3 reasons about the Radicalization of Kashmir(1947-90)..
In 1990,Tej Krishan Razdan, came back from Punjab to his native village in Budgam District, as he had heard in the TV, and read in the Newspapers about the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir valley. The Target-Killing of Kashmiri Pandits had started. He wanted to make sure that his family is safe and was thinking of shifting his family to a safer place. Little did he knew , What was in store for Him.
On 12th Feb. 1990,in Budgam, He was accosted by one of his Muslim friends. He persuaded Tej Krishan, to accompany him to Srinagar and both boarded the Matador from Budgam to Srinagar. When the Matador reached Gaw-Kadal, Suddenly, his Friend, pulled out a Revolver and Shot him several Times in the chest. He was dragged to the Local Masjid and his Dead Body was put on display there. It was only in the evening, with Police intervention, his body could be secured.
He was killed mercilessly. So were hundreds of KP’s. Before Killing a KP , the militant in many cases would subject the Body to dismemberment, and incidents , like gouging out of eyes, Multiple Fractures, Skinning of KP Victims took place. The inhuman way of Killing was a part of their Planned Strategy, That was carried out by the Militants backed by Pakistan. The message was clear to the KP’s that, “Don’t you dare to stay here “.
Apart from the target individual killings of the Pandits; to keep away KP’s from coming back into the valley, the Pakistani Backed Militants also carried out Massacres’ of Kashmiri Pandits from Time to Time. On 21 Mar. 1997, in Sangrampra, 7 KP’s were led away in the dark and shot dead. On 25 jan. 1998, in Wandhama, 23 KP’s were massacred and the local Temple damaged. On 23 March 2003, at Nadimarg, 24 KP’s were massacred.
Not only that, to dissuade the KP’s and instill a fear psychosis, the Militants confronted KP’s in Jammu region too.3 KP’s were Killed in Garhat Gool village, Ramban by the Militants impersonated as Army men. They identified and separated 5 KP’s amongst the passengers that were travelling in the Bus. There were Muslims as well as Hindu Dogras too travelling in the same Bus, but they were not touched by the Militants. The 5 KP-men were ordered to alight from the Bus. Sensing danger, 2 KP’s escaped from the clutches of their captors as one jumped down into the ravine and the other one ran up towards the Hill. The rest of the3 KP’s were Shot Dead. There was a 6th KP in the Bus, who escaped Death , as he did not revealed his real identity. Instead, he had introduced himself as a Muslim and was thus saved.
The message was again Loud and Clear to KP’s-“Don’t you dare to return, back to the valley”.
All these actions were not abrupt. In fact, if we look from 1947 onwards, the complete-Radicalization of the valley took many years and was carried out in at least 3 stages, before its culmination in 1990.
Sheikh Abdullah’s Bonhomie with Jawahar Lal Nehru was well Known. He formed “All Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference” in Oct.1932.The name itself suggested that the party ,he formed,was Muslim-centric. In 1939, He changed the name of “Muslim conference” to “All Jammu & Kashmir National Conference” and affiliated it to “All India state people’s conference”. At that time Pt.Jawahar Lal Nehru was the president of that conference. It is evident that Sheikh Abdullah was persuaded by Pt Nehru in one way or other to shun the Muslim conference, make a new party that looks secular, and affiliate the party to his conference.
After Maharaja Hari Singh signed the “Treaty of accession” with India, with the support of PT.Nehru, Sheikh was elected as the 2nd Prime Minister of J&K in March 1948. He remained as the Prime Minister of J&K till 1953, when he failed to prove his majority in the House. In fact all his Cabinet pledged their support to Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed-who went on to become the third Prime minister of J&K.PT. Nehru too was instrumental in abdicating the Shiekh. By, this time, the cracks had appeared in the Friendship of Pt.Nehru and Sheikh.
Pt. Nehru was informed by the Indian intelligence agencies about the ploy hatched by the Pakistani Intelligence agencies, CIA and Sheikh Abdullah and their information was substantiated by the Proof and Documents. From the Proof, It became clear that Sheikh was working against the Nation. For this Sedition, He was incarcerated by Bakshi Gh. Mohd.
The Plebiscite front was formed by Mohammed Afzal Beg -a trusted aide of Sheikh Abdllah- on 9th Aug 1955.He became its titular Head and Sheikh Abdullah was made the Patron of the Front. .From 1955 till 1974, The Plebiscite front acted as the main opposition. To Garner support, the members of this group exploited the religious sentiments of the Muslim Majority of the valley. Plebiscite front issued its own version of decree; and urged the people of Kashmir not to vote for the Congress or NC. Pertinently, National Conference was merged into the congress from 1965 till 1975.
