Reflections on CRP tragedy in Pulwama

By K.N. Pandita

The martyrdom of 44 jawans of CRP and injuring many others in an IED blast on National Highway near Awantipora in Pulwama district on 14 February has drowned the nation and the concerned families in deep agony. It is a huge loss. Big nations have to bear big losses as well.

Each terrorist attack in J&K carries lessons for all of us. The first is to disbelieve in the big lie doled out by the authorities that everything is under control in the valley. The big lie traded to the unsuspecting nation and the media is that the conditions in Kashmir are under control and that there is an improvement in law and order situation. Our Generals have not wriggled out of despondent submission to the political arrogance and sycophancy, the stark legacy of the Nehruvian era. They have not to forget that the politicians will only pontificate while it is the soldiers who die for the country. Power cannot be monopolized by the pontificators only. Remember how Gen Sam Bahadur defied Indira Gandhi’s diktat and using his discretion and sense of responsibility fought and won the war in Bangladesh at his choosing. And again remember what the Generals won on the ground was lost by the politicians around the table.

We have to accept the ground reality that three districts in South Kashmir, namely Pulwama, Shupian and Anantnag, infested with militancy as they are, are not in the control of civil administration, which has compromised with the writ of the insurgents. Only the writ of under-ground, as well as over-ground jihadis, run in these areas. Hand in glove with the separatist as well as ambivalent political leadership, the entire administrative paraphernalia of these districts stands paralysed. All that the civilian functionaries of these districts care for is to find ways and means of syphoning off the funds allocated to the district level departments. The diktat comes from the ISI, and the entrenched terrorist outfits, like Lashkar, Jaish, Ansar, HuM and others, with their base in Pakistan are the operatives on the ground. These terrorists and their supporters or sympathisers flourished under the coalition government because PDP leadership was redeeming in different ways the pledge it had made to the Jama’at-i-Islami during the election campaign and the BJP was playing the second fiddle.

Pakistan feels that with the exit of the coalition government, instability and volatility in Kashmir valley should exacerbate so as to bring about the derailment of administration. It will be remembered that it was on the behest of ISI that the three mainstream political parties in Kashmir had forged a tenuous alliance and expected the Governor to call them for forming a trilateral government in the State. When the Governor scuttled their game plan, they began attacking the Governor. “Talk to Pakistan” is the refrain of their tantrum. They pull out the cliché one after the other like greater autonomy, self-rule, huge sacrifices, Kashmiriyat, the dead body of Afzal Guru etc. whatever suits them for a particular situation and then whip up the passions among the people. Hungry for power, the NC has jumped on the bandwagon of Congress and the ghatbandan to fight assembly and parliamentary election 2019. The ISI was frustrated when this plan fell through and thus decided to activate the terrorist outfits already in action in South Kashmir.

The endemic hate-India hysterics is exacerbated by the five-time-a-day haranguing by the illiterate and rabidly fanatical mullas imported from the rural areas of Bihar and UP and paid a regular monthly stipend out of the national exchequer. There is absolutely no control on what they preach in the mosques thousands of which have been raised in the length and breadth of Kashmir during past three decades with frugal funding from Saudi Arabian al-Rabitau’l-Islami benefactors and transferred clandestinely through hawala, smuggling and also as a result of the connivance of J&K Bank senior functionaries against whom cases of fraud and deception could have been framed but were not because Kashmir valley biggies are involved.

Simultaneous to the Awantipore blast, terrorists struck in Baramulla as well. Additionally, Pakistan resorted to shelling and firing across the LoC at two places in the Poonch sector. Obviously, all these attacks taking place simultaneously or in close succession have been undertaken under a well-planned strategy. The strategy is dimensional like whipping up anti-India hysteria among the valley population, making home terrorists pro-active, opening unprovoked firing across the LoC and stimulating massive public protests. The aim of the enemy is to open as many fronts as possible to divert the attention of security forces and the security strategy. Another dimension of the heightened violence is that Pakistan Army Chief is to retire in November. He does not have clout in Pakistan polity. He wants to cash upon taking Indo-Pak acrimony to its pitch through advanced subversive activities like the Pulwama blast. He would like to make it a ploy for securing extension in service, something not unknown to Pakistan army…

A war is going on in Kashmir. The masses of people are pitted against Indian presence. India gave them a democratic dispensation and a secular arrangement both of which have been grossly abused. Kashmir leadership and masses are playing in the hands of Pakistanis. For India, it is a matter of political sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a democratic country, India has provided the people of Kashmir such as civil, political and human rights as are a dream even in the rich Islamic countries.

Indian army has to understand that the undeclared war is going on in Kashmir and the masses of people have turned treacherous. They have the Pakistani Zarb-e-azab module before them. Since the Prime Minister has given them the freedom of action, the army chief should declare military rule in the three affected districts, take administration and security into its hands, launch massive combing operations, detain those obstructing army action against the enemy and deny political villains even a solitary opportunity of obstructing the flow of military administration. We should also try to understand that a massive conspiracy is being hatched in the radical Islamic world to wage the ghazwa meaning religious war against India. The Indian state, as well as the Indian nation, has to stand as one mass against this menace and crush it to powder.

The PM has taken some retaliatory steps and plans some more. Giving the army a free hand in Kashmir is the right thing to do, and hopefully, the army, which has created many friendly pockets among civilian segments in the valley, can expand these to embrace a larger number of people in an atmosphere free from the perfidies of self-centred mischief mongers called politicians.

The last important step which the Home Ministry should take immediately is to bring about a radical change in its policy of providing security to VIPs in Kashmir. Security cover for all MLAs, MLCs and political heavyweights should be wound up. What is the sense of providing security cover to those who openly preach sedition or declare that they are walking behind the separatist; who consider it a sin to say a word in condemnation of terrorist acts against innocent civilians and who lionize the terrorists as heroes. Let terrorists provide them with personal security. Moreover, why should police or a CRP PS get killed at the hands of terrorists for a person whom they guard against the persons with whom he hobnobs in private?
(The writer is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir, Srinagar: E-mail knp627@gmail.com).

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