Kashmir Question

By K.N. Pandita

This article was published first on Kashmir Herald, Vol 2 no 9, February 2003.

[Editor's Note: [Readers are recommended to take a look at Chandrashekhar Dasgupta's 'War and Diplomacy in Kashmir, 1947-48, for a detailed expose of why India could not drive out Pakistani forces from J&K and why India went to the UN Security Council. The review of that book is available in our Herald archives at War & Diplomacy].

Retrospect:

As the British withdrew from the Indian subcontinent on 15 August 1947, their policy planners worked out a strategy of joint defence for India and Pakistan called Auchinleck Plan after the name of the then Indian Army Chief. It was a defence strategy against the Soviet Union.

With Nehru a known socialist, Anglo-American lobby cultivated Pakistan as a dependable bulwark against communism in South Asia. British policy planners working through their lobbies wanted independent Jammu & Kashmir to remain within the sphere of their influence. It was part of the policy of containment of communism. 

Ramchand Kak, the Prime Minister of the State, was a key figure. A section of commentators believes that Kashmiri lobby in Delhi contrived the dismissal of Kak more as vendetta than political reprisal. Kak’s removal was followed by an armed uprising in Mirpur by the WW II disbanded Sudans with promptings from outside. This was a precursor to an incursion by the tribesmen of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province meticulously planned and executed by the Pakistani military and civilian combine.

A question asked is when accession was legally made by the ruler and endorsed by the popular leader of J&K State, where did the need of subjecting its finality to the will of the people arise? Governor General, Lord Mountbatten proposed it and Prime Minister Nehru accepted it. Commentators say that Nehru intended to seek the will of the people through their elected representatives.
Another question in this context is why did India agree to stop her troops at the present Line of Control when she could have captured Muzaffarabad and thereby controlled the whole of strategic Northern Areas? It will be blatant distortion of facts to accuse Sheikh Abdullah of forcing ethnic divide on Nehru. Close examination of the events reveals that from Lord Mountbatten, the Governor General of independent India down to the ordinary British army officer in the Indian army at this point of time saw to it that the strategic towns of Domel and Muzaffarabad, controlling the Nornthern Areas where the border met with the then Soviet Union, China, Afghanistan – besides India or Pakistan – did not go into the hands of the Indian troops.

Again it is asked why did Nehru take the Kashmir question to the Security Council despite opposition by most of his cabinet colleagues? Observers say that India’s complaint was lodged under Article 35 of the UN Charter and sought vacation of aggression by a neighboring country. It was Lord Mountbatten again, working in close cooperation with the Labour government headed by Attlee in London who persuaded Nehru to take Kashmir case to the Security Council. He thought at least the USA, having had the experience of colonial rule, would support India in the SC. But the ground reality was something different. The Soviet representative had cautioned the Indian delegation of Anglo-American hostility.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Security Council accepted India’s contention that accession was made on the basis of the ruler’s decision and popular leader’s endorsement. It means the SC accepted the legality of India’s position in Kashmir.

Earlier the British Indian rulers had tried to induct the Ahmadiya factor in furthering the idea of independent Kashmir. Through Sir Zafrullah Khan, they had contrived the inclusion of Gurdaspur district into Pakistan, blocking J&K State’s road link to West Punjab. Kadiyan, the Ahmadiya headquarter fell in Gurdaspur. Ironically, half a century later, Amanullah Khan, the JKLF leader based in London, had also been hobnobbing with the Ahmadiayas for the independence of Greater Muslim Kashmir.

Anglo-American support to Pakistani stand on Kashmir at the Security Council was a clear message that they had not abandoned the Islamic cause in spite of creating the Israeli state on the Arab land. Sheikh Abdullah paused musing where this might lead to.

Royists (Radical Humanists), the first among Kashmiri ideologues campaigning for Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan in 1947, worked for the British intelligence before the CPI joined hands with them when the Soviet Union decided to join WW II. Premnath Bazaz, a pioneer Royist in Kshmir, was friendly with Pakistan. His work Freedom Struggle in Kashmir published in 1954 was considered a defence of Pakistan’s stand in Kashmir. The Sheikh banished him and his close associate Kanhayalal Kaul from Kashmir in 1949. Interestingly, Amanullah Khan of JKLF nominated Premnath Bazaz’s son, Bushan Bazaz to the provisional cabinet of ‘Independent J&K’ in 1992. Human Rights propagandists and self-styled liberals like Justice Tarkunde and Rajinder Sachar tow the same line.

At one time, the British colonialists wanted to establish permanent British settlement in Kashmir Valley because of its Europe-like climate and incredible scenic beauty. The Tribune of September 26, 1885 and The Pioneer of 22 October 1885 carried articles on this subject. Kashmir was also a good centre for overland trade with Central Asia. The Maharaja was desired to allow the British traders and businessmen settle in Kashmir. This was the time when some highly dedicated missionaries arrived in Kashmir and engaged themselves in their assigned task.

However, the British, apprehensive of looming Russian shadow adopted hostile attitude towards the Maharaja of Kashmir. They also used the lever of sensitizing local Muslims to religious sentiment against the Hindu Maharaja in order to weaken him.

Under Maharaja Pratap Singh (1894 – 1925) the situation worsened. Communism had come to stay in Central Asia. British colonial power intensified communal feelings among the Muslims in Kashmir, and in 1931 there was the first communal clash. Muslim communalism was championed by the Muslim Conference, the state-level political party.

Ahmadiyas and the Left

Ahmadiyas and Indian communists forged an understanding of sorts on Kashmir. The latter thought in terms of international socialism ignoring the sharp difference in perception with the Ahmadiyas. Kashmir also was an important theme in Soviet strategy in Central Asia and the whole perception was based on B.T. Ranade theory called BTR Line. The Crossroad, edited by Romesh Thapar, enunciated the theory. Communist theoreticians debated on the right of self-determination. It is not known whether BTR Line had kept track of fierce debates on the subject of the right of self-determination that had ensued among the Communist ideologues like Rosa Luxemberg shortly after the London Commune. It is also not known whether the Lenin formula about the right of secession of a federating unit was ever applied by the BTR Line in the case of Kashmir.

