New Dimension of Violence in Kashmir

18 Sep, 1999    ·   261

Brig S S Chandel (Retd) says given sufficient will and imagination it is definitely feasible to reduce the externally exported violence from Pakistan to a controllable level and then to terminate it

The irruption of fresh violence in Kashmir wherein in a BSF Headquarters at Bandipura a brigade HQ at Kupwara and murders of some civilian leaders have taken place, is in fact hopeful sign. For two reasons. First, it is not insurgency at all. In that it does not involve the local Kashmir 's except as informants under duress. The core consists of Pakistanis, Afghans and assorted mercenaries from impoverished countries. The money for these mercenaries comes from the oil rich Gulf countries and narcotic trade and the fanatics amongst them a la Osamma Bin Laden would regard incurring such expenditures as paying insurance premiums for the next world. For the poor Pakistanis where unemployment and consequent poverty is ever worse than India , the largesse of Rs. two Lakhs for a years work in India is not bad at all. This monetary remuneration along with the potent religious exhortation and visceral vengefulness is a powerful mix which the ISI astutely exploits.



It is time that the security forces specially the Army thought through the situation and evolved an effective response. For the danger is over-reaction since the sneak attacks are mounted from the surrounding inhabited areas and while immediately retaliating and later investigating the incident, the security forces are likely to become injudiciously oppressive. Therefore, various psychological and military actions have to be implemented.





Physical Security



Villages should be provided with high fences and entry and exit to and from them should be controlled. The environ around these should be patrolled. Likely areas of hide out in the forests and hills should be occupied and neutralized by use of air power and artillery to deny intruders safe harbour to them.



The borders inside one or two kilometers behind the forward defended localities should be fenced by high wire and patrolled. On the face of it, it will appear to be a formidable job, but if we could dig up a ditch cum bund from Aknoor to Fazika in Punjab and erect barbed wire fence across the borders of Rajasthan, there is no reason why a barbed wire fence cannot be erected in Kashmir . The cost is likely to be much less than the limited a that cost us near 3000 crores in three months in Kargil.



Winning Over the Populace



This has to be first priority. The task is daubing in view of the virulent Pakistani propaganda being disseminated by 2000 madras's and even larger number of mosques ceaselessly. The liberal composite Kashmiri culture has been seriously undermined. It is not well known that till the reign of Shah Jahan intermarriages between Muslims and Hindus were a normal feature of societal intercourse. Shah Jahan forbade it. The mysticism of Sufis which pervaded the spiritual life of the Kashmiris has been carefully done down by the fanatical elements. These old practices need to be revived. The should be done by encouraging and aiding Kashmir Sufi men to propagate their beliefs and practices. Their books, periodials and magazines should be published, seminars, lectures and 'urs' should be organized. Necessary funds should be provided by the state for the purpose.



The key to such activities are right kind of men. They should ne acknowledged scholars and leaders whose integrity and dedication to the Kashmir culture and ethos is undisputed. Distinguished secular journalists and scholars should be provided financial wherewithal to publish and circulate their newspaper in Kashmir which should reach every village. The ultimate aim should be to enable the evolution and burnishing of a distinct Kashmir culture, of which, every Kashmir Muslim should be justifiably so proud that he cannot be converted into a clone of Pakistan exported fanatic fundamentalism. 



Secular Education



This is an era of workers who impart knowledge which opens, the door to material advancement. The madarasas should be persuaded to impart such education, if necessary, by legislation. Modern gadgets like computers and Internet facilities should be provided to these madarsas for the purpose. Young people should be exposed to the changes being wrought in modern Islamic countries  like Turkey , Egypt , Jordan , Morocco , Malaysia and Brunei . They should be enabled to become doctors, engineers, scientists, architects, artists and writers. 



Women should be compulsorily educated and equal rights and opportunities granted to them for their personnel achievements.



Rooting Out Corruption



A major of the ordinary Kashmiri is that while India has given over 100 lakh crores in grants in aid to Kashmiri, most of it has gone to the personnel coffers of bureaucrats and political leaders. This Gordian knot should be cut. One way out is to give the developmental funds to the Army operating in that area. The Army so far has not been corrupted. 



Given sufficient will and imagination it is definitely feasible to reduce the externally exported violence from Pakistan to a controllable level and then to terminate it.