By K.N. Pandita
Agitating crowds in Srinagar have stuck to two slogans, viz. violation of human rights and self- rule.
Awaking to human rights is good even if belated. But human rights cannot be discriminative.
Youth crossing LoC clandestinely, receiving training in terrorist training camps on alien soil, returning home with arms and combat equipment, and killing innocent civilians, are patent violators of human rights.
Human rights are universal. Not to speak of security personnel deployed by state to protect life and property of citizens, even a criminal hurling hand grenade on crowds and taking innocent lives, too, has human rights.
But the handlers invoking human rights of youth killed in stone-throwing skirmishes were silent when outstanding social figures like Maulavi Muhammad Farooq, Maulana Masu’di, Dr. Guru, Sarwanand Kaul Premi, and Lassa Kaul were gunned down by externally trained gunmen, or when terror was unleashed on innocent persons in Wandhama, Chhatisinghpora, and Nadimarg massacres. Dedicated human rights activists have not to take shelter behind cowardly discrimination when application of a universal rule is desired.
It is important that human rights, if violated, are rectified, but more important is to know who violates whose human rights? The old axiom is that one man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.
If in the on-going turbulence security forces have done fifteen innocent persons from among the stone throwing streets crowds to death, it could be a case of violation of human rights, and hence we have protests and demonstrations on Srinagar streets. When militants gunned down innocent persons inside their homes by breaking open the locks and bolts, not a word of condemnation came from our venerable human rights activists.
As regards the question of self-rule, well one political group of regional standing known for its pro-militancy propensity took the initiative of giving full media hype to the idea of self-rule. It went to the length of adopting it as the main policy line of its election manifesto. And for quite amusing reasons, its main sponsor and advocate released his self-rule thesis when he was on the American and not on Kashmir soil.
At that time the US was only one year past the 9/11 tragedy, and avidly believed that her old and time-proven South Asian ally would fight her battles on the Hindu Kush heights against those whom she had resuscitated to don Islamic revivalist steel frame.
In 2002, under American pressure, Pakistan cracked down on Kashmir militant groups and with that “self-determination” upsurges died down. Eight years later today, we find yelling mobs once again reverting to that old slogan catalysed by fifteen casualties during the ongoing turbulence.
In a cryptic remark made in connection with the four weeks long turbulence in Kashmir, the Home Minister hinted in passing at external involvement in the disturbance, but hastened to eat his words letting others or the media initiate a probe into its detail and veracity.
According to knowledgeable sources two militant organizations, namely Al-Badr led by Bakht Zamin Khan, and Lashkar-e-Taiyyaba (LeT), whose resources were largely depleted up until 2008, are involved in Kashmir unrest.
Some western diplomats reacting on the situation in Kashmir are led to believe that water dispute between the two countries is the real bone of contention between them. One diplomat put it plainly; “ Some would give it the name of second Intifada in Kashmir, the first being in 1989 — the worst one which brought India and Pakistan to the point of war but briefly in Kargil.
Water dispute is he bone of contention. But Pakistan’s water problem is the result of internal mismanagement and it has nothing to do with Indian intrigues, which jihadis are exploiting for the issue of recruitment and are wrongfully projecting that if India is not controlled then whole of Pakistan will turn into a desert.”
The dispute centres on the River Kishanganga (re-named by Pakistan as Neelam), which rises in the northern mountains in Indian part of Kashmir, and then flowing past the famous Shardi shrine joins Jhelum at Domel about two kilometres down Muzaffarabad, the capital city of PoK.
Obviously, India-Pakistan logjam has impact on developments in Af-Pak region complicating attempts of restoring peace.
Two foreign ministers are scheduled to meet on 15 July and are likely to discuss appointing a panel of neutral experts to mediate on water dispute. They are also expected to discuss India’s plan to dam Kishanganga for 330-megawatt hydroelectric power project.
Of late, Al-Qaeda has been watching the developments in India, particularly in Kashmir with a keen eye. In its view the ongoing turbulence in the valley, though of low key, does prepare the ground for its mega plan of ghazwat-i-Hind or the “battle for the conquest of India” promised by scriptures to happen “at the end of time” (aakhiruz’zaman).
Al-Qaeda started ghazwat-i-Hind operation with claiming responsibility for attack on 13 February 2010 on German Bakery in Pune in which 17 persons were killed and 60 injured. The decision of intensifying ghazwat operations was, however, temporarily shelved at the last moment, and the responsibility of that blast was claimed by a pseudo organization calling itself Lashkar-i-Taiyyaba u’l-’Alam. Later on Al-Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu’l-Yezid (now killed) said in a video message that the attack was carried out by the commander of Ilyas Kashmiri’s 313 Brigade, which is assigned for Al-Qaeda’s ghazwat-i- Hind or Indian campaign. A few days after the said attack, Ilyas Kashmir had sent a message to a South East Asian news agency that more attacks could be carried out in India.
To Al-Qaeda’s mega plans, current Kashmir turbulence is a God-sent gift and “an opportunity to steal the Kashmir insurgency from its Pakistani handlers and use it for ghazwat-i Hind operations”. According to informed sources next target could be a public place in New Delhi and in October during the Commonwealth Games. One source said, “ Al- Qaeda will take responsibility of the impending attack, and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri (No. 2 of Al-Qaeda) will release a video massage on the subject”
According to informed sources UP will be the rendezvous point of Al-Qaeda’s ghazwat-i- Hind operations. It may work with groups such as breakaway factions of SIMI, which was formed in 1970 for the “liberation of India” from western materialistic cultural influence and convert Muslim society to live according to Muslim code of conduct. Al-Qaeda plans o start a pattern of terror attacks to initiate low intensity insurgency in India’s heartlands including Kashmir struggle rather than conduct stand-alone terror attacks.
In larger scenario Al-Qaeda’s strategy is to sabotage all US efforts to create peace in the region especially in AF-Pak and draw India and Pakistan into a crisis situation. This explicitly clarifies how the US looks at this new phenomenon when two of her recent postures are taken into account. One was reflected in Washington’s observation in the context of Indo-Pak foreign secretary level talks in Islamabad that “terrorism not Kashmir was the focus of these talks.” The second was the comment on recent disturbances in Kashmir, which Washington said was “India’s internal matter.”