Muslims died there when Indian security forces opened fire on large marches.

Hindu Atrocities in Kashmir

Oppression, suppression, torture, genocide are the hallmark of the Indian occupation in Jammu Kashmir. It appears the strategists in New Delhi are trying to split Jammu Kashmir to carve out a separate state for Hindus in Jammu as Kashmir becomes an independent nation. Kashmir Muslim leaders have seen through the Indian tricks and are determined to pursue their legitimate struggle to achieve freedom form occupying India. True, India is scared of the peaceful but massive demonstrations for freedom.

The recent trouble started when the state government said it would illegally grant 99 acres plus (40 hectares plus) of forest land to the Amarnath Shrine Board. The allocation of land was aimed at altering the demographic balance in the area. The government said the board needed the land to erect huts and toilets for visiting pilgrims. But following days of protests, the government rescinded the order, prompting Hindu groups to mount violent protests of their own and creating havoc for the Kashmir Muslims.

India continues to cause deaths to Kashmiris. Recent Mehraj’s death caused by Indian terrorist strategy highlights how youth are being treated in Kashmir. Mehraj’s death highlights how youth are being treated in Kashmir. On arrest of protesters, authorities have got no justification in arresting the peaceful and unarmed protestors. As it is known, India has zero tolerance for any opposition Indian occupation of Jammu Kashmir. Just as the Britishers used to do, the Indian forces have employed brute force against the peaceful demonstrators.

At some places Indian forces are intimidating the women folk by marching naked before them. The Hurriyat (G) chairman Geelani said this is an extreme measure of war crime against humanity. Geelani said United Nations should constitute a war tribunal in Kashmir to ‘investigate worst form of human rights violations, use of brute force and killing of unarmed protesters’ by Indian troopers. According Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, one of Kashmir’s main pro-independence politicians, “Such repressive measures will not work. We will emerge stronger and more vibrant”. India seems to be keen to make Kashmiris “terrorists” by dirty provocative strategies like flying nuclear enabled jets in Kashmir, but the Indian colonizers will have to learn the lessons properly.

Talks and ceasefires

Recently several secret grave yards were discovered in Kashmir which is under Indian occupation. News about Kashmir is every where these days, making the Since its “discovery” in the mid-19th century by UK, the cave-deity has attracted masses of “Hindutva pilgrims” every summer from India. This May, the government of Jammu Kashmir decided to illegally transfer 100 acres of land on a mountain route leading to the shrine to a Hindu religious trust controlled by JK governor and central government. These sparked widespread protests in the valley through June, and six civilians were killed. The decision was then rescinded in early July, and this in turn triggered a large-scale and sustained protest campaign in the Hindu-majority districts around the city of Jammu. The Kashmir valley, though overwhelmingly Muslim, has an ice-formation located inside a remote cave that is regarded as a manifestation of the god Shiva. Indians must feel vulnerable and concede guilty of decades of genocides in militarized Kashmir.

Kashmir last dominated world headlines in 2002, when India and Pakistan mobilized a million troops on the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border that divides the territory, contested since 1947, and on the international frontier between the two countries. Cold blooded massacres in Kashmir have snot made the Hindus panicky. But a stand-off was precipitated by using a “suicide raid” in December 2001 on India’s parliament in New Delhi and a massacre in May 2002 of families of Indian soldiers near the city of Jammu, Hindu-majority south of Kashmir. Prior to that, the Indian and Pakistani militaries fought a two-month war in the summer of 1999 on a stretch of the LoC in the remote Himalayas, in Ladakh’s Kargil district, after the LoC there was infiltrated by Pakistani army units. That conflict too threatened to escalate into a wider war between countries which had tested nuclear weapons just a year earlier, in May 1998. In late 2003, on the LoC took hold, and since 2004 relations between India and Pakistan have seen a thaw. But four years later, it is clear that the thaw has not developed into a serious peace process, and that a settlement to the Kashmir dispute is nowhere on the horizon. In April 2005, a fortnightly cross-LoC bus service was launched between Srinagar, the capital of the Kashmir Valley and the largest city in Indian-administered Kashmir, and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani-administered Kashmir. Subsequently, there was no progress in the India-Pakistan dialogue on substantive aspects of the Kashmir problem, even on such relatively peripheral issues as the de-militarization of the Siachen glacier on the northern fringes of the territory. The paralyzed nature of the talks seemed bearable since the insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir since 1990 ebbed during these years.

But in fact the past few years of relative calm represent a major missed opportunity for India to engage all communities and factions in Kashmir in a genuine and credible – as distinct from an illusory and vacuous – peace process. Kashmiris had been looking forward to getting back their sovereignty from India, however, India always takes a peaceful atmosphere to push further its hegemonic and colonial and imperialistic rule in Jammu Kashmir. Any notion that the Kashmir conflict has been successfully put in cold-storage has been exposed as a delusion during the summer of 2008.

