Homeland Security

White Paper on 35-A?
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 04 Aug , 2019

In the Kashmir Valley, there has been an unprecedented accretion of security personnel. First 100 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), comprising BSF, CRPF, and ITBP were inducted; followed by another 25,000 personnel. The Union Government has truncated the Amarnath Yatra. Tourists, both Indian and foreign, have been asked to terminate their tour. There is an embargo on ‘leave; of security personnel have been cancelled.

By all indications, there is something epoch making in the offing with regards to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Enforcement Directorate questioned Farooq Abdullah over allegedly misappropriating over Rs 43 crore. The alleged misappropriation was from grants given by the Board of Control for Cricket in India to the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) for promoting the sport in the state between 2002-11. Kashmiri separatists like Shabir Shah, Asiya Andrabi and Masarat Alam Bhat have been arrested on charges of terror funding. Significantly they were produced in a Delhi Court.

By all indications, there is something epoch making in the offing with regards to Jammu and Kashmir.

This prevailing inflection point in history was inevitable because of the very cultural and religious journey, the Kashmir Valley made in the last 70 years. It was the Pakistani – jihadi engine that pulled Kashmir towards ‘global jihad’. The said jihadi engine was assembled soon after independence even as the killings during partition had not abated. The tribal, who invaded Kashmir in October 1947, were galvanized in the name of Islam and jihad. It is proven that the British were part of this unholy project. In fact, Jinnah was so sure that Hindu India would capitulate by the invasion that he located himself from Karachi to Lahore to celebrate the final victory in Sri Nagar. The British military officers, who were still part of Pakistan and Indian military were even more certain. To their shock, the invaders were thrown out. One of the major reasons for the Pakistani setback was that lust and greed had prevailed over the jihadi spirit of the invading tribal Pashtuns.

What saved J&K at that time was the professionalism and tenacity of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. Nevertheless, Kashmiriyat was no less a factor in driving away the jihadis. Kashmriyat was predicated on the Hindu past. Walter R Lawrence, an ICS Officer, in his book ‘The Valley of Kashmir’, published in 1895 has the following to say: “… Kashmiris are at heart Hindus, it may be mentioned that certain places are held in reverence by Hindus and Musalmans alike. As an instance, at Fattehpura in the Vernag Ilaka and at Waripura in the Magam Ilaka, I have seen the imprint of a foot in a stone worshipped by the Musalmans as Kadam-i-Rasul (the Prophet’s footprint) and by the Hindus as Vishnu Pad (Vishnu’s foot).” Pg.326.

Lamentably, with the passage of time Pakistan’s jihadi engine was imparted jihadi impetus by the separatists, Muftis and Abdullahas of the Valley. They were allowed to becometoo overbearing at the cost of political capital in Jammu and Ladakh. They are the ones responsible for smothering Kashmiriyat in the Valley. Kashmiriyat died in 1991 when half a million Hindu Kashmiris were driven out from the Valley. With the Hindus out, Kashmir Valley turned a huge ghetto. This ghetto became vicious, incestous and self-destructive after the arrival of global jihadis freed from the ‘war against Soviets in Afghanistan’ in the early 90s. Maulvis from UP and Bihar swooped in large numbers in the mosques and madrasas of the Valley. They took complete control of the mind and thought of the citizens particularly the youth. These youth went on to become collaborators and proxy soldiers of the Pakistan military-intelligence establishment. It may be mentioned that it was the Maulvis of UP and Bihar, who were primarily responsible for creation of Pakistan.

…with the passage of time Pakistan’s jihadi engine was imparted jihadi impetus by the separatists, Muftis and Abdullahas of the Valley.

Ghettos, in absence of alternative narrative or alternative wisdom, acquire a dynamics of their own. A situation arrives when the state has to choose between abandoning territorial sovereignty and disassembling of ghettos, whatever it may take. India today is precisely at this juncture. Preservation of the state entails some hard and revolutionary decisions and actions.