B.T. Ranade’s note to the Kashmir communists read,” If people vote for Pakistan, do not raise hands. If they vote for independence, do not say no, and if they vote for India, raise your hands.” A thoroughly opportunist line it was. The central question was left unanswered. The Left group in NC posed the question “Why not join Pakistan?”

The Sheikh was enamoured of the CPI line especially of its concept of the right of self-determination. However in Sopore Convention of NC in 1945, Nehru had said that unnecessary importance was given to the idea. The communists had supported the ‘Two Nations theory’ through Adhikari thesis, which described the creation of Pakistan as an _expression of the right of self-determination. CPI sent BPL Bedi and Freda Bedi to play up the “Independent Kashmir” card. Freda, of Irish extraction with British connections, tried to influence the Sheikh for independent Kashmir. She wrote the first ever biography of the Sheikh titled Sheikh Abdullah and his Ideals.

Communists described Kashmir’s accession to India a “treachery” (The Crossroad, 6 January 1950) and supported a Telangana type movement. Om Saraf, a veteran journalist of Jammu fought against it with great determination.

So far, both the Soviets and the Americans, were pushing their agenda in Kashmir. The communists perceived Kashmir’s leadership of Asian socialist revolution. However political circles got the wind that Sheikh had come closer to the Americans.

America steps in

Sheikh Abdullah’s detention in August 1953 was the logical consequence of his Anglo-American connections. It, however, forced the Anglo-American bloc to recast its agenda for Kashmir. Destabilization of India could be the key to new dispensation. “Operation Brahmaputra” and the later Jean Kirk Patrick Plan of 1980s focused on vivisection of Christian-Mongoloid North East from the Hindu-Aryan mainland of India. Around this time the Americans made intellectual invasion into India making Indian universities the ground where seeds of destabilization and vivisection could be sown. Viable catalysts were the intellectuals, political scientists, minority academics and educationists. It bred ethnic separatism or sub-nationalism seeking to break the cultural cohesion of India. Ford Foundation and its beneficiaries were put to the task. Experts and specialists on South Asia were to work as pathfinders. In 1960, Selig Harrison predicted the disintegration of India in his work India: The Most Dangerous Decades. There were others also. Selig Harrison organized a seminar in June 1990 on Kashmir Question at Oxford. Kashmiri Muslim doctors, currently on deputation to the Gulf States, had financed it and two Kashmiri personalities attended on behalf of Kashmir militants. The “Independent or Near Independent Greater Muslim Kashmir” plan circulated by Selig Harrison is precisely the plan which the CIA in concert with ISI and the Saudi Intelligence had been working upon since 1977.

The Sheikh preferred ‘Independent Kashmir” even after the accession. Tribal attack and combination of forces had prompted him to accept State’s accession to the Indian Union.

However, under new combination of forces, he had tried to revoke the accession in 1953. Ram Manohar Lohia explained his Kashmiriyat as Muslim identity. Jinnah disregarded regional satraps. Nehru eulogized him and lionized him as a great secularist and anti-feudal. This encouraged the Sheikh to do away with landed properties of people without compensation, which Congress itself did not do in India.

Sher-Bakra socio-political cleavage in Kashmirian society obstructed outright resistance to accession. It got identified as India-Pakistan factor. It was pursued in inner circles but the moderates apprehended persecution in Pakistan.

Back from Lake Success, the Sheikh released Chaudhury Abbas from jail hoping it would help independence move. He thought even Nehru would not be averse to independence. The Scotsman published his most controversial interview in 1949. He linked up with Agha Khan as a conduit for reaching the Pakistanis.

Kashmir Muslim bureaucracy

Top bureaucrats met in Odeon Hotel, Srinagar, in early 1949 to chart a strategy for a pro-Pakistan movement. Their immediate concern was forging separate Muslim Identity for Kashmiris. Their strategy was not to dismantle the old autocratic structure of administration but to supplant Pandit and Dogra in-service cadres by Kashmiri Muslims. Muslim educated youth were inducted into sensitive positions. Islamisation of society was the basis of this thinking.

Kashmiriyat

Even some National Conference leaders had reservations about accession to India. The quest for Muslim precedence was given the name of Kashmiriyat, which came into sharp conflict with the religious minorities inside the state as well as secularist operatives of the union government. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is the result of a conflict between the imperatives of Indian secularism and Muslim sub-nationalism. It continued even after 1953.

The Climax

Family oligarchy emerged in Kashmir between 1948 and 1953. Blackmailing tactics worked. Corruption and misrule brought alienation in trail. Those who protested were branded as pro-Pakistani. Local bureaucracy behaved arbitrarily like the area commanders of Kashmir insurgents. People identified them with Indian agents. This was the beginning of alienation of people in Kashmir.

Plebiscite

Nehru’s commitment to plebiscite, which he had clearly and forcefully stated in writing to the UN Commission for India and Pakistan in the context of UNCIP Resolution of April 13, 1948, meant _expression of free will through elected representatives. But with that a negative consciousness dawned upon the Kashmiris that a factor more powerful than India served a cue for the choice of reversal of existing relationship with India.

At the UN

India’s precise application was the vacation of aggression in Kashmir. Warren Austin, the US representative in the SC aggressively suggested for “neutral interim administrator” in J&K. Noel-Baker the British representative supported him. Ayyengar, the leader of the Indian delegation was shocked. Sheikh Abdullah thought India was week-kneed on Kashmir issue.