Indianization & Decline of Muslims in Jammu

Discovery of secret grave yards in Kashmir has sent up cold waves across Kashmir about possible secret genocides of Muslims in Jammu as well. It is a known strategy of colonizers to “import” their own people to settle down in colonies annexed so as to keep the legitimate inhabitants are pressurized and subjugated and punished. Indian Doctrine of containment of and unleash subversive agenda in its neighbors Since 1947 India has harped on this hidden agenda quite vigorously by inciting violence in Kashmir. Indian strategists even now believe that the only way they can preserve their identity and avoid being swallowed by the huge Indian population is by retaining control of their land. Kashmiris have to some extent resisted the Indian designs, but the militarization has overpowered the innocent Kashmiris. India wants Kashmiris encircled by Hindus and their culture so that Kashmiris, like Indian Muslims, “socialize and Hinduize partially”. Shri Amarnath illegal land deal is a part of the scheme.

India added more and more Hindus in Kashmir through militarization and other nefarious designs. In 1982, while Sheikh Abdullah governed the state, his National Conference party brought out a red book titled “Conspiracy to reduce the majority community in Jammu and Kashmir into a minority”. Other Kashmiri leaders have also, on many occasions, voiced their concern over what they say is the steady decline of the Muslim population in the Jammu region. They have blamed this on people from neighboring states settling down in the region.

India has strenuously tried to make Hindus infiltrate into Kashmir and settle down with military protection. Several “Indian entrepreneurs are encouraged by India to buy land and promote Indian hidden agenda last year, Kashmiris effectively forced the state government to withdraw a proposal to allow non-Kashmiri investors to bid for plots of land on which to build hotels at the tourist resort of Gulmarg and other places.

Every thing for Hindus in Indian Secular state

Hated and contained by the Hindus at all levels, Muslims in India feel neglected since 1947 and now they are treated as undesired “terrorists: and suspected ones in the country. There is a perception among Hindus in Jammu that they wielded little power in the state of Jammu and Kashmir as the minority population – and what leadership they did have was remote and inaccessible.

India follow not just “first Hindus” policy, but more atrociously, “Benefits only for Hindus”. Hindus in Jammu are very particular that similar things don’t happen to Hindus in Jammu Kashmir and a second capital was made out of Jammu where government functions one half of year. The predominately pro-India media managed by Hindus do the talking and guiding part of the Hindu agenda for JK. Congress party chose a leader form Jammu region, Gulam Nabi Azad, who is known to be feeling comfortable more with Hindus than Kashmiris and never even visited his partly office dung his tenure as JK chief-minister, to head the collation ministry so that Hindu interests are held supreme and effectively taken care of as governments in India effectively do by cheating the Muslim voters.

With an imperialistic view to retaining Jammu Kashmir under its custody, since 1947 New Delhi engineered techniques to split the Kashmiris and Kashmir along regional and religious lines. The current turmoil in Kashmir has exposed that Indian strategy beyond doubts. Religious and regional conflicts have surfaced quite openly and Kashmiri Hindus encouraged by India seek the intervention of India in some measures. Also, pro-and anti-Kashmir groups have been engineered among Muslims and Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh are, albeit in different ways, hostages to the frozen-yet-simmering disputes.

Ever growing Indian frustrations over Kashmiri resolve for independence could well be gauged form the military operations in Kashmir recently. Jammu region created economic terrorism for Kashmir Muslims, along with human terrorism unleashed from Indian terror forces, but authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have imposed an indefinite curfew throughout the Kashmir Valley. It comes amid continuing protests by the Muslim majority population – with a major rally planned for the region’s main city, Srinagar.

The valley is already paralyzed by strikes called by freedom groups who want an end to Indian rule. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims took part in a protest rally called by freedom leaders in Srinagar. Reports suggested police had carried out raids on freedom leaders’ homes overnight. The strike comes amid continuing freedom movement in the region. Fifteen people died in a gun battle between militants and the authorities near the Line of Control – the de facto border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Imperialist Repressions: Kashmiri resentments

Obviously, Indian Government wants to create a rift between the regions and stop Jammu Hindus from joining a new free Kashmir state. Observers are almost unanimous that the land row is an effect rather than a cause of antagonism between the two regions, Kashmir and Jammu. They say the simmering discontent dates back to the ending of the monarchy in Kashmir in 1947. The monarch, Maharaja Hari Singh, was a Hindu who belonged to the main ethnic Dogra community of Jammu. When the monarchy ended, handed over Kashmir to India under secret agreements and a popular government were installed under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah. Since then India systematically created a pro-India contingent of Kashmiris, killing many regularly.