 The phase of global jihad in the Valley began with the onset of 1990s. It was an indirect outcome of the jihadi war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. These forces were temporarily in disarray after the military offensive of the US in wake of 9/11. Yet, in all these years, India continued to be victim of Pakistan sponsored jihadi terror. In the early 1990s, when global jihadis struck Kashmir, they felt triumphant because they believed they had humbled a super power.

The same sense of triumph is palpable now. The US-Taliban talks and Pakistan’s mediatory role has engendered this triumphalism. In this author’s assessment, the Islamic State in Afghanistan or in the subcontinent is an undeclared child of Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment. Ever since the specter of Taliban taking over Afghanistan has been on the horizon, the LeT and JeM have started relocating their cadres in Afghanistan. As per Pentagon, 300 LeT militants have relocated in Afghanistan in Kunar, Nangrahar, Kabul, Ghazni, Khost and Kandhar. They have been provided bases in these areas by the Islamic State. As per the UN, the LeT is the key provider of militants, weapons and finance to the Haqqani Group. The Madrasas in Peshawar that supply recruits to LeT are Ganj Madarasa, Jamia Madarasa, Hazrat Bilal Madrasa and Markaz-e-Khyber. Similarly, the JeM is supporting Taliban from its bases in Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman and Ghazni. Many Punjabi recruits owing allegiance to JeM are fighting under the Taliban, which includes suicide bombers .

Therefore Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir are part of the same jihadi ecosystem. The US in the 80s created the global jihadi infrastructure to win the Cold War. Indeed it won. Pakistan then reconfigured the same infrastructure into a India-centric global jihadi apparatus.

The US had made a sudden exit from the region after winning the Cold War, leaving the global jihadi machine intact. As a consequence, India suffered from unremitting terror by global jihadis all these years. The US is on the verge of a similar exit after three decades, this time leaving the global jihadis controlled by Pakistan with greater jihadi ambitions and far more sinister agenda.

India shall not and will not suffer the global jihadis because of geopolitical machinations of the powers that be. It is an existential threat and therefore hard decisions have to be taken, and they are indeed being taken.

It is an existential threat and therefore hard decisions have to be taken, and they are indeed being taken.

Some of us Indians, who place too much of emphasis on international cooperation against terrorism must understand that global jihad has different meanings and repercussions for different countries. Territories of countries like the US are not victims of state sponsored jihadi proxy war. Incidents of Jihadi terror if any, have been sporadic.The Americans were never against Taliban. It is well known that Unicol had almost finalized a deal with the Taliban for a pipeline emanating from Turkmenistan through Pakistan. It may also be mentioned that Saudi Arabia was one of the few countries to recognize the Taliban regime. The US and Saudi Arabia turned against Taliban when Mullah Omar refused to delink from Osama Bin Laden. Since Osama Bin Laden was dangerous to Saudi Arabia and the US, the US unleashed ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ in 2001 against the Taliban in Afghanistan. It may be underscored that the relation between US and Saudi Arabia is best example of Neocolonialism.

India has been subjected to jihad for last so many centuries. In the last 200 years, Balakot has served as the epicenter of jihad against India. Balakot, which is located on the banks of River Kunar, has seen lot of blood flowing through its waters. 180 years ago, Syed Ahmad Shah Barelvi from Rai Baraeli (1786-1831) with his accomplice Shah Ismail (1779-1831) setup jihadi base in Peshawar and subsequently in Balakot to reestablish Islamic supremacy in South Asia. Barelvi declared jihad against the Sikhs and met his end in the ensuing war. The graves of Barelvi and Shah Ismail are still very sacred and venerated for the jihadis of Pakistan. The jihadis maintain that the jihad against the Sikhs failed because of the treachery of a group of Pashtun tribesman, otherwise they would have been masters of entire South Asia. The jihad unleashed by Barelvi began with very lofty ideals, but earthy attractions cause different pools. The Pathan tribesmen began an internecine war even before the spoils could be gained during the jihadi war.

Interestingly, nothing has changed. This February, like in 1831, a large number of jihadis were killed by the Indian Air Force. Pakistan suspected that some Pashtun tribes had assisted India. A Brigadier of the Pakistan Frontier Corps, convened a Loya Jirga of various tribes and beseeched for support and loyalty to Pakistan.