It was Tarashenkov, the Ukrainian delegate who bailed out Ayyengar. How could a weak India support his domineering position in Kashmir, the Sheikh thought. Kuomintang representative Dr. Tsiang moved the resolution in SC on March 18, 1948. The Times of London wrote that the implication was “virtual suppression of the ordinary power of Kashmir government over its military and police forces in favour of an authority, which though nominally a part of the government, would, in practice, be responsible to the Security Council.” Nehru’s initial negative response was washed down by Mountbatten.

National Conference’s General Council rejected the UN resolution calling the leadership to mobilize people. Anglo-American bloc prepared the ground to foist Admiral Nimitz as Plebiscite Administrator. New York Times of 23 August 1948 flashed the news “Nimitz as arbiter in Kashmir urged”.

The proposal of arbitrating in Kashmir drawn up in a secret session of UNCIP was leaked to the U.S. and U.K. governments before it reached New Delhi. President Truman and Prime Minister Attlee emphasized on arbitration.

MacNaughten formula stipulated demilitarization of Kashmir and leaving Northern Areas under the control of “Azad Kashmir”. NC opposed MacNaughton formula of demilitarization and plebiscite. General Frank Dever, a former Chief of the US Army Field Forces unfolded the plan for demilitarization.

Jacob Malik, the Soviet representative at the UN explained the Anglo-US plan of converting Kashmir into an imperialist trust territory of the US and UK. Frank Graham, the Chairman of UNCIP happened to be the Adviser to the US President on Defence Manpower in the Department of Labour. Even Eisenhower’s name was once mentioned as Plebiscite Administrator.

America again

In May 1953, Foster Dulles met with Nehru. The Weekly Message from Delhi reported that Dulles had put forward a plan for a trizonal division of Kashmir with a zone each going to India and Pakistan, the valley being either “internationalized” for a certain period of time till a plebiscite was held under the UN control or being ruled by a semi-independent government.”

Nehru sounded Mohammed Ali Bogra, the Pakistani Prime Minister. Both asserted that Kashmir would not be allowed to become another Korea. Their joint assertion was a rebuff to the imperialists. Nimitz prepared to resign. Under agreement an imparatial plebiscite administrator was to be appointed by the J&K Government. Within a month, Pakistani PM resiled and demanded that plebiscite be held under the aegis of the UN. It seems that external forces had lobbied well. Soon the US began exploring military agreement with Pakistan.

Accord of 1975

Plebiscite Front had kept the secessionist sentiment alive in Kashmir. It exposed post – 1947 generation of Kashmiri Muslims to the Pakistan ideology. The question may be asked: why could pro-Pak groups not emerge in a big way at this point of time? The answer is (a) Sheikh Abdullah had a long legacy of anti-Pakistan posture (b) Plebiscite Front had appropriated other platforms of pro-Pak groups.

By 1972, realization dawned in Plebiscite Front that subversion from outside would not work. Hence subversion from inside was to be tried. G.M Sadiq’s regime had initiated liberalization policy more as antidote to the hegemonic regime of the Sheikh and arbitrary rule of Bakshi. Ground was prepared for 1975 Accord. 1977 elections were termed by the NC as referendum on the status of Kashmir. NC cultivated secessionists selectively and promised to open Rawalpindi road. Its moves were subtle — rock salt, green kerchief etc. It spoke in prattles of rock salt, shalwar and kameez and green handkerchief. Dressed in flowing kurta and shalwar, the Sheikh offered namaz in his secretariat office.

Onwards of Accord

This was ushered in an era of diatribes and antics of NC. It claimed that the right of self-determination had never been ruled out. However, it said strategic re-adjustment was worked out. Lack of ideological cohesion in NC now forced its downslide. It had started dilatory and divisive tactics on the finality of accession.

1979 is a watershed in the growth of subversive movement in Kashmir. Z.A. Bhutto had pledged to fight for a thousand years for the cause of “oppressed Kashmiri Muslims.” Bhutto’s execution unleashed mad frenzy against the Jamaat-e-Islami cadres in Kashmir. Zia had called them the progeny of the Brahmins.

But sooner than later, Kashmiris changed the trend and now the erstwhile “Zia kodeh” (the whip wielder) of their description became “Mard-i-Momin Mard-i-Haq, Ziau’l Haq Ziau’l Haq” (The Faithful among the men, the Truthful Zia). Other slogans reflected religious ties with Pakistan. Thus Pakistan for Kashmiris meant Islam, and freedom for Kashmiris meant Pakistan. Those who coined and floated these slogans went on to form the “secular” Jammu Kashmir Liberation Force (JKLF).

Curiously, Kashmiri Muslims seldom tried to look up for democratic and progressive forces in Pakistan to draw inspiration from them.

Greater Muslim Kashmir

In 1970, the plan of ‘Greater Muslim Kashmir’ was drawn jointly by the CIA, ISI and the Saudi intelligence (Istekhbarat) at International Islamic Foundation Movement (Rabitau’l Islam) in Saudi Arabia. Ar-Rabita has over a hundred branches spread all over the world.

It was concretized into what came to be known as Operation Topac. The Rabita has been given the Wahhabi orientation and Dr. Ayub Thukar (in London) directed the movement in Kashmir.

Greater Muslim Kashmir, to which Selig Harrison refers, envisaged not only secession of Kashmir from India but also incorporates grand design to destabilize India through ethnic and communal separatist movements carried on through terror and subversion.

Saudi role in 1979-mob violence in Kashmir may not be known precisely. Grapevine has it that Saudis played a mediator role between the NC leadership and different fundamentalist and separatist lobbies in Kashmir. Part of the exercise was holding of international Islamic conferences in Srinagar for the first time in which important Saudi “religious personalities and scholars” were invited.

The real purpose was to inspire Muslim solidarity and jihad against India. In 1981, the sister of the Saudi king paid two successive visits to Kashmir. The chief of the Saudi intelligence stayed with a local carpet dealer in Jawaharnagar, Srinager in 1982. A few details of this story were covered in an issue of the journal titled Probe.