Today the same feelings of resentment are still evident. Hindus and their media and governments talk ill of Kashmiris and, indirectly, also Indian Muslims for not opposing Kashmiris. They are not considered as citizens, let alone second or third class ones. But the Hindu specialists are there to defend the Jammu Hindus against Muslims. “It’s ironical that Kashmiris who don’t even consider themselves to be Indians are getting all the blessings of the government, while the people of Jammu are always treated as second class citizens,” said one Hindu in Jammu.

The current ferment in the Kashmir Valley is a throwback to the turbulent winter of 1963-64, when the theft of what Muslims believe to be a hair of the Prophet Mohammad from Srinagar’s Hazratbal shrine ignited massive protests in the valley. Although the trigger was ostensibly a religious issue, the unrest resulted from pent-up resentment at a decade of Delhi’s Kashmir policies – which included the removal from office and incarceration of Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah, the de facto scrapping of Indian-administered Kashmir’s self-rule powers, and the use of police methods to repress protest and silence dissent. Kashmiris hate India. But there is no precedent to both the major regions in Indian-occupied Kashmir simultaneously plunging into turmoil. Kashmiris want sovereignty.

India refuses to address the core Kashmir issue. After almost two decades of separatist violence, the situation in the Kashmir valley had improved in the past few years. Violence was on the decline and hundreds of thousands of tourists had returned to the valley, rekindling hope that Kashmir may be on the path to peace once again. But the latest violence by Hindus and Muslims seems to have dashed that hope.

India supports separatism of Hindus in Jammu. Encouraged by Hindutva forces in New Delhi, the Hindu groups in India and Jammu have always demanded abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution which gives special status to the valley. The Hindu groups twice vetoed offers of autonomy for Jammu – first by Sheikh Abdullah in the 1950s and again in 1996 by Farooq Abdullah – because they have opposed the special status of the valley. The Jammu agitation is reminiscent of 1952-53, when the same areas in the Jammu region’s Hindu-majority south were convulsed by a Hindu movement calling for full integration of Indian-administered Kashmir with the Indian Union, meaning the cancellation of Indian-administered Kashmir’s autonomous status, recognized in India’s constitution and re-affirmed in 1952 in talks between India’s prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the Kashmiri Muslim leader Sheikh Abdullah.

Peaceful Movement for Sovereignty

Indian strategists have every right to imagine. They think, once Kashmiris continue to be peaceful, India can go on militarizing Kashmir and occupying the alien land so long as USA does not offer an ultimatum to India on Kashmir sovereignty. Colonial minded Indians are terribly mistaken. In order to create obstacles to Indian support for the Kashmir freedom move they now cry loud that Kashmiris want to join Pakistan. How doe sit matter to them; Business of terror master India is to surrender sovereignty back to the struggling Kashmiris.

Kashmiris feel they are systematically tortured, terrorized and killed by Indian forces. Like Muslims in India, Jammu’s Hindus have long felt bypassed and neglected as a minority in Indian-administered Kashmir. They viewed the subsequent revocation of the transfer as yet another cave-in to the valley’s more numerous Muslims, and reacted with raw anger. The competing mass mobilizations have precedents. Jammu Hindus are no different form those in India. Many in the valley argue that these groups have a barely concealed anti-Muslim agenda.

Perhaps, for the first time world media blasted the Indian atrocities in Kashmir in 2008, after so many years of Indian occupation of that part of the world. It is for the first time that Kashmiris are awakened to demand sovereignty back from India. The row over whether to allocate land to Amarnath Trust by New Delhi “Hindu specialists” in Muslim Kashmir, now under Indian occupation and hectic militarization, is unprecedented and has potentially caused the state to fragment along communal lines. Now it is no exaggeration to say that India is managing the state to be heading towards a communal meltdown, before the final settlement of Kashmir issue.

The conflagration was a setback for the Indian government which had made much of several years of relative calm in the Kashmir region and was under the impression that Kashmiris have compromised and recoiled to he Indian projects in Kashmir. India has tried to conclude that Kashmiris are finally over-powered by military threat and secret grave yards as there has been a decline of military exchanges with Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC).

The message from Kashmir for India and other oppressor nations is candid and clear: Frozen conflicts don’t stay frozen for too long and they cannot be put down with iron hands howsoever the power tries to suppress the freedom movement. Kashmiris now demand sovereignty peacefully and India has to concede. USA will certainly agree with this.

Sense of oppression: Kashmir shall be Free !

Discovery of secret grave-yards in Kashmir reminds the world of Indian gray policy for freedom seeking Kashmir and remains the ugliest display of inhuman misadventure on innocent Kashmiris. If India showcases the graveyards as the peaceful place for freedom fighters, it is terribly mistaken. Historic Significance of Kashmir Uprising cannot be belittled by Indian strategists and leaders.