In Kashmir, there are about 7500 mosques and seminaries. At least 2000 of these belong to Ahle Hadith Jamaat and Deoband. The Ahle Hadith mosques have doubled in the last three decades. As per FCRA top donors to India for promotion Wahhabi variety of Islam, which includes Ahle Hadith, are UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Ahle Hadith has a prominent role in the separatist movement. The Wahhabi discourse through internet is even more dangerous than mosques and printed literature. Kashmir has 2.8 million internet users. The mobile data usage in Kashmir is higher than any other part of the country because of the absence of any other source of entertainment.

Ahle Hadith is a Wahhabi disease, which made inroads into the Valley three decades ago. As its stranglehold in the Valley increased, Kashmiriyat retreated. Ahle Hadith stipulates the original variety of Islam of Central Arabia. It spread rapidly because of the petro-dollars of the Gulf countries, which began to pour in 1970s. Concomitantly, the Sufi brand of Mosques and Madrasas lost their historical appeal. However the sad part is whether Barelvi, Hanafi, Deobandi or Sufi, all streams of jihad are mutating into the global jihad ideology in Kashmir.

The Wahhabi discourse through internet is even more dangerous than mosques and printed literature. Kashmir has 2.8 million internet users. The mobile data usage in Kashmir is higher than any other part of the country…

At this stage it will be in order to draw parallels with China, which too has been bedeviled by jihadi terrorism in Xinjiang province. It has adopted certain stern measures to de-radicalize the Muslim society and the jihadi mindset. The hollowness of the Ummah (Brotherhood of Muslim) was recently exposed when 34 countries came to the defence of China at the UN for its treatment of Uighur Muslims. Amongst them was notably Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Russia. This was a contest between Islamic countries and European countries. 22 European countries as well as Japan had petitioned to the UNHRC that China has been carrying out mass ‘arbitrary detention’ or ‘arbitrary incarceration’ of Uighur Muslims. It may be added that China has banned beards and burqas in Xinjiang province. It has banned the populace from carrying the name of ‘Mohammad’. No more than five persons can offer prayers in mosques at one time. The irony is that while Christian majority and Buddhist majority countries castigated China, the Islamic countries supported it.

Recently China has released a White Paper, wherein it has blamed foreign forces for the Uighur Muslim problem in Xinjiang. The Paper says that hostile forces in and around China, especially terrorists, separatists, extremists have tried to split China by distorting history and facts. The Paper further says that Uighur people had adopted Islam not on their volition, but had it forced upon them by religious wars and the ruling class.

Doesn’t the same paradigm apply to Kashmir?

Even more recently, the Chinese authorities issued orders that no ‘Halal Meat Shops’ should demonstrate any Arabic script or symbols since they are foreign and not in consonance with China’s culture. It has also initiated moves to remove Middle Eastern style domes on mosques. These are moves to bring the 20 million Muslims into the Chinese mainstream.

Isn’t there a lesson in this for Kashmir policy makers in India?

The unconstitutional Article 35-A, which empowers the State government to decide, who can be citizen of the State, has surreptitiously allowed thousands of Rohingyas to settle in the State.

The recent amendment to the UAPA bill stipulates that any person, who promotes or practices terror and participates in terror related activities can be designated as a ‘terrorist’. Most of the present leadership amongst the separatists and the so-called mainstream could easily come under this definition. There are other political personalities and activists in Delhi, who also come in this ambit. Within J&K, such people abound in not more than five percent of the area of the State, but such is the level and type of jihadi terror that the entire State suffers, in fact, the entire country suffers.

Following the killing of Burhan Wani, there were blasts in several courts in southern parts of India by an Al Qaeda linked outfit ‘Base Movement’. The Colombo church blasts have also links with Kerala and Kashmir. The entire stretch of National Highway (NH-1A) has become a ‘Terror Highway’. Pathankot Airbase is not in J&K, yet it was targeted. The unconstitutional Article 35-A, which empowers the State government to decide, who can be citizen of the State, has surreptitiously allowed thousands of Rohingyas to settle in the State.

