India and Insurgency in Kashmir
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is located in the extreme north of India. It has 3 distinct regions namely Jammu, Ladakh and the valley of Kashmir. Another distinct part of Kashmir is part of Pakistan. The Indians have also lost 30000 square miles to China in Ladakh. It effectively means that nearly 40% of the territory of Kashmir is under occupation of powers who are inimical to India.
Legally as per the terms of transfer of power, Maharajah Hari Singh acceded the state to India when he signed the instrument of accession. The fact is Hari Singh had grandiose dreams of independence. He delayed signing the Instrument of accession, till raiders aided by the Pakistan army had almost reached Srinagar. The Nehru government in its wisdom accepted this accession with certain stipulations. In terms of the instrument of accession the state was guaranteed a special status as well as its own constitution and flag. In addition this special status was incorporated in the Indian constitution. One of the effects of this special status was to effectively insulate Kashmir from rest of India. The Indian political leadership went out of its way to ensure that the special status of Kashmir was not eroded.
In the eighties General Zia ul Haq formulated a devious plan to annex Kashmir through an internal insurrection. He was of the view that a home grown movement in Kashmir, like in Palestine was needed to make Kashmir a part of Pakistan. The plan involved sending infiltertrators from Pakistan into Muslim dominated part of Kashmir, to indoctrinate and rouse pan Islamic sentiments. Some of the local youth were also encouraged to take up arms against the Indian army.
The Indian government was taken over by a policy paralysis. It did not react forcefully and the movement in Kashmir took on a anti Hindu color. From early nineties an ethnic cleansing campaign was started. Hindu families were attacked and many Hindus were killed. In addition rape and abduction of Hindu girls became rampant. Loudspeakers in mosques in sermons broadcast messages exhorting the Muslim youth to kill the Hindu men and marry their women. The Indian Congress led government woefully failed to fight the Muslim youth, who had made Jihad their battle cry.
The ethnic cleansing was a success and all Hindus were driven out of the valley. This was the time for forceful military action, but the Indian government failed on all fronts. It is a matter of shame that in independent India, Hindus were driven from their homes in the valley. The entire Hindu community, left their property and escaped with just their clothes to India. Overnight they became refugees in their own homeland.
The BJP government which followed the Congress was also unequal to the task. A psychosis of fear gripped the Vajpayee government and the valley continued to simmer. Strong military action was not taken in the hope that militants will see reason and join the mainstream of Indian unity. This was a misplaced notion as the battle lines were accentuated and the local insurrection movement gathered more steam. Attacks by extremists became more frequent and many Indian soldiers were killed. The government however continued its policy of trying to appease the separatists. It even began to pay money as well as security to separatist leaders who had joined together under a loose umbrella called Hurriat.
All the Hurriat leaders should have tried for sedition and killings, but the Indian government just sat on its haunches. In fact it even was ready to negeoitiate with a known killer of Indian Air Force personnel. This man named Yasin Malik was absolved of all charges as the Manmohan Singh government negeoiated with him. Other Hurriat leaders frequently met Pakistan leaders and their High Commissioner in Delhi. All this went on under the nose of the Indian government.
In the meantime the Pakistan government continued to give arms, money and active support to the movement in Kashmir. Over a 100 terrorist training camps were identified by the CIA and details given to the Indian government. India never had the will or the weaponry to attack these camps. Partly this was due to the fact that all along the last 65+ years of independence, the military had been allowed to go to seed. India did not have decisive military superiority and an attack on the camps could have well led to an infructuous exercise. Even in the valley the security forces were told to exercise restraint even as the so called mujahadin began attacking the BSF, CRP and Indian army with impunity.
The situation in the valley is now bad. It is not entirely the creation of Pakistan. Most of the men taking part in this insurrection are young Muslim youth from Kashmir who have been indoctrinated in the name of Islam. The movement, in particular the armed struggle is going on for 2 decades and now it appears to be gathering steam. One can say that the kid glove treatment of the insurrection in Kashmir for the last 2 decades has led to this stage. Now there are daily attacks on security forces and there is very little headway towards normalcy in Kashmir.
The Indian government has blundered for the last 7 decades. By now the valley should have been integrated with India and special status abolished. People and terrorists involved in killings should have been nailed. This did not happen and resulted in demoralising even those Muslims who wanted to remain with India. The Indian nation may have to pay a terrible price for past acts in the future.
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