Like the USA, India is keen to punish Muslims, kill them mercilessly. The turmoil comes at an uncertain time for India-Pakistan relations. Last month, there were localized ceasefire violations on the LoC, militant bombs killed 50 people in India’s Gujarat state, and India’s embassy in Kabul was attacked in a deadly suicide-bombing. Armed freedom groups in Kashmir have been lying low since the post-2004 thaw, but they remain present and dangerous. The lesson is frozen conflicts don’t stay frozen, and windows of opportunity to make real progress towards solutions don’t come often. Stalling on such opportunities can be perilous.

Under the prevailing freedom circumstances, India is keen to implement its pet and illegal Amarnath land deal by hook or crock and JK governor is dying to persuade the Kashmir leaders to convince the masses to “oblige’ the New Delhi masters. While many Kashmiris are kept under brutal custody in Indian jails, JK Governor N N Vohra had said that the administration was ready to hold talks with Jammu and Kashmir Coordination Committee (JKCC), which is spearheading the agitation in Kashmir.

Of course, JK Governor should to talk to the freedom fighters, their leaders like Syed Geelani, but the agenda of any such future talks should be on Kashmir sovereignty and announced before hand so that there are no embarrassments for him and the freedom leaders. However, freedom leaders clearly smell a rat in the invitation extended recently by Vohra for talks; they see the New Delhi’s dirty hand stained with Kashmiri blood in new maneuverings and coercing the freedom leaders to agree to Indian Hindu demand for illegal land deal for Amarnath shrine. In stead, India should rebuild Grand Babri Mosque that was destroyed in 1992 by Hindu Al-Queda militants.

Rather, Vohra should invite the freedom leaders to discuss the sovereignty issue and formation of an independent nation with their own constitution, currency and flag for Kashmiris. It is for them to decide if they would eventually join Pakistan or Afghanistan. History tells that Kashmiris would prefer an independent nation with good relations with Islamic nations. That is quite natural.

Unfortunately, Terror India is dying hard to hold “democratic” polls in JK to see its agents come back to power and put a full stop to freedom struggle. No, that would be unwise and first of all, a peaceful atmosphere has to be created by promising the Kashmiris of independence following the polls. Find out how many Kashmiri Muslims have been murdered by India recently. Leave the polls to an independent Kashmir.

Indian media had harped on releasing the detainees in Pakistan before any poll was to be held in that Islamic state, but in Kashmir India has a different face to show; many innocent protests are behind bars and many are being killed on a day to day basis, but Indian media want elections immediately so that Kashmiris are forced to forget about their agitations, and freedom from Indian yoke.

But Kashmir is now under curfew, people are on the streets and Indian jails for peacefully demanding freedom from occupying India. But JK Governor and Indian government are focused on the dirty illegal land deal, unmindful of the ghastly deaths of Kashmiri Muslims, both in the streets and jails. Yes, Governor, first of all, a peaceful environment has to be created for any meaningful dialogue and jailed Kashmiris should be released unconditionally.

It is high time India woke up to face the reality and boldly announce independence of Kashmir. The issue at dispute is Kashmir is not part of India and Kashmiris never like the idea of becoming Indians. Decades of Indian atrocities including regular genocide have not made the freedom seeking Kashmiris bend even a bit. India cannot refuse to address the key Kashmir issue any more? Surrendering the Kashmiris their sovereignty!

Since Kashmiris have decided to get back sovereignty from India by all means and have shed violence against deadly Indian provocative methods, time is quite ripe for conservative New Delhi to consider, equally seriously, surrendering sovereignty back to them without delay and without once again tricking them into “terrorist” path. One hopes India will shed its “innocence” symptoms and come out to face the emerging reality when Kashmiris are together now and international community is on their side. In stead of behaving like a tight lipped or close mouthed rogue, India must talk, as before when they slammed Kashmiris, now about Kashmir sovereignty; after all fanatic New Delhi is not a shy guy.

Trade and contacts across the Line of Control (LoC) should lead to joining of the both parts of Jammu Kashmir. The same could be better achieved by returning sovereignty back to Kashmiris. Both India and Pakistan should come forward to uniting the Kashmir as a sovereign nation at the earliest

Colonizers and imperialist strategists in Terrorist India should keep in mind Jammu Kashmir will be free form Indian yoke, all Indian leaders including military terrorists will be tried in special tribunals set by the UN and punished in due course. India has to answer for each and every Kashmiri Muslim lost life for their sacred cause of freedom form occupying India. Yes, India should stop fooling Kashmiris!

Researcher in International Affairs,
South Asia

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Isha Khan

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