Muslim Intifada flip to agitational terrorism in Kashmir
by Nancy Kaul on 14 Aug 2010 15 Comments

The truth and dimensions of the scenario facing India at this crucial juncture are far too many to be ignored, particularly in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. The rabble rouse of the Valley-based politicians and the agitational terror-ways of the mauling crowds are by no means a response to governance, but a serious well planned strategy executed to further the secessionist and separatist agenda.


The real sinister plan of hammering at the very unity of the nation and digging at the jugular vein of India remains intact, albeit the tactics vary from AK -47 to stone pelting, burning of CRPF bunkers, to government buildings.


The subversive separatist establishment in Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan are building a core theme – to try and crystallise support from the UN, USA, Europe, and more crucially from within India – for a change of status quo in Jammu & Kashmir. Portrayal of the secessionist and separatist movement in Kashmir as a purely indigenous phenomenon has begun once again; separatism in Kashmir - a mass movement which graduated to a violent phase in 1989-90 only after the failure of its non-violent phase; the movement had once again rediscovered its non-violent character through the agitation that was launched against the Shri Amarnath Yatra which included separatists and so-called mainstream politicians alike.


On the lines of the 2008 agitation, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a pro-Pak Kashmiri secessionist leader, gave a call to “Quit Jammu & Kashmir” on 25 June 2010, amidst the ongoing disturbances in the Valley, exposing the real conspiracy hatched by the Pak establishment and its local collaborators in Kashmir Valley. And in the guise of the present intifada a flip is being given to the solutions of changing the status quo in Kashmir, which includes greater autonomy, self-rule, and even Independence; finding a solution as per the wishes of the people of Kashmir is the term being given to anti-national and pro-secessionist sentiments.


This new game of Pakistan in Kashmir is with a view to deflect global attention from Pakistani links with Taliban and ISI role in Afghanistan, to divert attention from the Jihadi terror network that Pakistan runs, and other internal tensions in Pakistan.


The Pakistani army, and in particular the ISI, are funding separatist elements in J&K to whip up sustained unrest. Pakistan intends to point out that India should be hauled up for human rights violations and the US should mediate on Kashmir issue as a precondition to Pakistan disengaging from supporting the Taliban. According to information available with Indian intelligence, ISI is pursuing this aspect and charting new ways through the terror network and separatist leaders in Kashmir Valley to sustain this agitational terror tactic.


Interestingly, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden in Al Qaeda, on Feb. 12, 2007, had in a message spoken of a global Jihadi Intifada. Whenever he talks of a global jihad or now of a global Jihadi Intifada, Zawahiri makes it clear that this has to cover all lands in the world, which rightfully belong to Islam.


Of these, he gives topmost priority to Afghanistan and Iraq. He says the future of Islam and of the global Intifada itself will be decided in those countries. If they can defeat the Americans there, the jihadis' victory in the rest of the lands will be assured. In Jihadi Intifada kind of struggle, the role of motivated individual Muslims will become more important than that of organisations, so that the weakening or collapse of an organisation does not result in a collapse of the Intifada itself. He wants the Intifada to acquire a momentum of its own as a result of the sacrifices of individual Muslims...


The importance of a central command and control in keeping the Intifada going is down-played, and the motivation of individual Muslims is more important than any centralised command and control. He projects the Intifada as a mix of military and non-military struggles. In another earlier message on Dec. 20, 2006, he said: “We must bear arms. And if we are unable to bear them, then we must support those who carry them. This support comes in many forms and guises, so we must exploit all Dawah, student and union activities to back the Jihadi resistance. The Muslim Ummah must exploit all methods of popular protest, like demonstrations, sit-ins, strikes, refusing to pay taxes, preventing cooperation with the security forces.”


Another development that took place in late October 2008 was the introduction of the “Digital Intifada” at the second annual National Exhibition and Festival of Digital Media in Tehran. Hamas and Hezbollah participated, each with its own booth. After browsing the booth’s many examples of internet-based jihad, attendees were invited to speak about the interface between the internet, fact manipulation, and terrorism, apart from using internet as a tool to wage warfare and opinion in favour of the Intifada.


Today we are once again witnessing the beginning of an Intifada of Zawahiri’s conception in certain areas of Jammu & Kashmir, particularly in the Kashmir Valley. Although the current role of Al Qaeda cannot be ascertained as yet in the violence, Lashkar-e-Toiba works in close tandem with it and has been active in this agitational terror violence.


However, Al Qaeda’s idea that the time had come to transform the jihad characterized by acts of terrorism into a Muslim Intifada on a global scale, characterized by leaderless street violence, is apparent in the happenings in the Valley. This mixed technique of military and non-military struggles has impacted the thinking and behaviour of the Muslim populace on the streets of Kashmir Valley. Slogans of “Go India Go, Lashkar (read Lashkar-e-Toiba, banned terror outfit) aaya, Lashkar aaya, azadi laya aazadi laya”, is followed by Digital Intifada in the form of a spate of venom-spitting against India, concoction of facts, and cries of azadi.


A thousand rupee note look-alike has surfaced in this tactic of Digital Intifada. The picture of Mahatma Gandhi has been replaced by the picture of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and instead of the RBI it reads RBK (read reserve bank of Kashmir), series numbering has been changed to read 7 AK (read 7 Azad Kashmir).