Outsiders do not know what transpired in the meeting among Saudis, NC and the Jamaatis. As a result Jamaat stopped criticizing the Sheikh. The government in New Delhi turned a blind eye to the funds funnelled through a section of NC leadership to various subversive and fundamentalist groups functioning against national interests.

As the honeymooning proceeded, Jamaatis became emboldened. They began attacks on communist workers, non-Muslim business establishments and Hindu worshipping places. A group of 50 Jamaatis attacked Harkishen Singh Surjeet, the Secretary General of CPI (M) in Srinagar in June 1982. The NC government took no action, Surjeet is reported to have expressed reservations about Article 370 – the comer stone of the left perception on India.

Surjeet was asked why he did not take up the Jamaat issue with the Centre, He said that would provoke Hindu reaction. This is the opportunistic antics of the left in Indian politics.

Today Surjeet asks the government of India to treat “secularist” JKLF differently from “communal” Hizbul Mujahideen. It is JKLF whose criminals killed Abdus Sattar Ranjoor, the CPM leader of Kashmir. While CPM speaks about autonomy and right of self-determination, it does not say a word about three hundred thousand Kashmiri Pandits extirpated from their homeland and now living as internally displaced persons.

NC patronized the Jamaat to the extent that the then Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University, Rais Ahmad, was physically assaulted for his progressive views.

Intelligence at work

1980 saw a beeline of American diplomats and officials coming to Kashmir. Rockefeller visited in 1980 and had talks with the Sheikh. His mission supplemented the liaison established between the Sheikh and the Saudis.

Then came William Saxebe, the US Ambassador in New Delhi. There was further exchange of ideas on Greater Muslim Kashmir idea. President Raegan dispatched his close aid and his roving ambassador Charlton Heston, an actor colleague of his Hollywood days to Kashmir. Heston’s visit was completely blacked out by the local press. An obscure weekly published from Calcutta took notice of the event. To alley suspecting eyes, Heston stayed at Nishat on the northern bank of the Dal Lake in the guesthouse belonging to a non-Muslim.

The result of the visit of these high ups was forging unity between different elite groups of professionals in Kashmir Muslim society – university teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors particularly those who had connections in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya, a powerful and well-knit section of the State Muslim bureaucracy, local political leadership etc. One regional English daily wrote in 1990 that the ISI had nearly one thousand people among the elite of Srinagar on its payroll.

JV Medical College

Kashmiri Muslim medical doctors finding receptivity in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya and the Gulf States carried out their activities favouring Kashmir’s struggle for freedom. Saudi and Iranian Pan-Islamists found in them a good conduit to carry out their communal agenda. The Saudis blessed the proposal for Jhelum Valley Medical College in late 1980. Leading Kashmiri doctors and physicians were shuttling between India and Saudi Arabia in those days. Already two medical colleges existed in Kashmir valley, and it was Jammu Hindu majority region of the State that badly needed a medical college.

Opening of the JV Medical College had two objectives (a) safe conduit for flow of foreign, particularly Saudi funds (b) medical seats for the wards of the Srinagar elite who otherwise could not qualify in normal competition.

Twenty-five per cent seats were reserved for Arab students. Their home remittances would become legalized money. Other Arab governments showed keen interest in the proposal. Central government was cautioned but the State government managed to see it cleared administratively.

Here some doctors worked clandestinely for the separatists and turned it into a den of separatist conspiracies. Some of its doctors were implicated in the murder of their staff members who had suspected something fishy about the whole thing.

Incriminating documents regarding the role of JV Medical College in managing funds from abroad had been seized from two top ideologues of the on-going armed insurgency. Huge amount of Pakistani currency was recovered from their possession. Government provided about forty acres of land without cost and the doctors were paid at rupees seven hundred per lecture, which caused resentment among the staff of other medical colleges.

Sheikh’s antics

In his will, the Sheikh said that his dead body be consigned to the waters of the Arabian Sea because Kashmir was an enslaved territory. Why did he not choose the Indian Ocean, which is far bigger, deeper and closer than the Arabian Sea? This was the Sheikh after signing the Accord. His speech at Ganderbal in 1979 and his last one made at Hazratbal shrine in 1982 were fully besmeared with communal tinge and even moderate Muslims were greatly incensed by these.

By 1980, campaign for Islamization of Kashmir had begun with full force. The Sheikh changed the names of about 2500 villages from their original to Islamic names. It was to take divorce from the pre-Islamic history and tradition of Kashmir. Pakistani historians were imitated. The Hindus of Kashmir who were the descendents of ancient Kashmirian race were puzzled. A vicious campaign against the Indian army and the local Hindus was also floated. The local Hindus came to be called the mukhbir or informers. This is how the Sheikh has characterized them in his autobiography Atash-e-Chinar. In July 1980, local police contrived a clash between the local civilians of Srinagar and the army personnel. The NC goons set on fire a number of shops of the Hindus in Amira Kadal locality. The Jamaatis compared this minor incident to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

NC-JKLF interface

Some NC cadres maintained links with JKLF from the times of Al Fath under the patronage of Plebiscite Front. Azam Inquilabi, a known separatist leader had termed Dr. Farooq Abdullah as “our senior leader.” In Muzaffarabad, Farooq had taken a vow to liberate Kashmir from Indian occupation.

In 1974, some of the top leaders of Kashmir Liberation Force (KLF) visited Srinagar and in the company of Dr. Farooq Abdullah addressed a rally in Lal Chowk chanting the slogan “choon desh myoon desh Kashmir desh Kashmir desh.” It was a subtle way of conveying the message that Muslims on both sides of the LoC considered United Kashmir as their homeland. PoK people, grossly discriminated against by Pakistan, are enamoured of united ‘Independent Kashmir’ slogan. With a strong diaspora in the UK they are financing the movement. The Mirpuris have made chinar leaf their national insignia without ever having seeing what a chinar tree looks like. They ask their women to wear Kashmiri dress but Pakistan government has imposed a ban on attiring themselves the Kashmiri way. Maqbul Bhat, the executed founder of JKLF, stayed in a guest house near Srinagar planning insurgency. NC cadres would meet him often.

