Homeland Security

J&K is much more than the Valley
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 10 Nov , 2015

The deceit of Kashmiri leaders and separatists in the Kashmir Valley, rooting for Pakistan, has acquired outrageous proportions. These elements largely belong to five districts in Kashmir Valley and constitute not more than 15 percent of the Sunni population. These include pro-Pak manipulators like Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Shabir Shah, Gilani, Asiya Andrabi, and some politicians from the Valley centric political parties.

…within the overall territory of J&K, Valley constitutes less than 10 percent of area…

The pro-Pak machinations of these politicians, circumvents public scrutiny, because of their art of duplicity, mastered over the years. Beguiling both Delhi and Islamabad, their forked tongue articulations has kept the Kashmir pot boiling. It is not uncommon for the father to speak in favour of Pakistan and separatists, even as the political heirs, son or daughter, adopt the contrary stance and vice-versa. For some 60 families in the Valley, the industry of ‘Kashmir Problem’ is a huge financial windfall.

The map above exposes the geographical and sociological fallacy of the anti-India and pro-Pak industry in the Kashmir Valley.

Hijacking of J&K

The map above reflects the reality of Jammu and Kashmir, Indian and Pakistan Occupied territories combined. This reality has all along been ignored or misinterpreted by vested interests. Out of the total area of 2,22,236 Sq.Km, the area presently held with India is approximately one lac Sq Km. The various regions within the Indian territory, as part of the total, measure as follows:-

Map Reference Region Area (Sq.Km) Percentage

(1)

Ladakh

45,110

20.3

(2)

Kargil

14,036

6.3

(6)

Kashmir Valley

15,948

7.2

(4)

Jammu

26,293

11.8

Note: The regions have been divided and numbered for ease of understanding of geographical and demographic character. They do not strictly follow geographical and political demarcations. In the Kashmir Valley, Badgam has been shown as separate entity because of its Shia majority. The upper reaches of Kupwara district are inhabited by Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims (3). The areas of Poonch, Rajouri have also been indicated under Reference (3), as they too have majority comprising Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims / Hindu / Sikhs and others. Parts of Doda have been included in Reference (4), as more than 40 percent population is of Hindus and majority of rest being again Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims. The percentages of various regions as indicated are approximate guidelines purely for purposes of analysis.

Geographically almost 90 percent of Jammu and Kashmir weighs on the Kashmir Valley. Yet, it is the Sunni Kashmiris, who have been dominating the J&K discourse.

From the Map it is evident that within the overall territory of J&K, the Kashmir Valley constitutes less than 10 percent of area, overwhelmingly inhabited by Sunni Muslims. In the East, it is impacted by Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims of Doda region and further East by a huge mass of Shia majority Kargil. Beyond Kargil in the East, isBuddhist Ladakh, which when combined with Aksai Chin is the largest geographical entity of J&K. In the South it is impacted by Hindu majority Jammu and Doda region. In the Southwest of Kashmir Valley are the regions of Poonch and Rajouri, where Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims / Hindus / Sikhs are in majority. In Kupwara, Baramulla and the higher reaches in the North, are areas dominated by Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims.Further North is the Shia majority area of Gilgit-Baltistan, gobbled by Pakistan.

From the map therefore, it can be averred that the Kashmir Valley 135 km long and 32 km wide constituting less than 10 percent of the area is circumscribed demographically by Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari Muslims, Shias, Hindus, Sikhs and further beyond, Buddhists. These religious and ethnic communities are devout Indians and are repelled by the idea of Pakistan. Geographically almost 90 percent of Jammu and Kashmir weighs on the Kashmir Valley. Yet, it is the Sunni Kashmiris, who have been dominating the J&K discourse. In debates on all television channels there is no or little representation from the other four larger entities.

It is a geographical truism, that larger and elevated landmass determine the ecological wealth of valleys and the plains, and sustain much large and dense populations. Compared to the Kashmiris, the inhabitants of the elevated regions of Ladakh and Kargil, and Pir Panjal range have as much, if not higher stakes in the J&K discourse, as in the Kashmir Valley.

Unencumbered by hostile borders and tough livelihood, the 60 odd families of the Valley enjoy the bounties of India in terms of indulgence and development.

Even in financial terms the mountains and hills are a bonanza for the state apparatus dominated by Kashmiris. About two million people visit Amarnath every year. On the other hand, every year, Vaishno Devi attracts 10 million pilgrims. The past religious umbilical with the Indian mainland serves the Kashmiri Muslims in many ways.

Border Sensitivities

The map also depicts the manner in which the Kashmir Valley is circumscribed by the people of Gujjars / Bakkarwals / Pahari extraction on higher reaches, and non – Sunni Kashmiri majority regions of Jammu, Poonch, Rajouri,Kargil and Ladakh regions. They are defenders of their motherland. In all wars with Pakistan the Gujjars and Paharis have served as eyes and ears of India. Jihadism emanating from Pakistan has been spurned by them, but embraced by the Sunnis of Kashmir. It is these people, who face the depredations and difficulties of living on the border. People living in the Valley are immune to these difficulties. Unencumbered by hostile borders and tough livelihood, the 60 odd families of the Valley enjoy the bounties of India in terms of indulgence and development.

The Christian missionary schools and other educational institutions have ensured that most people with articulation skills in English to be concentrated in the Valley. Probably apart from India, the bounties of nature, and India and Pakistan ISI have made some of them self-serving indolent anti-nationals. In the Valley these are essentially centered around the districts of Srinagar, Pulwama, Anantnag, and lower reaches of Kupwara and Baramula.

Every major terrorist attack in India, including 26/11 had Kashmiri footprints.