At various gatherings, they would invoke the verses from the Holy “Quran” and incite the religious sentiments amongst the people. They intertwined politics and Islam for as long as “Plebiscite front” existed. They sowed the seeds of Hatred between the Hindus and Muslims of Kashmir.
The objective of the Plebiscite front was to carry out a referendum and through the referendum come to the conclusion whether:
1.Kashmir should accede into Pakistan
2.Remain with India
3.Become Independent Nation.
But after the “Indira-Sheikh” accord in 1974, Strangely , or rather comically, the Titular Head of the Front, Mohammed Afzal Beg, proclaimed that the purpose of the Plebiscite front was to cement Kashmir into India forever. Following the agreement with the Union government, Sheikh Abdullah merged the Plebiscite Front into a renewed National Conference in 1975, which won the democratic elections and affirmed Abdullah as the new Chief Minister of J&K.
However, During their existence of almost 20 years, the seeds of communalism had sprouted in the Hearts of the Kashmiri Muslim and remained so even today.
Unsuccesful Operation Gibraltor(1965):
Ever since, J&K acceded into the Dominion of India, Pakistan had tried its best to snatch away Kashmir by any Means. They had kept a close watch on India .When in 1962, the war broke out between India and China; the vulnerability of India got exposed in front of the World. It became evident that the Militarily equipments are Out Dated and their Air-Force is below standard. At least, this is what Pakistan thought. They were confident that the weapons that India possessed at that time are no match to their’s.
The episode of 1963, when the Holy relic of Prophet Mohamed was stolen, had flared up the religious emotions of the Kashmiri Muslims, and the episode had developed an intense feeling of Islam in KM’s. Pakistan was of the view that because of this incident, KM’s will side with them, if they happen to attack India and enter into Kashmir.
In 1965, They got another shot in the arm, when in an armed confrontation with India at Rann of Kutch, they had some gain .All these factors, made them believe that they not only ready to take India Heads on, But defeat India and annex Kashmir. However, they did not wanted to indulge into a full-fledged war with India.
Under the Operation Gibraltar; Pakistan had planned to capture all the high passes of Jammu Kashmir, and send their troops in Disguise into J&K, incite the Public against India and give the whole episode the color of Local uprising against the state. Their initial Plans succeeded to some extent. But their Theory, that the locals with side with them, was far away from the reality.
Pakistan pushed 40,000 Army personal of Azad Kashmir Battalion impersonated as Locals(Pakistan claims less than 1000) into J&K, But they were identified by the locals of Kashmir as intruders and non-locals. It was the Locals-who gave information to the Indian Army about the intrusion-and the Army took the corrective actions immediately. The fiasco of “Operation Gibralter” resulted in the war of 1965 between India and Pakistan.
In April 1988, the President of Pakistan Gen. Zia-Ul-Hak, called a meeting in the President’s residential office. The meeting was attended by selected corps commanders, Top ISI Officials, an Afgan Mujahid Leader, and two Kashmir Liberation Front Leaders.The main contents from Presidents address were leaked through a mole from a third world country, and became available to India’s Research and Analysis wing (RAW) agents somewhere in sept-Oct 1988.The contents were as follows:
“Gentlemen, I have spoken on this subject at length before, therefore, I will leave out the details. As you know due to our pre-occupation in Afghanistan, in the service of Islam, I have not been able to put these plans before you earlier. Let there be no mistake, however, that our aim remains quite clear and firm-the liberation of the Kashmir Valley-our Muslim Kashmiri brothers cannot be allowed to stay with India for any length of time, now. In the past we had opted for hamhanded military options and therefore, failed. So, as I have mentioned before, we will now keep our military option for the last moment as a coup de grace, if and when necessary. Our Kashmiri brethren in the valley, though with us in their hearts and minds, are simple-minded folk and do not easily take to the type of warfare to which, say, a Punjabi or an Afghan takes to naturally, against foreign domination. The Kashmiris however have a few qualities which we can exploit. First, his shrewdness and intelligence; second, his power to persevere under pressure; and the third, if I may so say, he is a master of political intrigue. If we provide him means through which he can best utilize these qualities – he will deliver the goods. Sheer brute force is in any case not needed in every type of warfare, especially so in the situation obtaining in the Kashmir Valley, as I have explained earlier.
Here we must adopt those methods of combat which the Kashmiri mind can grasp and cope with-in other words, a coordinated use of moral and physical means, other than military operations, which will destroy the will of the enemy, damage his political capacity and expose him to the world as an oppressor. This aim, Gentlemen, shall be achieved in the initial phases.