Local Muslim elite openly spoke of secession, Jamaat-e-lslami told people in villages to purchase arms in place of luxury goods. Late Ghani Lone had told a rally in Kupwara that Muslim women should sell their jewelry and gold and use the money for purchasing guns.

Preparing for ideology

Incriminating literature appeared on the stands in Srinagar. Some government officials distributed copies of a pamphlet titled Tragedy of Kashmir. Muhammed Yusuf Saraf’s two-volume work Kashmiris Fight for Freedom was smuggled into the valley in large numbers. It also focused on earlier terrorist movements. On Guerrilla War by Che Guevara suddenly appeared on the bookstalls in Srinagar. A fiction insurrection titled Assignment in Kashmir and authored by Aamir Ali described involvement of two Swedish persons in smuggling of arms into Kashmir for Kashmiri guerrillas for separatist movement. A newsman wrote that Kashmiri boys were going to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) for training in arms. He was sacked.

Internal subversion

The network of internal subversion became active. Suddenly there appeared the Resettlement Bill and the pamphlet written by an NC MLA titled Kashmir main aksariyyat ko aqqaliyat main badalne ki sazish (The Conspiracy of Converting Kashmir Muslim Majority ino a Minority). It depicted a picture as if a great conspiracy was being hatched to destroy the Muslims of Kashmir. It called the Kashmiri Muslims a third nation. It was the ideological blue print for pernicious plan of Greater Muslim Kashmir. The author was rewarded more than he deseved — a berth on the State Cabinet for three terms.

Greater Muslim Kashmir

Ladakh was divided into two districts on communal basis. Local Kashmiri officials, purposefully posted to Ladakh created a wide gulf between the Buddhists and Muslims. Kashmiri Muslim colonies came up in Leh and were provided with lucrative commercial opportunities. The virus of communal hatred was inducted into Ladakh society. Situation in Doda was no better. One Doda NC minister said that not only Kashmir but also India had to be Islamized.

Ideas like Greater Muslim Kashmir carried with it the meaning of Muslim majority area, Muslim rule, Islamic laws and Islamic dispensation etc. It led to further alienation of the people. It was only logical that extirpation of non-Muslim minority from the valley was a part of this plan. NC’s tirade against India was at its height. In a dinner party a responsible NC member said that Indians had not tolerated Jinnah whose certain food habits were anti-Islamic. How would they tolerate them (Kashmiris)?

A ring of Muslim dominated colonies has been thrown round the main city of Jammu. But Hindus have been hounded out of Kashmir.

Biography (Atash-e-Chinar)

The compiler of the Sheikh’s autobiography, later on to be rewarded with a berth in the upper house, used venomous idiom against the Kashmiri Hindus calling them informers or spies of India. Sahitya Akademy, the highest awarding national organization awarded the book. Maligning the minority did not move the National Minority Commission. Congress goons blackened the face of a senior official of Sahitya Akademy for awarding a Punjabi book Janan di Rat alleging the author had lionized the assailants of Indira Gandhi. Ministry of Human Resource moved quickly to ask for the review of the book and censured the concerned official. Not a single political worker, a single newspaper asked Sahitya Academy why it awarded the biography of the Sheikh when he had so forcefully and vehemently maligned a minuscule religious minority.

The vacuum

With the Sheikh’s death, secessionist leadership emerged in full force. Common man developed hatred for the Sheikh and NC leaders and their clannish corruption. Omar Mukhtar film ran for hundreds of shows. Elite and secessionists drew a parallel from the film. A book Yih kis ka khun hai kaun mara by Shabnam Qayyum attacked the Sheikh’s legacy. Resettlement Bill was floated. ISI was in close liaison with NC. Pakistan apprehended unrest among the Kashmiris who migrated to PoK. It wanted their return to Kashmir valley to get rid of them. Its other objective was changing the demographic complexion of Jammu.

Sensing Indira Gandhi’s reaction against the Resettlement Bill, Dr. Farooq adopted more confrontational posture. He held out threats to the numerically negligible community of Pandits in an election campaign in Habba Kadal constituency with Pandit concentration. This he did in spite of the dilution of this constituency, what we call gerrymandering. He accused them of looking to the Indian army for security forgetting he himself did the same thing. Indian army had guarded his father’s family in Bhopal when the armed tribal marauders attacked Kashmir in October 1947, and he had secretly evacuated them. Dr. Farooq hobnobbed with the insurgent elements in the Punjab including Bhindranwale, and took no action against the hooligans who created a scene when the West Indies came to play a cricket match in Srinagar.

Training Camps

Sikh separatists had established a training camp for their cadres in Shajamarg, Kashmir in 1984. Farooq government kept it under wraps. Attacks on Amirakadal temple stirred no reaction in his government.

At Tulamula, on the occasion of Jayeshta Ashtami festival of the Hindus, Farooq told the assembly that Bhindranwale was the 11th guru. In 1983, GOI received reports of Kashmiri youth returning home after receiving training somewhere on the border. This belies the argument that the cause of militancy lay in the rigged elections of 1986-87. The methodology of bringing down Farooq government was a failure.

Jamaat-i-lslami (JI)

During GM Shah’s tenure two battalions of Jamaat-e-lslami were raised to augment State police force. It became the crucial element in massive internal subversion and a communal wing of the Hizbul Mujahideen.

