On August 15, 2008, on India’s Independence Day, Kashmir valley witnessed an unprecedented event as Pakistani flag was hoisted in Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar while Indian security forces stood by as moot and passive spectators. Following this, on August 18, 2008, separatists organized a huge rally attended by over 100,000 Kashmiri Muslims denouncingIndiaand demanding Azadi and the imposition of Islamic rule inKashmir. The demonstration was led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani an ex-government school teacher and Congress supported former Member of J&K Legislative Assembly. He was accompanied by other Kashmiri Muslim leaders such as Mirwaiz Omar a religious leader, former terrorists Shabir Shah, Yasin Malik and invited guests such as leftist writer Arundhati Roy and other fellow travelers for maximum propaganda effect.
According to press reports (Guardian 8/22/08) “there were green flags on every lamp post, every roof, every bus stop, and on the roof of chinar trees. A big one fluttered outside the All India Radio building. Roadsides were painterd over.Rawalpindithey said or simplyPakistan”
Everywhere there were Pakistani flags, everywhere the cryPakistanse rishta kya? La illah illah (What is our bond withPakistan? There is no God but Allah.) Azadi ka matlab kya? La illah illah (What does freedom mean? There is no god but Allah). The crowd chanted “crushIndia”, “When Lashkar comesIndiawill be defeated”, “Kashmirki Mandi-Rawalpindi”.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani a leader of Pro-Pakistani faction of Hurriyet began his address with a recitation of Qur’an told the crowd that the only way for the struggle to succeed was to turn to Quran for guidance. He said “Pakistanwas created for Islam and must continue to safe guard interests of Islam. Likewise inKashmirnationalism will not work, the American world order will not work, only Islam unites us……….”
In an interview (Rediff.com) with Asha Khosa on August 25, 2008, Mr. Geelani expounded on his plans forKashmir. He said “I have a three point target, first to impose Islamic Nizam (jurisprudence) inKashmir. Islam should govern our political thought, socio economic plans, culture and the ongoing movement. The creed of socialism and secularism should not touch our lives and we must totally be governed by Koran and Sunnat (precedents from Prophet Muhammad’s life)”.
Watching this scenario unfold in theKashmirValleymust give the rulers inPakistan, the Pakistani Army and ISI great satisfaction. Having failed to annex Kashmir by force in 1947, 1965 and 1971 wars withIndia,Pakistanwas finally achieving Islamization of Kashmir through subversion, intrigue, media manipulation and terrorism.
ISLAMIZING KASHMIR VALLEY
To achieve the goal of Islamization, Pakistan ISI had been working hard for over 30 years to change the centuries old Kashmiri Muslim outlook of secularism and Kashmiriyet to the ideology of fundamentalist Islam. This was done by implanting seeds of subversion and terrorism in two stages:
Stage I began in 1965, with operation “Gibraltar” with heavy infiltration of Pakistani nationals as well as military training of Kashmiri Muslim youth. These youths were recruited by Jamaat-i-Islami a theo –fascist outfit with connections to Rabita-ul-Islam the international headquarters of the Islamic fundamentalist movement based in Saudi Arabiaand Pakistani Jamat-i-Islami. This organization developed an elaborate infrastructure for propagating Wahabi style Islamic ideology through mosques, study groups and schools in Kashmiri towns and villages with the connivance of civil adminstartion funded by Indian tax payers. Study circles received money directly from Arab countries through the medium of Muslim Welfare Society, ostensibly for promoting Islamic culture. In mid seventies these Study Circles started operating openly in colleges and universities as well as in Government offices. Moulvis were recruited from UP and Bihar in Indiato whip up communal and secessionist passions. These Moulvis have played a critical role in subverting the Kashmiri Sufi-Islamic tradition and whip up passions against secular and liberal Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims. To expand its influence among women Shoba-i-Khowateen was launched. It advocates strict observance of Islamic codes for women. Its impact began to be noticed when Kashmiri women who for centuries never accepted veil now were using Arab style Burqa. Many members of this organization formed Dukhtarain-i-Millat with the goal of supporting Islamic terrorists by engaging in intelligence gathering, ferrying arms, keeping under custody the kidnapped victims as well as raking up false stories of human rights abuse and accuse Indian security forces of committing rapes in order to gain international media attention. Stage I produced Kashmiri leaders such as Yasin Malik of JKLF, Syed Ali Shah Geelani of Jamat, Dr. Ayub Thukar of World Kashmiri Movement, Ghulam Nabi Fai of Kashmir American Council as well as Syed Sallahudin of Hizbul Mujahdeen based in Pakistan. These people have been at the forefront of media manipulation to denigrate India and present Islamic movement in Kashmir as a movement for liberation and freedom to hoodwink Indian and foreign Journalists, Academics and Politicians.