These are the people who scream about their border sensitivity even as people of other extractions suffer on the border areas, both on the Line-of-Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB), i.e. 1,216 Km of which 790 Km run along the LoC. Once the militants sneak through the higher reaches and descend into the Valley, they enjoy the hospitality industry created for promotion of jihadi terror not only in J&K but whole of India. Every major terrorist attack in India, including 26/11 had Kashmiri footprints. The separatists of the Kashmir Valley are oblivious about the people of Ladakh and the 1750Km border with China they have to contend with, in terms of threat and harsh environment. When most Kashmiris talk about their being border sensitive state, their horizon is limited to only a small part of PoK which very naturally discounts Gilgit-Baltistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan – a forgotten territory

The area of Gilgit-Baltistan has never figured in the J&K discourse in India by the self-appropriated Kashmiri spokesmen. It did not matter to the Kashmiri leaders when in 1949 the region was incorporated into Pakistan by way of Karachi Accord. No tears were shed when 80 percent of the PoK was hived off. No Kashmiri politician even moaned when in 1963 Pakistan ceded 5180 sq km of this territory to China. Even now there is no concern about the heavy presence of Chinese in the region, and the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor that has the potential to permanently alter the discourse of geography and sociology. As per reports China is investing $100 bn in Gilgit-Baltistan, $18 bn on tunnels alone. The announcement by Chinese President about Silk Route connecting Pakistan with Central Asia has disconcerted them, rather than enthused. People in the region continue to clamour for constitutional rights. The elections held under the GIilgit –Baltistan Empowerment and Self Government Order of 2009 in June this year have not assuaged their political aspirations. Politicians and Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir could hardly be bothered!

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and The Military Factor in Pakistan. His latest book is The Unmaking of Nepal.

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13 thoughts on “J&K is much more than the Valley

  1. Article 370 revoked by GOI. So a permanent solution in finally in sight. Hope it is peaceful one without any bloodshed and violence.
    It is an interesting article which opens the eye of the common man. The separatists have taken India for a ride and in Pakistan the Army has taken Pakistan for a ride.

  2. If the statics cited by the author are correct and h ave to be taken in to account to minimize the significance of Kashmir turmoil, then the question arises why has Indian been acquiescing to the blackmail of valley ruling class? Why is 60 per cent of planning allocated to Kashmir Valley? Why are innumerable perks and facilities provided to the valley population at the cost of other two regions? Why the revenue from Kashmir valley to the total income of the State is barely 35 per cent whereas from Jammu region it is nearly sixty percent? Why the number of employees in J&K Secretariat from the valley is almost 75 per cent?
    Again if the statistics presented by the writer are to be accepted, why does not a single tricolor flutter anywhere in any town or village or household in rural Kashmir and why ISIS and Pakistani flags are to be seen everywhere in the valley not only in downtown Srinagar?

  3. Only few % are hampering progress growth n prosperity in region this has to be explained to the people of J& K , these are selfish n greedy who are enjoying perks n prevail ages from both sides , are alive , they instigate other die n they enjoy ,army has lost so many ldr S as offs in valley but thes leaders will only make poor people die nth ey enjoy . They are nypocraets the sooner people of valley realise better it for them ,Remove Artical 371 of consition n all will smooth out .

  4. Brilliant analysis Col Singh ! Hear you a lot on national TV debates. Thanks for opening the eyes of Indian youth to the nasty pro pak establishments in India and to bring out the truth in the public domain which many uniformed people do not share because of the fear of such establishments. Would like to have your mail for correspondence .
    Regards

  5. This is an interesting take on Kashmir. It is valid because history has ended up making the valley’s population a geographical isolate. Article 370, the cleansing of Pandits from the valley, and the subsequent insurgency all contributed to greatly reducing the interaction the people of the valley have with the rest of Kashmir, much less the rest of India. So obviously given that this population has worked hard at not letting others have a stake in its settled zones, the old population weight argument cannot drive the socio-economics of J&K. Its various regions require local solutions to local problems. In any case, the valley was always likely to be densely populated since it has the most of amount easily accessible ground water owing to the rivers that drain it. But the headwaters of those rivers lie elsewhere. A point that people must understand while giving a valley centric majoritarian prescription for J&K’s future.

  6. Dear Ravi Sir,
    What you have highlighted is absolutely true. But there are still more disturbing issues. First is the gradual sunniisation of all non Sunni areas. During my travel to these areas I found that Kargil is slowly getting sunniised and so is Turtok area where Noorbakshis dominated. But money is an issue and slowly wahabbi funds are weaning them away with gratification by way of good education for the kids of rich while madrassas bloom for the poor. And I won’t be surprised if that map gets altered fully.

  7. The authors report about the insignificance of the valley in terms of the future of Kashmir is the upshot of this article. The separatist seems to have anointed themselves as the spokesperson for the entire region of Kashmir. It makes more sense to now consider them as agents of Pakistan with the only objective of someday turning Kashmir over to Pakistan. It is time the Indian government understand the game being played, relegate Article 370 to the dustbin and declare Kashmir as another state. For too long Kashmir has been a drag on the exchequer. It is time is they pull up by their bootstraps like any other state and the separatists need to be led to the border and kicked into Pakistan for good.

  8. I think Mohammad Yusuf Parray aliase Kuka Parry known as “king of counter-insurgency” operations in the Kashmir Valley belonged to one of the ethnic communities referred to above. He was groomed by Indian security agencies.He helped a lot to Security agencies to combat insurgency in Vally.He laid his life in an effort to bring back peace in J & K.

  9. What a marvelous piece by Col. Singh. His understanding of the Geopolitics complexities of Indian subcontinent is noteworthy.
    My only question: Are Shia Muslims of Kargil region not gravitating away from India? This is a query, not a premise.

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