India under eclipse: the political folly – 1
by Nancy Kaul on 06 Jun 2010 5 Comments

The strength of the nation is with its people, its policies, its armed forces and most importantly, the politicians and leaders who guide the people and policies at the national and international level. A weak and soft State is created due to a deficit of policies in all dimensions: a result and reflection of a weak leadership and a corrupt political system.


Today, spinelessness seems to have seeped so deep into the innards of the political establishment that it is unable to stand up to the truths and action required for trampling the monsters of terrorism and secessionism which are hitting at the very roots of our nationhood and Indian identity.


The State of Jammu and Kashmir is of equal importance as any other State or Union Territory of the country, yet the prevailing situation of terror activities and political ideologies of Islamic hegemony are laying a siege from within. A siege and design so evil that the reflection cast on the whole country is far more nefarious and destructive than imagined.


Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir State more often than not speak only for the Valley, forgetting with convenience the regions of Jammu and Ladakh. The issues and statements many a times are aimed at staging competition to the secessionist and separatist elements in the Valley.


The question of the terrorist Afzal Guru is an open and shut case, where the Supreme Court has upheld the verdict of death penalty, then why do politicians and a sitting Chief Minister come and speak in defence of a terrorist responsible for the attack on Parliament, a strategic symbol of the Indian people and State in our democratic set up? Why does he have to opine on the deterioration sure to happen in the atmosphere in the Valley? Are we not facing enough terror and separatist ideological warfare from within the Valley with the active support of Pakistan?


Why is the Indian political set up quiet over this unusual and unwarranted defence of a terrorist by a person sitting in a constitutional chair, whose utterings match perfectly the often anti-India rhetoric of Hurriyat?


Maqbool Bhat, a terrorist belonging to the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front, had killed CID inspector Amar Chand, and was found guilty of terror activities and given the death penalty by the secessions court in Srinagar. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court, yet he continued to live for many years. In the name of political compulsions, then too the Kashmir Valley politicians tried to hoodwink the then Government with the same defence.


It would be interesting to note the similarities in this case and the wishy-washy Indian leadership which led to the killing of its diplomat. On February 3, 1984, Ravindra Hareshwar Mhatre, an Indian diplomat in the United Kingdom, was murdered by JKLF militants in Birmingham while fetching a birthday cake for his daughter. The militants had wanted JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat to be released from jail in Delhi. After this tragic killing, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi decided within hours to speed up the process of justice for Bhat by rejecting his clemency petition and hanging him in Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984.


But the silence in the Afzal Guru case perturbs the nation. Persons close to the separatists and sympathetic to the separatist cause now want clemency for him, on the lines once argued for Maqbool Bhat, that is, the larger cause of Kashmiris (read separatists).


This silence has to be read with another blunder of an announcement that points to the unreasonable amount of softness shown to the terrorists. Is it a larger design that the Centre cleared the name of terrorists and infiltrators from Pakistan for release from various jails of Jammu and Kashmir on March 23, 2010?


Among them is the ultra involved in one of the deadliest strikes that took place in the winter capital of the State. Ghulam Nabi alias Nikka, son of  Fazal Din, a resident of Putwal, Sialkote, in Pakistan, was involved in the MA Stadium serial blasts on Republic Day in 1995, in which the then Governor Gen K.V. Krishna Rao had a narrow escape; over a dozen persons were killed and scores injured. A number of IEDs had been planted under the stage from where Gen Rao was addressing the Republic Day parade; these went off during the function, though he had a miraculous escape.


Nikka was booked under Section 3/4 TADA Act, 2/3 Egress and Internal Movement Control Ordinance (E&IMCO) and 7/25 Arms Act. Presently lodged in Kot Bhalwal police station, Nikka was an under-trial and his case was sub-judice.

This was followed by a controversial and unwarranted tax on Amarnath Yatra vehicles and langars (free kitchens). This Mughal-era Jazia was announced by the State Government and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board wants Hindus to pay more for the Yatra of Shri Amarnathji.


The Governor who is the chairperson of the Board has till date failed to come clean on the issues of either the tax or the use of Board money for the amusement and the entertainment of Kashmiri Muslims. He has now invited the Prime Minister to attend the convocation of the Sher-e-Kashmir Agriculture University.


If Jammu and Kashmir is a secular entity in a secular nation, why this Jazia? Why are all the Vice Chancellors in the Kashmir region Muslims? Why is it that all the names of officials appearing for this particular university are all Muslims? Are there no good agricultural scientists and educationists in other regions of the State?


Why has the Prime Minister decided to spare two days for the Governor’s request? Is there more to it than meets the eye?


Given the impending two-day visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Srinagar, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has claimed the State Government is at an advanced stage of discussions with Centre for amendment of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). “Since its inception, the present government has been continuously striving for the amendment of AFSPA and is at an advanced stage of discussion with the government of India as a temporary measure till its complete removal,” he said in reply to a communication from Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti.


It is pertinent that State Governments have no role to play in security affairs that are decided by policies at the Centre, particularly of the Armed Forces. The armed forces as well as the other paramilitary forces were deployed in Jammu and Kashmir to curb the deteriorating situation and often at the request of the State Government.


So what is this communication between Mufti and Abdullah? Are they deciding matters that are the mandate of the Central Government and not just the Cabinet Committee on Security which is chaired by the Prime Minister? Omar Abdullah has also said “I have time and again maintained that the State Government would actively facilitate internal and external dialogue processes to help restore permanent peace and address political issues.”


What does he mean by facilitator of internal and external dialogue and political issues? Should external mean Pakistan? In that case, will Omar Abdullah be deciding what will be the agenda with Pakistan - terror or Kashmir?


Is New Delhi taking dictation from politicians in Srinagar; is it they rather than the Prime Minister of India who will decide and speak on policy decisions of vital importance for the country? Will the likes of Mehbooba, Omar, etc., decide what is of strategic importance internally and externally, or the Indian Government and Parliament?


Should the Prime Minister as chairperson of the CCS not take an interest in the infiltration attempts, pushing in of terrorists along the line of Control from Pakistan, regrouping of their networks, and new emerging threats?


The seizure of two solar missiles planted by terrorists, which did not go off due to bad weather, aimed at the Army’s Sector-8 headquarters and Rashtriya Rifles 41 Bn headquarters in Kupwara district, has once again brought the spotlight on terrorists’ plans to inflict damage to key military installations in this border district. These missiles can also be used for downing helicopters and can be activated automatically by sunlight with the help of solar batteries.


Shouldn’t Dr Manmohan Singh visit the much-ignored vital forward areas of Ladakh region and monitor the almost-nil pace of development there? Shouldn’t the Prime Minister with firmness give Indians the confidence that he will lead India with the integrity, respect and strategic acumen that a nation like ours deserves, for no nation survives without self-respect and the steel spine of its leadership?


“If a King is energetic, his subjects will be equally energetic. If he is reckless, they will not only be reckless likewise, but also eat into his works. Besides, a reckless King will easily fall into the hands of his enemies. Hence the King shall ever be wakeful” – Chanakya

(To be continued... )

The author is convener, Daughters of Vitasta

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