Stage II of Pakistani subversion and terrorism began with operation “TOPAC” in late 70’s after the defeat of Pakistan in 1971 war with India. It was designed as part of a proxy war byPakistanagainstIndiato wrest control ofKashmir. Having established a viable fundamentalist Islamic infrastructure through Jamat controlled schools, colleges and with thousands of trained sympathizers in the police and civilian government, Operation TOPAC aimed to bleedIndiaand make it powerless inKashmir. The goal was to providePakistancomplete deniability of its involvement as the conflict would appear as an indigenous uprising by Kashmiri Muslims fighting for Azadi against “oppressive Hindu Indians”. Operation TOPAC was conceived by Gen. Zia Ul Huq as an Action Plan for incorporation of Kashmir intoPakistanthrough Jihad and creating a grass roots movement of freedom fromIndiausing Islam as the uniting force.
Operation TOPAC had four aims:
1. Train Kashmiri youths in handling of sophisticated arms
2. To destabilize and discourage the state administration
3. To makeKashmirvalley a Hindu-less Muslim area.
4. To prepare Kashmiri Muslims for Jehad.
This was to be accomplished in two phases:
1. The sentiments of students and farmers be aroused againstIndiaand their cooperation will be sought for anti-government demonstrations and riots.
2. Create chaos and spread terror
3. Impart military training to Mujahdeen for fighting Para-military forces and the army
4. Disrupt communication links between the valley,Jammuand Laddakh.
5. Help of Sikh militants be sought for insurgency activities inJammuregion in order to divert the attention of security forces in the valley and make the governments position awkward and disgraceful
6. Take control of the areas where security forces are camped.South Kashmiris suitable for this action.
1. Mount pressure on the Indian Army in Siachin, Kargil, Rajouri and Poonch areas in order to bring down the morale
2. Sudden and vigorous attacks be made on the Army depots and Army convoys atSrinagar, Pattan, Kupwara, Bandipoa and Chowkibal.
3. Afghan Mujahdeen would be infiltrated from Azad Kashmir (PakistanoccupiedKashmir) in order to intensify the freedom struggle of Kashmiri Mujahdeen.
4. Mistake in carrying out “Operation Gibraltar” of 1965 should not be repeated.
5. Special task force under the command of retired Pakistani Army Officers, mainly Afghans will be sent to blast the railway stations, Aerodrome, Jawahar Tunnel, Leh Sonamarg road and Army cantonments etc. After successful operations in the valley, parts ofJammuand Laddakh will also be brought under the full fledged armed insurgency operation.
OPERATION “TOPAC” IN ACTION
The very first evidence of the presence of arms and trained terrorists in the valley came in August 1988 during the riots that occurred inSrinagarafterPakistanPresident General Zia-ul-Huq’s death in an air crash. The entire town ofSrinagarwas in turmoil with wide spread looting and arson. Curfew had to be imposed on several areas of inner-citySrinagarstrong hold of Jamat-i- Islami. During curfew hours mobs attacked the paramilitary police with semi-automatic weapons, a phenomenon which was unknown before this time.
After a lull of one year violence started again in September 1989 with the murder of prominent Kashmiri Hindus such as a prominent Lawyer Mr. Tika Lal Taploo, Justice Neel Kanth Ganjoo, famous Kashmiri poet Sarwanand Premi along with thousands of Hindu teachers, engineers, doctors and civil servants.
Mosques became the hotbed of terrorist activity during the winter months of 1989-90 for the recruitment of Kashmiri Muslim boys for the cause of Jihad. Video shows describing terrorist tactics and guerilla warfare began running on a 24 hour basis in the mosques and other public places.Pakistantelevision and radio started creating a sense of hysteria by broadcasting vicious propaganda aimed at arousing the religious feelings among Kashmiri Muslims. Posters started appearing inSrinagarand other towns asking people to observe strict Islamic codes regarding dress, food and entertainment. Video shops and cinema theaters were forced to shut down, drinking of alcohol was banned. Pakistani currency started to appear in circulation and several attempts were made to ban Indian currency. By the end of 1989Kashmirvalley had become a de-facto Pakistani territory with each move of the terrorists legitimized and accepted by the public under duress. Young men wielding guns and pistols began to be accepted as a status symbol inKashmirand being called a Mujhdeen became a real honor for the Muslim boys and their families.