Impetus to this is added by political leaders of the Valley who more or less see the State of Jammu & Kashmir as only Kashmir, and want redressal on the terms of the Jihadi Intifada, complete with devolution of Indian sovereignty.


Parliament Member from South Kashmir, Dr Mehboob Beg, son of Mirza Afzal Beg, has appealed the people to actively participate in the Census. The Census is a common cause of the State. To maintain the Muslim-majority status of the State, we have to participate in the Census, Beg told a gathering at Sarnal, Anantnag. Interestingly, Mehboob Beg wants people to show numbers in terms of religion and identity in the secular polity of India!


The Chief Minister of the State openly criticized the Army and the CRPF many times since June 2010; his Minister Ali Mohammed Sagar went a step further and called the Security Forces ‘murderers’. Now, are the Forces to sit as ducks to the firing and beating they were being subjected to by the agitational terrorists, or are these timely rantings part of a greater sinister design?


The role of the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and the separatists was in tandem to further each step of the Intifada by propagating the devolution of powers theory, autonomy and greater autonomy as solutions, whereas they are but a garb to barter away the state.


The ways of the Media, barring a few in Jammu & Kashmir, are no better; they are among the first to start concentrating in the Valley in terms of giving it a Muslim character. Today more than 250 reporters and cameramen working out of the Valley on a day-to-day basis are Kashmiri Muslim. Reportage is skewed heavily in favour of the separatists and secession-mongers. This in no way means that the others apart from them are doing a great job.


In a special episode called Kashmir Paradise Lost from Srinagar, NDTV anchor Barkha Dutt was praised for her role (read furthering the secessionist agenda) by PDP’s Muzzaffar Beg, who saluted her contribution to the Kashmiri Nation, which was immense. The same anchor had a few days before, in a panel discussion in the studio, referred to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as “your Prime Minister” to the panelists. What kind of Kashmiri Nation was Muzzaffar Beg referring to, and what were the contributions of the anchor?


The present challenge to the integrity of the country raises an urgency to review strategic formulations with a view to break the vicious cycle. But the response gets marred as the Central Government has never exerted itself to bring to the forefront the fact that the violence unleashed in the State was an inevitable consequence of the regressive exclusivist content of separatism. The attitude of not contesting the ideology of separatism to minimize the affront to separatists’ mind, with the hope of taming it, actually accords respectability to the separatist and secessionist cause.


Is there a pattern to the Indian response of dealing with agitational tactics of unruly tricolour-burning mobs from the Valley, which are on a rampaging stone-throwing spree? Why is the Indian Government fast falling into cobwebs of unjustified announcements and schemes where the ultimate casualty is the unity and sovereignty of the Indian nation?


The Union Home Minister, instead of acclaiming Syed Ali Shah Geelani, should answer why the Jammu & Kashmir State Police and Administration allowed the situation to worsen in the first place. The State Police should have been the first to respond and not allow such mobs to turn into an arson and stone-throwing azadi-shouting brigade. In contrast to other Security Forces, JK Police actually possesses an in-built “surge capability” to gather intelligence on terrorist-related activity, which could be rapidly activated in a crisis like this; then why did JK police not react in the first place even though its strength is in thousands?


The response of JK Police has been a failure at the highest level of leadership. The Union Home Minister must ascertain why the reins of power are fast corrupting the corridors of power. Why did DGP Kuldeep Khuda fail to provide the leadership required even though he espoused the cause of Greater Autonomy by calling Doda ‘Chenab Valley’ in his recent visit to Ramban and Doda, (DGP Khuda called it a visit to Chenab Valley, March 3, 2010)! This is in conformity with the Greater Autonomy Committee report of the National Conference, which proposes to divide Jammu & Kashmir into eight regions along ethnic-religious lines - Kamraz, Nundabad, Maraz, Chenab Valley, Jammu, Pir Panjal, Kargil and Ladakh.


Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in his speech at the Round Table with Jammu & Kashmir political parties, made a reference to the duty of the government to maintain law and order. Mr Prime Minister, is it not the duty of the government and the political set up to maintain the unity and sovereignty of the country in the first place?


The political leadership needs to come out clean on the issue of sovereignty and unity of India being non-negotiable, first and foremost, at all levels. The present condition is extremely regressive and is holding the whole of the Kashmir Valley in its grip. On the other hand, there are calibrated moves of terror strikes which are going hand in hand, including the terror attack on the Army in Rajouri and another in Kupwara sector.


It is time to delegitimise the public mobilizations in the Valley by emphatically stating that the strife in Kashmir is basically driven by an alien ideological content, and formulate a policy before it engulfs the whole state. Policy-makers should realize that concessions to communalism and separatism have been ever self-defeating.


The agenda of creating a Muslim sphere of interest within Jammu & Kashmir: the Northern frontiers of the country have far-reaching dimensions of unity, sovereignty, security, geopolitics. A danger here is a threat to the polity and the survival of Indian national and cultural identity.


-        Every nation has a right to govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change these forms at its own will; and externally to transact business with other nations through whatever organ it chooses, whether that be a King, Convention, Assembly, Committee, President, or whatever it be. The only thing essential is, the will of the nation – Thomas Jefferson 


The author is convener, Daughters of Vitasta

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