Shah had no popular base and hobnobbed with fundamentalist elements for support. Jamaatis were recruited as teachers in a large numbers. Shah did not fight Farooq politically but aligned himself with communal forces like Qazi Nisar of Anantnag. Political rivalry between GM Shah and local Congress leadership resulted in Congress under the presidency of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed inciting communal riots in Anantnag in 1986.

Kashmiriyat and homework

The ideology of Greater Muslim Kashmir was given the name of Kashmiriyat. Few Kashmiri Muslim scholars understood that by making Urdu the official language, Kashmiri language was given a rude shock.

The elite wanted to fraternize with  Pakistanis who had accepted Urdu as  national language. Nobody told Kashmiri Muslims that Pakistan meant Punjabi hegemony and Punjabi language was the language of hegemonic and not Urdu. Urdu would bring them closer to the Mohajirs and not Punjabis. And Mohajir is pitted against the Punjabi.

Most of the Muslim children born after 1970 adopted Pakistani cricket players’ names or Arabic names. This was the Kashmiriyat of the elite. On the one hand local bureaucracy asked for huge development packages and on the other it foisted alienation.

Kashmiri Muslim youth changed their life style. Trekking, playing cricket in streets and villages and towns became common. Trucks driven mostly by Sikh drivers carried suspicious contents and dumped these at identified places at night. A large number of brick kilns surfaced in the border areas. Owners were given hundreds of thousands of rupees as industrial loans. These were used as dumping grounds. President Zia of Pakistan paid a visit to Jaipur to witness cricket match. This was indirect message to Kashmiri youth to prepare for better physical fitness.

Corruption

Bureaucrats and big business class formed nexus obstructing the opportunities of common Kashmiris. Training, employment, promotions, lucrative jobs, contracts etc. went to the wards of the elite.

Blackmailing by the bureaucracy and the political elite continued at a high rate. Whenever local leadership came into conflict with the Central leadership, it brought in the element of religion.

Erosion of NC

NC adopted dubious way in Kashmir but a different stance beyond the mountain range of the Pir Panchal. NC began losing the ground. Command went into second and third rung of leaders. They were non-committed. It was crude demagogy, browbeating nationalists and Indians through Kashmiriyat.

Fratricidal war paved the way for malevolent elements to become brokers. JI and Peoples League pushed their activists into NC through Youth NC. From this illegal marriage of the Peoples League, Jamaat-e-lslami and the NC emerged the so-called secular offspring called Kashmir Liberation Front (later on Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front). Others also joined it later on. The Peoples’ United Front of Maulavi Abbas Ansari had earlier been Muslim United Front (MUF).

MUF

It comprised two streams: Jamaat-i-lslami and non-Jamaatis. Their ideology was Islamization and Muslim communalism respectively. At times they locked horns. At present the conflict between JKLF and Hizbu’l-Mujahideen (HUM) — if there is any conflict — is not between secularism and communalism but between the shades of Muslim communalism. Most of the Jamaatis are important JKLF members. Ghulam Qadir Wani, a hardcore Jamaati, was the mastermind behind the JKLF. All earlier killings of Kashmiri Pandits were carried out by the JKLF.

The rigged election of 1986-87

Many NC workers expecting a mandate from the party were refused and joined the ranks of the MUF and later on JKLF. Sons of Congress and Plebiscite Front workers were to be found in the ranks of HUM. Gradually through political diatribe like the philosophy of living with honour and dignity (izzat wa abru ka muqam) got exposed, thus coming closer to ghettoizing confines of the Muslim sub-nationalism, patronizing regressive bureaucracy, defending its myopic vision, with-holding the Kashmiris from joining national mainstream through the creation of fantasies like “Third Nation” etc., the NC contributed liberally to the process of alienation of Kashmiris from Indian national mainstream. After 1979, NC never confronted JI’s growing secessionism.

NC’s administrative mechanism became susceptible to corruption, nepotism, favouritism and inefficiency. The nexus of bureaucracy, business class or the elite and politicians with vested interests created conditions for subversion from within. It was heading for a theo-fascist movement. NC began a negative campaign under the slogan of Kashmiriyat with undertones of sectarian Muslim identity. This alienated even the Shias besides the Gujjars and the non-Muslims of Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh.

Jamaat and insurgency

ISI wanted the JI to become the main instrument to take up the secession. Jamaat infiltrated all organizations. It had credibility among the masses and started militancy through non-Jamaat organization JKLF. It needed a cover. Jamaat-e-lslami has created a massive structure over three decades for indoctrination of Muslim children with fundamentalist ideology. Muslim elite became a support to the Jamaatis and the ISI in Kashmir. The aim was twofold (a) creating theocratic polity and (b) merging with Pakistan. Maudoodi believed in Islamic ummah (community) and not nationalities. But when UP Muslim feudal joined hands with Punjabi feudal, Mowdoodi had to be silent. He had first opposed creation of Pakistan. Jinnah had never envisaged a theocratic Pakistani Muslim state.

JI Kashmir was independent of JI of India, a subtle way of saying that it did not accept the finality of accession. Founded in Shupian in 1947, it was banned in Kashmir for the third time during the governorhsip of Jagmohan. Earlier Bakhshi had utilized their support to suppress pro-Sheikh elements. Mir Qasim lifted the ban and again used them. He got five of his own partymen belonging to Sadiq group (Congress I) defeated at the hustings. The JI candidate standing against him withdrew and in return JI was given five Assembly seats. Thus JI established links with the administrative cadres. Mir Qasim succumbed and handed over power to the Sheikh. Incidentally, Qasim’s son, a doctor in the USA, is an active worker for secession of Kashmir. Qasim facilitated the work of Jamaat. By 1970, the young generation of the Jamaatis responded. It had its schooling in darsgahs (religious seminaries). It talked of nizam or socio-political system. Jamaat expanded its influence in bureaucracy, secretariat, police force, Home Guard, Bar Association, Soura Medical Instate, Muslim medicos, schools and colleges in Kashmir and Doda, Hindustan Machine Tool Factory etc. Hindustan Machine Tool Factory and Kashmir University campus were its important centre of activity.

Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba (IJT)

In autumn 1977, the students’ wing of Jamaat-e-lslami called IJT, was created. Its public pronouncements were patently secessionist. The State government took no steps to curb it. The Afghan guerrilla documentaries were screened in the house of the CM. Ashraf Sahrai, its founder president, spoke in the first annual session in July 1978 in Srinagar and compared Kashmir struggle with liberation movement elsewhere. In 1986, number of its basic members rose to ten thousand. It ran 300 madrasahs (religious seminaries) where indoctrination was the rule.

Iranian link

Iranian clerics took care not to give sectarian colour to the concept of export of Islamic revolution. Moderates like Ayatollah Taloghani and Ayatollah Shariatmadari were sidelined and extremists like Ayatollah Mohtashami were catapulted into the seats of power. Iranian clerics courted Kashmiri Muslim youth. JI liked Khumeini type of uprising in Kashmir. Khumeini’s descent was traced to Kashmir.

Tajamulu’l-lslam appeared as a firebrand of JT and preached for armed insurgency in Kashmir. Police wanted him but the bureaucracy shielded him. He escaped to Iran via Nepal. The Iranian Ambassador in New Delhi prayed in Jama Masjid of Srinagar, traditionally a stronghold of the Sunnis who did not allow Shias to enter it.

Allahwale Movement

Ahl-e-Hadith (Taditionalists) active in Kashmir for more than a century wanted purging Islam of indigenous elements. It meant freeing popular Islam in the valley of its pre-Islamic roots. Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad, Kashmir Chief Minister believed in the Rishi (mystic) tradition or indigenous tradition of Kashmir. However, as the concept of Greater Muslim Kashmir developed, the resultant social-religious schism posed a big challenge. Allahwale were to counterpoise a section of Kashmiri Muslims that believed in popular Islam with rich indigenous content and tradition. Allahwale, Ahle Hadith and JI worked along common lines. Ahle Hadith worked among the elitist group, Allahwale with the common people because their idiom and lifestyle were like those of the common people.

It is the best-organized fundamentalist movement with branches in Africa, Europe and Pakistan and also in Russia and China. They undertook to do the remaining work of the Saudis after the patch up in Kashmir. To alley the fears of the Central government they posed as religious and good Musulmans. Tarjumanu’1-Huq was the newspaper they published. It attracted even doctors and top bureaucrats who would take leave and join its tableeghi (propagation) programme. After 1980, Allahwale spread out in entire Kashmir adopting a low profile. Silently they preached of drawing a line between kufr (heresy) and iman (faith). Communal divide was brought about carefully. Allahwale stuck to rural base. Majority of Kashmiri militants come from the rural Kashmir. The symbols of independence give them the upward position in social hierarchy and status ladder. Prior to 1988 they had organized three conferences in the valley. They had strict instructions to campaign strongly in North Kashmir especially in Baramulla and Kupwara districts. This was the time when the ‘Operation Topac’ was to be launched. Many mosques sprang. The Baramulla mosque functioned as the zonal headquarter of Allahwale in Northern India.

In 1988, around the time of launching Operation Topac, Allahwale held a big convention in Idgah in Srinagar. Dr. Farooq told the Indian government that he had refused permission for the convention. But Allahwale had a strong clout in the Union Government, and it over-ruled Farooq’s pleas. Allahwale made dubious moves feigning opposition to the Jamaatis. The Union government was misled. Nevertheless it was aware of the activities of the Islamic Study Circle established by Allahwale.

The Allahwale movement has its centre at Aligarh Muslim University. It holds its annual congregations in Bhopal at Tajul Masjid. Thousands of Kashmiri Allahwale activists attend the Bhopal congregations. They meet activist from other Indian states. Links were established to sustain anti-India campaign. The Aligarh alumni supported Allahwale strongly.

Jamiat-e~Tulaba

It concentrated on non-elitist sections. Its headquarter is in Batmaloo, Srinagar. Its leadership formed the core of JKLF. It held weekly meetings almost in every educational institution. People’s League was its sister organization with leaders like Maqbul Bhat and Mohammad Altaf or Azam Inquilabi (also a Jamaati). On November 1, 1982, Mahaz-e-Azadi (Plebiscite Front), Peoples League and Jamiat-e-Tulaba (JT) met to discuss how anti-India activities could be enlarged. Earlier on October 20, Muslim Conference called by Inquilabi had passed a resolution, which asked for implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir. It asked for acceptance of cultural demands of setting up an Islamic university, ban on co-education in the state, teaching of Arabic from the primary to post-graduate level, banning of cinemas, indecent ads and liquor shops. They agreed to form United Liberation Front to fight against India. Some university teachers as members of JT asked for implementation of shariat law in Kashmir. Interestingly, while JT demanded ban on cinema, Omar Mukhtar film went on for hundreds of shows because it showed imaginary Muslim mujahid fighting a jihad. JT secretly distributed the guidelines of Pakistan’s action plan on Kashmir. A booklet titled Hizb-e-lslami was published by it containing this confidential scheme. After giving the highlights of the insurgency plan, it concluded by saying, “Islam is our aim, the Quran is our constitution, jihad is our path, war till victory, God is Great.”

Of Hizbu ‘1-Mujahideen (HUM)

JI formed its own armed wing called HUM. It also formed women’s wing called Dukhtaran-i-Millat. In the first phase, about 500 activists went over to receive training. It concentrated on the State police organization. Some well-trained commandos in the State Police organization joined HUM. Governor Jagmohan dismissed some them. Earlier three JI MUF leaders had resigned on the understanding that Pakistan was about to attack and they would head the government in Kashmir. Initial killings of the Kashmiri Pandits were undertaken by the JKLF. But after 1990, most of the killings of Pandits took place at the hands of JUM, which now wanted to eliminate all potential opponents, not only the Hindu minority. Killing of NC leaders became their concern. Mir Mustafa, Maulana Masoodi, Molavi Muhammad Farooq and others fell victims to their bullets.