On January 4, 1990 Aftab an Urdu daily ofSrinagarpublished a press release from Hizbul Mujahdeen asking Kashmiri Hindus to leaveKashmiror face annihilation. Alsafa another Urdu newspaper repeated these warnings. On January 19, 1990 JKF, Hizbul-Mujahdeen and other terrorist outfits declared the introduction of Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic rule) inKashmir.
On the night of January 19, 1990 all mosques in the valley began to issue threats and warnings to Kashmiri Hindus with loudspeakers broadcasting taped messages, continuously for 24 hours for three consecutive days creating a psychosis of fear and doom.
“Kashmir mein agar rehna hai; Allah-o-Akbar Kehna hai” ( If you want to live inKashmiryou will have to convert and chant Allah-o-Akbar)
“Asi gachchiPakistan; Batao roas te Batni san” (We wantPakistanwith Kashmiri Hindu women but without their men folk)
“Yhan kya chalega; Nizame Mustafa” ( What kind of law will work here Islamic law)
These threats led to the exodus of 350,000 Kashmiri Hindus form the valley ensuring complete Islamization.
MANIPULATION OF MEDIA
1. Misguided Youths, Militants, Jehadis and Islamic Terrorists
The manipulation of Indian media by Kashmiri Muslims began in late sixties after 1965 Indo Pak war with the formation of Jamat-i-Islami affiliated Al-Fatah and Muslim Janbaz Force. These outfits were at the forefront of armed terrorists acts inKashmir. Their cadres received training inPakistanand funding from Arab countries, eventually morphing into JKLF (Jammu and KashmirLiberation Front) and present day Hurriyet with the active backing ofPakistan. JKLF and Hurriyet touts itself as a secular even though its core ideology is to impose Islamic rule inKashmirand banish Kashmiri Hindus. No one in the media ever questioned why its leaders were only Muslims if it was indeed secular. When some of their activists were arrested and convicted for murder, loot and arson the sympathetic J&K Government Officials would release them by referring to them as Misguided Youths. As reported inIndiaToday, April 30, 1990 “Between July and December 1989, 70 hardcore terrorists were released by Farooq Abdullah government. All detentions had been confirmed by the Advisory Body headed by the Chief Justice of theJammu and KashmirHigh Court”. No one in the media took Farooq Abdullah to task for releasing convicted killers and thus encouraging more terrorism.
These misguided youths later became, Militants, Jehadis and now Islamic terrorists
2. Migrants, refugees or internally displaced people
Kashmiri Hindus forced to flee their homes were dubbed as Migrants by Kashmiri Muslim press. No one in Indian media challenged this terminology. Calling them refugees or internally displaced people would call into question the secular façade ofKashmirvalley and its Muslim Leadership who were in cahoots with the Congress Government.
3. Militant religious organizations operating under secular garb
InKashmirvalley many organizations espouse to be secular where as their core membership comprises of people with close association with Jamat-i-Islami such as People’s League, People’s Democratic Party, and Hurriyet etc. OutsideIndia, World Kashmir Movement (WKM) inLondonand Kashmir American Council (KAC) inWashingtonDCserve as mouthpiece of Islamists and pro Pakistani elements. These organizations have hired western lobbyists to project Islamic terrorists as freedom fighters fighting for liberation of J&K fromIndia. These Lobbyists are paid byPakistanand Arab countries.
In order to keepIndiaand its security forces on the defensive these organizations employ leftist Indian Journalists, Academics and politicians to espouse and parrot the cause of the secessionist. Kashmir American Council has published pamphlets for distribution to journalists and members of the Congress and Senate in theUSA. These pamphlets have sympathetic reports from Ashok Mitra of Daily Telegraph 5/16/1990, Dr. N. Y. Dole of Rashtra Seva Dal, Syed Shahabudin President Insaf party, reports from All India Revolutionary Students Federation Karnatka, Dipankar Bhattacharya, Secretary General, India’s People Front, Minoo Masani of Dalit Voice and retired Justice V. M Tarkunde. In order to discredit Indian security apparatus inKashmir, Separatists falsely accused Indian Army of rape which was at first accepted at face value and reported as such by the leftist Indian media.
In the last 18 years new generations of anti- Indian Mao- Islamists have been recruited to be the mouthpiece of radical Islamists operating under the secular garb. Some of them are Dr. Angana Chaterjee,Arundhati Roy,ASAiyar etc. These pamphlets are used to give legitimacy to the point of view espoused byPakistanfunded secessionists outfits.
