Multi-portfolio Union minister Jitendra Singh has justified the security extended to separatist leaders in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), saying that they faced a threat from Pakistan which might attack them to blame it on India. Singh also said the J&K unrest is the first such turmoil in the world in which the number of the civilians injured are more or less equal to those in security forces and policemen, which clearly shows how much restraint the security personnel have exercised.
While in the period preceding 8 July 2016, there were 22 attacks including one on the Army, 16 on Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Police and 5 on Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), since 8 July, there have been 48 incidents, including 41 attacks on police stations (burnt or ransacked), one on the Army, 3 on CRPF and 3 against J&K Police.
Senior CRPF sources shared some disturbing information with this writer. From 8 July to 31 August, 872 incidents of stone-pelting wounded 2094 CRPF personnel; 43 Molotov cocktails of acid, petrol or kerosene caused injuries to 43 personnel; 8 grenades lobbed by the mob injured 44 personnel; 117 attacks were launched by mobs on CRPF camps; 328 vehicles of CRPF have been seriously damaged; 994 items of anti-riot equipment are damaged/destroyed.
Apart from the much-mentioned shotgun short-range cartridge no. 9, that CRPF had to resort to using owing to the aggressiveness of the mobs, plastic and rubber pellets were also used as well as tear-smoke shells and tear smoke grenades, many of which were quickly picked up and lobbed back by mobsters at CRPF personnel. Of the casualties mentioned, 122 are grievously injured.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti seems to be trying hard to change the political discourse. Since she first lashed out at separatists on 31 May 2016, she has made many statements on the general theme of instigation of public/youth. On 22 August 2016 she reportedly said that the Kashmir unrest was ‘pre-planned’ and only handful involved in keeping the Valley on the boil while 95 per cent people were peace-loving, that children are being used as a shield by “vested interests” while attacking camps and posts of Security Forces (SFs) to incite them, as a result of which innocent kids have become casualties. She also conveyed a message to those raising “pro-Azadi” slogans, that they should see the condition of Muslims in Islamic countries like Pakistan, Syria, Turkey and Afghanistan even though these nations have “freedom”. On 27 August 2016, she said that the situation in Kashmir has been bad since 2008.
“The UPA government had ignored the situation after the 2008 unrest. But PM Modi is trying to resolve the situation,” she said. Praising PM Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh for taking initiatives to start a dialogue with Pakistan, she said, “PM Modi reached out to Pakistan, went to Lahore, but then Pathankot happened. Home minister Rajnath Singh also went to Islamabad. Unfortunately, Pakistan has repeatedly given up chances to talk and resolve the issue of violence in Kashmir….Now, it is time for Pakistan to respond if it wants peace in Kashmir.”
Despite her lashing out at separatists, she urged them to come and talk without any response from them, other than Geelani, who said she had “lost her mental balance after gaining power”.
“As a mother, I am pained to see that kids are being told to go out and stone police stations. Will stone-pelting solve the issue?” she asked. Sources within PDP are reported to have admitted that it was not easy for Ms. Mehbooba to speak out against Pakistan/speak on the lines of her BJP allies, in the face of many detractors within her own party. She is reported to have gone as far as to say, “I am not going to put up two faces – one here in the state and the other to the Centre’.
On 16 July 2016, All Party Hurriyat Conference-Geelani (APHC-G) chairman S.A.S. Geelani wrote a letter to several international bodies and heads of state in several countries outlining six measures that the Indian government should take for return of normalcy in the valley: acceptance of Kashmir’s disputed status along with right to self-determination, demilitarization of the valley, repealing of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act, release of all political prisoners in Kashmir along with restoration of their right to political activity, allowance to all international human rights and humanitarian organisations for working in the state and ensuring “free political space” to all parties in the state.
On 23 August 2016, APHC-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq sent a letter to Pope Francis, Dalai Lama , Imam Kaba, Shankrachrya and ambassadors of various countries in New Delhi, UN,EU, and OIC on the situation in J&K, peppered with some lies and twisted facts. His statement in media is, “Hurriyat is the leadership of Kashmir and there should be an unconditional dialogue … the precondition of ‘within the ambit of the Indian Constitution’ will not lead to a solution.”