It is the best armed outfit with regular supply of arms and ammunition from Pakistan. Logistical directions come from ISI and military intelligence. Afghan mujahideen are also represented in its ranks. Top leadership has Pakistani commandos as their body-guards. Sudanese have also joined the outfit. Kashmiris receive training in Afghan training camps particularly in Khost. Some died during the American attack on Osama’s camp. Three HUM militants captured by the Indian security forces said they were trained at Eram Park near Meshad in Iran.

JI split was part of its tactics. The so-called moderate wing joined the state administrative cadres. Moderates initiated a debate that Islam is incomplete without a government. Hardcore Jamaatis say their destination is not only Kashmir but also Balkanization of India.

Cultivating Indian lobbies

a) Swatantrites
Thinking in some sections of Indian political analysts is that a nexus has developed between the fundamentalists and the Marxists. One of the important members of this Indian Muslim lobby, was a lawyer in Bombay who convassed support for Kashmir militants, Aligarh Muslim University provided a strong cell to coordinate Kashmir insurgency. This lobby tried to make use of old Swatantrite line of supporting independent Kashmir. Swatantrites had pro-British links and had established rapport with the Americans also. Through the Bombay lawyer, JRD Tata. the big Indian industrialist was approached to convene a secret seminar at Hotel Taj in Bombay on June 15 and 16, 1990. The title of the seminar was “Kashmir: the need for a bold initiative.” Many controversial personalities attended. Its proceedings were never disclosed. Its resolution recommended total regional autonomy leaving only defence, foreign affairs and communication with the Union. If Kashmiris did not agree, they were allowed to secede. Rustumjee had criticized the government for its violation of human rights in Kashmir. Nobody spoke about the extirpation of three hundred thousand Kashmir Pandits. JRD Tata was awarded Bharat Ratna, the highest civil award in the country.

b) The Initiative on Kashmir Committee
Naxalites have been vociferous in pleading human rights violations in Kashmir. An active Naxalite heads initiative on Kashmir Committee. Some ultra left groups call for secession of Kashmir. It promotes separation of Kashmir in its weekly from Bombay titled Economic and Political Weekly. It has been lionizing terrorism in India and giving hospitality of its columns to secessionists. Its special correspondents call the concern of the Indians for the Kashmiri internally displaced persons as “jingoism” The weekly has been working hard for disinformation in regard to Kashmir situation.

The question is why do these left groups, which profess and advocate their belief in secular socialist revolution and working class solidarity go on canvassing support for the insurgency movement in Kashmir? Is it because they consider it a disputed territory and can be separated from India? Among so-called human rights workers are Sarvodaya workers, the Royists and the Naxalites under one garb or the other. The Aligarh cell is in regular contact with them and the Muslim communal politicians in India.

American Perception

Prior to the implosion of the Soviet Union, Americans concern was about the containment of communism. To further its strategy, she exploited religious sentiment of the Muslims freely. America was never reconciled to non-aligned movement, as that would neutralize the Muslim support. Pakistan suits the US for specific role in the region and even globally. However after the Soviet implosion situation has changed. America has no commitment to fight Islamic fundamentalism as part of the new world order based on what they call pluralism, democracy and human rights. Expediency decides her priorities. Anglo-American group has two priorities in Kashmir. One is keeping a regional conflict alive albeit below its flash-point level and the second to carve one more Muslim segment on the Indian sub-continent complementary to their sphere of influence. China and Central Asia are two regions not far away from Kashmir. Some American lawmakers like Mr. Dan Burton are critical of India’s human rights record in Kashmir. So is Lord Avebury in U.K. Asia Watch and Amnesty International have not shown concern about terrorism imposed by the militant outfits on Indian civil society. By linking aid with elusive human rights issue, a challenge is posed to the developing countries. Asia Watch and Amnesty are somehow linked with anti-India lobbies.

On disclosures made by the sections of press about Iran’s involvement in Kashmir uprising, the US looked with some concern at Islamic Fundamentalist Kashmir. It is interesting to note that personalities like Senator Cranston and Talbot took special interest to warn India about the implications of Iranian involvement in the imbroglio but not on Saudi role. American experts have been talking about things like “shared sovereignty.” British MPs, like Lord Avebury and Kauffman, are openly supporting the idea of the “Third Option,” and Anglo-American lobby is even pressing the Pakistani civilian-military leadership to agree to the Third Option.

Track II diplomacy

Endless debates are held in European countries and the U.S. on Kashmir issue. The joke is that Kashmir has become an industry. Kathwari floated his plan during Clinton administration. The general belief is that the U.S. think-tank, giving it different names like People to People Contact or Neemrana Talks, floats these and other plans. But does anybody talk about the source of armed insurgency, the fundamentalists-terrorist dimension of insurgency and patently communal slant of the movement? Participants shy away from realities.

September 11 and aftermath

The US finally conceded that terrorists from Pakistani soil infiltrated into Kashmir. In the course of dealing with Pakistan in the matter of containment of Al Qaeda and Taliban from spreading into Pakistan, the US says she has talked to Gen. Musharraf that cross border infiltration should be stopped. General Musharraf, in turn said he had made no such commitment. In the meanwhile Indian part of the State has gone in for polls, which the militants tried to disrupt. The Hurriyat boycotted elections. Three towns showed poor turnout but in rural areas, nearly 48 to 50 per cent turnout of voters was reported. Fractured verdict resulted in the coalition government headed by the PDP chief with a 30-point common minimum programme.
(Source: Kashmir Herald . Vol 2 No. 9,  February 2003).

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