4. Worldwide Disinformation Campaign through Demonstrations, Symposiums andTours
Pakistani ISI and Arab countries have organized and funded the formation of various organizations in Kashmir and around the world to coordinate demonstrations, organize symposiums and lectures to promote disinformation regarding human rights abuses by Indian security forces and project humane face of Islamic insurgency fighting for the liberation ofKashmir. Some of these organizations are: Muslim Welfare Society, Falah-I Am Trust, Dukhtarain-e-Millat in Kashmir and Kashmir American Council in Washington D. C, World Kashmir Movement inLondon, International Institute of Kashmir Studies inLondon,Jammu and KashmirCouncil for Human Rights in London etc. Amir of Jamat-i-IslamiPakistanQazi Hussein frequently toursSaudi Arabia,Egypt,Sudan,Qatar,Kuwait, UAE in support of Independence of Kashmir and fund raising.
One of the earliest examples of disinformation campaign undertaken by Kashmiri Muslims and their secular allies inIndiawas to deny that any atrocity or ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Hindus had happened. All the blame for the exodus of 350,000 Hindus was laid on Governor Jag Mohan who according to them wanted Hindus out so that he could deal with the Islamic terrorists. Indo American Kashmir Forum has worked hard to debunk this canard through symposiums and workshops.
Another example of disinformation was the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chittisingpora nearSrinagaron 3/20/1990 by armed Islamic terrorists dressed in official Indian Army uniforms. Islamists and its allies in Indian media initially blamed Indian Army for the massacre which was proven not to be the case after detailed investigation by Barry Bearak of New York Times.
5. Task Forces, Petitions and Letter Writing Campaigns.
Faroukh Kathwari a prominent U. S based Kashmiri Muslim businessman has financed Kashmir Study Group composed of University Professors and U. S Diplomats to examine the situation in Kashmirand propose solutions. The Islamist Separatists have taken politicians, journalists and diplomats from various countries to visit Kashmirvalley for propaganda purposes to show-case human rights abuses by Indian security forces. The cadres of Jamat-i-Islami along with Dukhtaran-i- Millat are used to spin horror stories with usual drama. Whenever there is a demonstration in the valley KAC, WKM get into action and activate their friends and sympathizers worldwide to write petitions and letters to the United Nations as well as various Government Agencies. Recent case of a petition to U.N by Dr. Angana Chaterjee againstJammu agitation in support of Amarnath Yatra is a good example.
Reacting to the demonstrations inSrinagar, a well known liberal Indian Columnists Swaminathan A. Aiyar in Times of India dated 8/17/08 wrote: “We promised Kashmiris a plebiscite six decades ago. Let us hold one now and give them three choices: independence, union withPakistanand union withIndia. Almost certainly the Valley will opt for independence.Jammuwill opt to stay withIndiaand probably Laddhakh too. Let Kashmiris decide the outcome not the politicians and armies ofIndiaandPakistan.”
On 8/19/08 Arundhati Roy commented to Times of India “Indianeeds Azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs Azadi fromIndia”
It is surprising that these Indian columnists who claim to be liberal, secularist have no problem to propose the dismemberment of Indiato appease and satisfy Islamist demands. It seems after sixty years of partition we Indians have learned nothing from Muslim mechanization of deceit through Taki’ya to createPakistan which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Hindus from West Punjab, Sindh andEast Bengal. If we do not wake up it is only a matter of time that India will be partitioned into hundreds of small Muslim enclaves governed by Qura’nic Sharia laws, virtually no-go zones for Hindus and Indian security forces from where Indian Mujahdeen will be free to engage in murder and arson to terrorize Indians and demand freedom from the “Oppressive Hindus”. Recently Gen. (rtd.) S. K. Sinha, former Governor J&K gave an interview with Kallol Bhattacharjee, The Week 31/08/2008, which sums the challenge we face in Indian media. He said:
“There is an environment of religious intolerance inKashmir. There was ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) from the state but no one talks about them.Kashmirhas been Talibanized by the Separatists. The Secular lobby never condemns the communal politics of Syed Ali Shah Geelani”.
This article has been written by Mr. Hira Fotedar
Hira Fotedar is Co-Founder and past President of IAKF (Indo-American Kashmir Forum). This paper was presented at the Sixth Annual Human Empowerment Conference in Chicago in October 2008 as a Case Study in manipulation of Indian media.