In physical parlance, India’s head, J&K is grievously diseased and in turn is afflicting the entire body, i.e. the rest of India. Therefore, the head needs an urgent neurosurgical intervention. Meanwhile, it is demanded that the government may issue a white paper as to how despite Article 35-A, so many Rohingyas found way into J&K and that too in the vicinity of most sensitive security installations.

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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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5 thoughts on “White Paper on 35-A?

  1. A good resume from the “Horse’s Mouth”. Too much of talk of democratic process. When there is no J&K Assembly Parliament has all the rights to take decisions in a Democracy. In any case if there was any elected Govt in session the passage could not have taken place. It is a known fact that without the Army in J&K from 1947 J&K would have gone to Pak long back. Further 72 yrs of waiting is too long to claim one of your own state and part of Indian Union to join the main stream I do not know if any common man in J&K has benefited out of Art 370 & 35A.

  2. Sir, you may be from R&AW but as a lawyer, I can tell you that your comparison to China is extremely shocking. If individuals from our own security and intelligence apparatus do not seem to show any interest or belief in the core principles of our Constitution (Art. 14, 19 and 21) then I do not see a positive future for this country. Until I read your article, I did not believe that anyone in India could genuinely espouse the idea of detaining individuals for the purpose of curtailing religious freedoms. Maybe everyone who leaves India for the west are right. There is no future here if the core constitutional values that this nation was built upon are no longer upheld. You and this website should feel ashamed of sharing an idea akin to that of the detention camps in China.

    You have not cited a single source for any part of this incendiary argument – that should speak for itself. Or perhaps, as a former member of Indian intelligence, your role is now to spread this sort of false narrative to garner support for what is sure to be the darkest hour of Indian history if any of what you suggest in your article is actually implemented. There is nothing wrong with seeking the removal of Art. 35-A but if this is the motivation then I do not see a positive future for India and most certainly not for Kashmir.

  3. An accurate review of history of Kashmir and local looteras, namely three generation of Abdullahs, Gilanis, Muftis and a two dozen others who have enriched themselves from grants for development from India. It is time to correct the wrong doings and blunders of Nehru and grant equal rights of citizenship to all residents of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh. The central govt. in india should make right the injustice and wrongs done to hindu kashmiris and Pandits of Kashmir valley by providing them first preference in state jobs, education and state benefits for the next 150 years. No federal/central grant and assistance should flow to J&K till this unconstitutional provision of 35A is abolished and article 370. The terror network and beneficiaries should be placed in jail and all UP and Bihar mullahs be arrested for fostering anti national activities and hate speech in their madrasas.

  4. Thank you Mr. RSN Singh for focusing light on Kashmir. The subterfuge of forces which have destabilized an important part of India are fully at play as we speak. Article 35A and Article 370 are being used to justify the unrests in Kashmir. Result, after seventy years of independence we are still battling terrorisms from Pakistan. Enough excuses. The results of 2019 elections which have put BJP and Modi on top, mean, we can actually undo Nehru’s mistakes. These Articles 35A and 370 are the reasons why Islamic terrorism in Kashmir is on the rise. The fiefdoms of Abdullah’s and Muftis’ have done little or nothing to integrate Kashmir into the Indian democracy, the largest and fairest in the world, despite all the shortcomings. It is not over stating the fact that the Indian constitution is by Indians, for Indians and of Indians. Articles 35A and 370 can be altered, amended, shortened, lengthened or delineated if the parliament majority decides. No outside nation, including, Pakistan, Britain or United Nation has any say in this matter. Kashmir must be integrated into the Indian Union and both these Articles scrapped without further delays. In addition the current Kashmir assembly does not represent the demographics of the region and therefore the state must be divided into three separate states namely Srinagar, Jammu and Ladakh. Kashmir is at the crest of enormous economic prosperity if the political order is ready to accept the change.

  5. Much needed and timely article by Sir RSN Singh giving us clarity on situation at Jammu & Kashmir, admist the confusion caused by media. Thank you. On another note, I noticed your book on Pakistan costs around 6000 INR on Amazon, please look into the expensive price. Also, waiting for more videos on Public 24×7 with Pushpendra Kulshreshtha.

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