In the first phase, which may, if necessary, last a couple of years we will assist our Kashmiri brethren in getting hold of the power apparatus of the State by political subversion and intrigue. I would like to mention here that as no Government can survive in Occupied Kashmir unless it has the tacit approval of Delhi, it would be unrealistic to believe that the MUF or any such organization can seize power through democratic or other means. In view of this,’ power must “apparently” remain with those whom New Delhi favours. We must therefore ensure that certain “favoured politicians” from the ruling elite be selected who would corporate with us in subverting all effective organs of the State. In brief, our plan for Kashmir, which will be codenamed as “Op Topac” will be as follows:
A low-level insurgency against the regime, so that it is under siege, but does not collapse as we would not yet want central rule imposed by Delhi.
We plant our chosen men in all the key positions; they will subvert the police forces, financial institutions, the communication network and other important organizations.
We whip up anti-Indian feelings amongst ” the students and peasants, preferably on some religious issues, so that we can enlist their active support for rioting and anti-Government demonstrations.
Organize and train subversive elements’ and armed groups with capabilities, initially, to deal with paramilitary forces located in the valley.
Adopt and develop means to cut off lines of communication between Jammu & Kashmir and within Kashmir and Ladakh by stealth, without recourse to force. The road over Zojila upto Kargil and the road over Khardungla should receive our special attention.
In collaboration with Sikh extremists, create chaos and terror in Jammu to divert attention from the valley at a critical juncture and discredit the regime even in the Hindu mind.
Establish virtual control in those parts of the Kashmir Valley where the Indian Army is not located or deployed. The Southern Kashmir Valley may be one such region.
Exert maximum pressure on the Siachen. Kargil and Rajauri-Punch sectors to force the Indian Army to deploy reserve formations outside the main Kashmir Valley.
Attack and destroy base depots and HQ located at Srinagar, Pattan, Kupwara. Baramulla. Bandipur and Chowkiwala by covert action at a given time.
Some Afghan Mujahideen, by then settled in Azad Kashmir, will then infiltrate in selected pockets with a view to extending areas of our influence. This aspect will require detailed and ingenious planning. The fiasco of Op Gibraltar (1965) holds many lessons for us here.
Finally a Special Force under selected retired officers belonging to Azad Kashmir, with the hard core consisting of Afghans, will be ready to attack and destroy airfields, radio stations, block Banihal Tunnel and Kargil-Leh Highway.
At a certain stage of the operations Punjab and adjacent areas of Jammu & Kashmir will be put under maximum pressure internally by our offensive posture.
Detailed plans for the liberation of Kashmir Valley and establishment of an independent Islamic State in the third phase will follow.
We do not have much time. Maximum pressure must be exerted before the general elections in India and before Indian Army reserves which are still bogged down in Sri Lanka become available. By the Grace of God, we have managed to accumulate large stocks of modern arms and ammunition from US consignments intended for Afghan Mujahideen. This will help our Kashmiri brethren achieve their goals. Even if we create a kind of “Azad Kashmir” in some remote parts of Occupied Kashmir as a beginning, the next step may not be as difficult as it appears today. On the other hand, it should also be noted that a part of the Indian Army, particularly the Infantry, will be well trained by now for such a situation due to their experience in the North-Eastern Region and more recently in Sri Lanka. But the situation in Kashmir will be somewhat different; more like the “Infetada” of Palestinians in towns, and on the pattern of the Mujahideen in the countryside to attack hard targets. A. period of chaos in the State is essential in the circumstances.
And what of our Chinese friends? They can do no more than ensure that Indian forces deployed against them are not moved. out; but this may be required only at the last or the third stage of our operations. Of course, if we are in serious trouble, the Chinese and our other powerful friends shall come to our rescue one way or the other. They will ensure if we do not
win-at least we don’t lose.
.”Finally, I wish to caution you once more that it will be disastrous to believe that we can take on India in a straight contest. We must, therefore, be careful and maintain a low military profile so that the Indians do not find an excuse to pre-empt us, by attacking at a time and at a point of their own choosing, at least before Phase 1 and 2 of the Operation are over. We must pause and assess the course of operations after each phase, as our strategy and plans may require drastic changes in certain circumstances. I need not emphasize any further that a deliberate and objective assessment of the situation must be ensured at each stage, otherwise a stalemate will follow with no good for Pakistan.
The seeds sown by the “Plebiscite Front”, and watered by its communal politics, and manure by Pakistan with “Operation Topac” gradually began bearing fruits for Pakistan. 1990 Jan is a testimony to the fact, that how the whole administration collapsed , and how the Mobocracy was rampant .The Fiasco of Operation Gibraltar prompted Pakistan to think differently.Rather than attacking India directly, they started a psychological war based on Islam and pushed forward their own version of islamization, that obliterated the Rishi-Sufi culture and burgeoned the salafi-wahabi culture in Kashmir. All the above factors made Kashmir the Hot-bed of Radicalization……