Homeland Security

Politics over J&K Lockdown and Way Ahead
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 19 Aug , 2019

Politicization of the J&K lockdown has been gaining momentum with those opposing government move counting days and hours. The crescendo can be expected to rise with each passing day. Absence of reports of violent incidents during partial lifting of the lockdown has depressed those looking for a killing. Numerous politicians, scribes, scholars and TV channels have aligned with Pakistan are propagating Pakistani fake news and propaganda in contrast to ground reports and realities. Their aim is to only show the government in poor light for their own petty political ends, the nation be damned.

Cries are being raised that poor folks have been locked up like ‘rats’ and certain politicians and separatists confined. Surprisingly, there are no slogans of ‘award wapsi’. Talking of misery, they have no word to say about the thousands who have died, are displaced and lost their homes in multiple states of India due to floods. Neither would they comment upon schools in Tamil Nadu forcing children to wear coloured wrist-bands denoting their casts and the state education minister is adamant that this practice will continue.

The media does not feel it is news worthy and would exult in this rather than calling upon the Centre to cut off aid to Tamil Nadu till this practice is stopped and culprits punished. The stress on security forces even when FIRs are filed against them for opening fire in self-defence against marauding mobs of stone-pelters are of no concern to them.

But getting back to the lockdown, those crying blue murder may have preferred the five radicalized districts bombed like in Syria or dealt with the type of LTTE massacre Sri Lanka indulged in, giving them opportunity to launch a campaign they never had a chance. Importantly, none of them offer an alternative for dealing with the situation in J&K.

It is no secret that Farooq Abdullah was complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits; killing some 5000 and displacing a couple of hundred thousand – refugees in their own country. He has been periodically speaking the language of Pakistan and inciting the youth, as has his son. Mehbooba Mufti is no less than an over ground terrorist linked to the Pakistan-based Hijbul Mujahideen, and acts as mouthpiece of the ISI. Both these dynasties have amassed riches from the terror industry and when in power sucked the population by appropriating public money and grants, in addition to assisting Pakistan’s program to radicalize the youth.

As for the separatists, their deeds and plans are in public domain. Yasin Malik’s wife attended Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14 this year. Shah Faesal, separatist-cum-terrorist leader in making was detained at T-3 airport trying to flee to Turkey. The story that he was going abroad to lodge an appeal with ICJ perhaps is cover, actual mission to Turkey-Pakistan being seeking support for terrorism in J&K. It is obvious that calm during partial lifting of lockdown is because these politicians and separatists are detained, and uncertain of their future.

Whatever the government plans, lifting the lockdown totally in the five radicalized districts very soon may not be good. Given the flummoxed state Pakistan finds itself in, it will certainly orchestrate violence using its terrorist and radical agents in J&K, and through infiltrating terrorists, efforts for which have increased.

Kashmir was discussed in closed door meeting of UNSC on behest of China who being veto member nudged Poland who heads the UNSC chair which will pass onto Russia next month. But the China-Pakistan effort failed miserably, even though supported by UK. Pakistan stands even more isolated today. Realization is dawning, despite military propaganda, that China holds them to ransom culturally and economically in making most from the CPEC. Kashmiris need to realize what is good for them and what is happening to Pakistan with its failing economy.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister publicly announced before the UNSC meeting that Pakistan should not expect UN to receive them with garlands, as also not expect Muslim ummah support since India-Saudi Arabia and India-UAE relations are realigned. When Pakistan is abandoned by Muslim ummah for valid reasons, is it worth doing Pakistan’s bidding at the cost of development and own well being?

Government is already engaged in lifting the lockdown in pragmatic manner. There are positive indications of focus on investment in J&K and Ladakh which will usher in development, jobs and well being albeit this cannot be expected to show results overnight.

It must be clear to the terrorists that lifting of lockdown in the radicalized parts leading to terror attacks would result in its re-imposition. This would help deny public support for terrorists. Stone-pelting should be declared an offence, like in Israel, and dealt with accordingly. Politicians and separatists should be speedily investigated for terrorist links, money laundering, amassing wealth beyond their means, anti-national activities amounting to treason, and prosecuted speedily as required. Government must form a SIT or order Judicial Probe into the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits despite the Supreme Court not entertaining PIL for a probe under dim excuse of the case being old.

A harsher approach is warranted against Pakistan’s fake propaganda, radicalization and efforts to create Hindu-Muslim divide. Our counter action must expose Pakistan’s military (which has never won a war) at every opportunity, bringing out the misery they have brought upon their public. The Pakistani military (deep state) is the centre of gravity which must be constantly attacked and kept destabilized. In staving off Pakistan’s propaganda, our actions must go beyond legal notices to BBC and its reports; to include the enemy within.

It is about time politicians, so-called scholars, scribes and TV channels siding with Pakistan, instigating violence, religious divide, and propagating ideas not in our national interests are booked – under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019? Condoning such willful activities in the name of freedom of press and political activity shouldn’t be allowed any more. If the campaign to normalize Kashmir is to succeed, this is essential no matter the inevitable hue and cry.

There should be no laxity in disciplining those whose sole aim is to destabilize India for vested interests or in order to gain power. Intelligence agencies must seriously probe what foreign funds, especially ISI, support such media reporting. This should hardly be any problem; within journalistic circles, individuals are ready to indicate who all are living way beyond their means.

Many appear shocked that a recent appeal filed in the Supreme Court against revocation of Article 370 has two senior military veterans amongst the signatories. But this is no surprise given their past history and political affiliations.