When the All Party Delegation members Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav, Assauddin Owaisi, D Raja, Rajgopal Narayan and Fayaz Mir arrived at Geelani’s Hyderpora residence, where he is “house-detained” he refused to open the door and a group of people appeared at the site yelling slogans like “Go India, Go Back” and “We want freedom.”
The MPs feeling embarrassed rushed into their bulletproof vehicles, which had to move slowly as these protesters walked in front of them. Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under detention at Chashmashahi sub-jail, refused to talk to Assadudiin Owaisi, who came out within a minute or two. Sitaram Yechury, Sharad Yadav, other two members of the delegation reached Humhama sub-jail to meet JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and
DFP chief Shabir Shah. Malik refused to talk to them. An APD member reportedly said it was in their “personal capacity” that these six MPs tried to meet the separatists as the state and central governments did not have any meeting with separatists in their agenda and neither had the six MPs discussed any such intention with the rest of the delegation.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) is reportedly examining about 22 bank accounts in south Kashmir that received unaccounted money and had withdrawals coinciding with the current unrest in the valley to probe into possible links of the account holders with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) or its cadres, Kashmiri separatists and terror financiers based in Pakistan. If the preliminary enquiry revealed a direct link between the payments/disbursals and the ongoing protests, related offences may be added to the existing NIA case relating to Jammu Kashmir Affectees Relief Trust (JKART), a Pakistan-based wing of HM charged with funding terror activities in India.
Central agencies have reportedly identified 400 local leaders fuelling protests and shared their names with the State Police for an immediate crackdown, including detention under the Public Safety Act. Intelligence officials said the list included over-ground workers of HM and other terrorist outfits, besides local-level functionaries of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH), the APHC-G and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).
Reports on 2 September 2016, stated that J&K government clamped down on five news channels for “fomenting trouble….creating law and order problem” A letter by district magistrate, Srinagar to the cable operators stated: “cable operators have been transmitting programmes which promote hatred, ill-will, disharmony and a feeling of enmity against the sovereignty of State.” The five popular news and current affairs channels include Noida-based Gulistan TV, KBC, JK Channel, Hyderabad-based Munsiff TV and Insaaf TV. These channels, according to cable operators, enjoy massive viewership.
“Separatists” is too mild a term for referring to outright traitors and in fact agents of Pakistan, who have for at least three decades been receiving large undisclosed amounts of funds from Pakistan for, to begin with, motivating/recruiting Kashmiri youth to join Pakistan-supported terrorist groups, purging Kashmir valley of over 4,00,000 Kashmiri Pandits, organizing protests/breakdowns/‘bandhs’/closure of schools /inflammatory seditious speeches at mosques/waving of Pakistani flags/aiding and abetting Pakistani terrorists for attacks or by having them sheltered etc.
In recent years they have ensured for their Pakistani mentors that Kashmir valley remains on the boil, prevent progress and prosperity of good tourist seasons or allowing entrepreneurs from establishing businesses to benefit Kashmiris and a radicalizing public, particularly youth, in general, doing much to make the lives of Kashmiris miserable.
Yet, ironically, these traitors enjoy various benefits from the government and house arrests/detentions have not prevented them from issuing various calls and calendars for not only bandhs/shutdowns paralyzing life in the valley, but also for aggressive action. In addition to stones, sticks, explosive materials mentioned, even firearms have been used in recent mob attacks over the past weeks. Comments have been made about the separatists inciting youth, while the children of all of them are studying or settled in foreign countries. If terrorists in Pakistan and in other countries inspired by Pakistan are like cancer, Kashmiri separatists are no better as they are organizers of terror and anti-Indian as well as anti-Kashmiri activities.
Even at the cost of being repetitive, it is reiterated that no talks or peace measures in Kashmir will succeed until the separatists are ‘separated’ from J&K, put in jails outside the State and their entire network neutralized. Alongside multi-media and social media must be made the best use of to change the mindset of the people by reminding them of history and showing them Pakistani atrocities in Pak occupied Kashmir and Balochistan.