One has been hobnobbing with separatists past years and has become their mouthpiece at seminars, once even suggesting that giving a playground to every school in the Valley could solve the problem of radicalization. This suggestion by him incidentally was concurrent to media showing a cricket match in a school in J&K with players wearing Pakistani cricket jerseys and caps, and a Pakistani flag in the ground.

The other fellow was to be court-martialed and dismissed from service till he begged the Chief in the corridor outside latter’s office, witnessed by guards, ADC and others that disclosure of his act would ruin his reputation, and that he be permitted to resign. So there is no cause to be disturbed; they are just two small specks amongst millions of military veterans.

News reports say that for the first time government had interacted with clerics in J&K to decide on which mosques recent Eid prayers should be held. Such interaction must be periodic considering that the erstwhile Sufi-cultured clerics of J&K have been systematically replaced with those of Wahabi thought. Not that these clerics should be dealt with as China is doing in Xinjiang, but it should be made explicitly clear to them that any sermons to radicalize the public would invite action. Same should be the case with teachers in schools and colleges, who must be screened and monitored.

The textbooks in educational institutions in the Valley creating the Muslim-non Muslim divide were ignored till now since education is state subject. This must be addressed forthwith since no amount of de-radicalization can work if upcoming generations are already imbibed with such thought.

Exercise of votes has not been killed in J&K contrary to the propaganda. Union Territory of J&K is to have a legislature. Besides, government has already said that in due course of time J&K would be given full statehood. Elections obviously can’t happen this year since government has announced delimitation of administrative boundaries, which in turn would delineate political constituencies, would take 4-5 months.

J&K also must be given time for the new political leadership to emerge if political leaders whose hands are mired in blood, terrorist links, money-making and anti-national activities are investigated and prosecuted. Hopefully this will happen.

Government has clarified that the Kashmir dispute is limited to Pakistan occupied J&K (PoJK) and territory of Kashmir under China’s illegal occupation. Therefore, the legislature of Union Territory of J&K must have specific seats for PoJK, which must be filled up by those who migrated from PoJK or those who have came to India on visa. As and when elections are held, government must also make casting of votes compulsory for Armed Forces, letting them vote at the place of posting as authorized by the Election Commission of India.

The new leadership of UK has shown its true colours not only by siding with Pakistan but permitting Pakistani radicals, supported by pro-Khalistanis, to attack the Indian Embassy in London and Indians outside the embassy. The about turn by UK PM Boris Johnson (named Brexit Clown by some) of erstwhile British stance that Kashmir is a bilateral India-Pakistan issue requires stern Indian response beyond simple protest notes.

The Khalistan and Free Kashmir supporters even today brazenly indulge in anti India propaganda in UK. Besides, all our escapees of law, the likes of Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallaya, Nirav Modi, Nadeem (total 57) are leading luxurious lives in UK, despite India’s Extradition Treaty with UK of 1992.

India has made no comments about China placing millions of Muslims in concentration camps in Xinjiang, anti-China protests in Hong Kong, and militarization of South China Sea against established international norms. Yet, China made unsavory comments about removal of Article 370, went to UNSC and says if Muslims collectively oppose India’s move on J&K, it’ll be hard to control the situation; all this when President Xi Jinping is to visit India in October.

Why is it that countries like Australia, Japan, Vietnam, Canada speak against China but we being the sixth largest economy and third largest military power choose to remain mum, at best resorting to some soft diplomatic explanations? Isn’t it time we stand up and our foreign policy vis-à-vis China becomes more vocal, especially since China backs Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in J&K and Chinese funds for terrorism in J&K have been coming?

Finally coming to Pakistan, it is unlikely their rogue leadership will change its ways. India has consistently stood for a strong Pakistan but Pakistan has done the opposite. Open rallies attended by Pakistani officials, military included, have called for balkanizing India.

Our military is capable of dealing with Pakistan but at the same time as a nation we must acknowledge inroads in Kashmir militancy by organizations like ISIS and AQIS – who also have Pakistani links. India must focus to pay Pakistan back in the same coin, without conventional conflict. Fears of repercussions of Pakistan’s implosion on India are unfounded; these can be managed with adequate planning and preparation. Pakistan raised terrorist organizations specific for India, which continue to be provided full state support.

There is no reason we shouldn’t accommodate a Free Balochistan Government-in-Exile. Two strong but diagonally opposite forces are active in Pakistan. The Pashtuns, Balochis, Sindhis are against the Pakistani army’s call for jihad against india in Kashmir. Punjabis, are with the military for jihad against India. Baloch battalions have predominant Punjabi officers for fear of mutiny. The internal strife and precarious economic situation has created serious fault lines. Unless India pays back Pakistan in the same coin, there is no way it will see sense.

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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

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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3 thoughts on “Politics over J&K Lockdown and Way Ahead

  1. This is an excellent article to demonstrate the limited thinking skills of the general. For example, the writer states Pakistan is internationally isolated, after acknowledging that China, UK, Turkey, and Poland facilitated the UN discussion on Kashmir. Unless the general considers these countries to be in India, which again brings to question his understanding of basic geography.

  2. Don’t keep harping on the Kashmiri pundit as justification for misdeeds to the Kashmiri people.
    This is whataboutry
    If one has to indulge in it what about the 200,000 killed in Jummu by Hari Singh.
    With the connivance of the RSS
    Google partition Jummu riots

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