Posts Tagged ‘indian occupied kashmir’

India’s involvement in terrorism exposed at UN

October 1, 2010 Leave a comment

India’s involvement in terrorism exposed at UN

UNITED NATIONS – India supported terrorist elements in neighbouring countries and even it helped set up the most lethal terrorist organisation, Tamil Tigers, which introduced suicide bombings in South Asian region, Pakistan told the UN General Assembly Wednesday.

In a forceful rebuttal of Indian External affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s accusation that Pakistan was linked to terrorism, Pakistani delegate Amjad Hussain Sial told 192 members that India had conducted state terrorism in Kashmir where people resorted to revolt against New Delhi’s rule marked by repression.

The tough Pakistani response led to a verbal clash between delegates of India and Pakistan towards the end of the Assembly’s high-level debate.

“India … conceived, created and nurtured the most lethal terrorist organisation, which introduced suicide bombings in our region,” he said, in an obvious reference to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
“Still India has the nerve to give lectures on morality to others,” Sial said in a sharp rejoinder to Krishna’s claim that Kashmir was the target of “Pakistan-sponsored militancy and terrorism.”

Indian delegate, Manish Gupta, did speak in right of reply, but did not specifically address Pakistan’s statement about India’s role in creating the terrorist outfit.

Referring to Krishna’s “self-serving claim” that Jammu and Kashmir was part of India, the Pakistan delegate said nothing was farther from the truth. The disputed territory was on the agenda of the United Nations, which had passed resolutions to that effect. The first Prime Minster of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, had also made commitments – reaffirmation of which Pakistan welcomed – noting that Kashmir was not the property of either India or Pakistan, but belonged to the Kashmiri people.
He went on to say that India had failed to fulfil its commitments, but still had the audacity not only to claim democratic credentials, but also to aspire to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Pakistan had only echoed non-governmental organisations and the media as to the ongoing situation concerning human rights in India, as well as Kashmir.

India has maligned Pakistan on terrorism in order to hide its own behaviour, he went on to say, while adding Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism had been stated by the international community, and security forces in Pakistan continued to try to make the world safer, although countries continued to provide weapons and money to create havoc.
Gupta, the Indian delegate, accused Pakistan of making “false allegations” about his country. In fact, he said, Pakistan needed to tackle many of its own problems, rather than making comments on what he called the internal affairs of India. Pakistan should focus particularly on the issue of terrorism and devise ways to dismantle it. The violence in Jammu and Kashmir was being waged by “forces that don’t want peace,” the Indian delegate said. He noted that free elections in Jammu and Kashmir had been conducted.

“The ongoing indigenous peaceful, unarmed, non-violent and widespread movement for ‘Azadi’ i.e. freedom in Indian occupied Kashmir has once again proved that despite facing decades of repression and some of the worst forms of human rights violations at the hands of Indian security forces, Kashmiris refuse to accept any other solution than the exercise of their just right to self-determination,” the Pakistan delegate said.

India, he said, had no other option but to implement Security Council’s demand for free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices. Sial declared that Pakistan would continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the just struggle of Kashmiri people to exercise their right of self-determination.

The bleeding vale of Kashmir

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The cauldron of Kashmir continues to simmer and smolder in view of India’s scorched earth policy. Appalling human rights abuses and atrocities have been committed against civilian population. According to recently published Human Rights report, between 1989 and June 30, 2010, the number of Kashmiris killed at the hands of Indian security forces stands at 93,274. Additionally, there have been 6969 custodial killing, over 107,351 children have been orphaned, 22,728 women widowed and 9920 women gang raped. 11735 persons were arrested and 105861 houses or structures in use were razed.

Ever since indigenous armed resistance commenced in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) in 1989, India has been incessantly holding Pakistan responsible for the uprising. It portrayed the freedom struggle as terrorist movement wholly aided by Pakistan. India didn’t take into account the hard realities that Kashmiris had sustained the cruelties of Indian forces for too long. They had been repeatedly duped and promise of plebiscite made by Jawahar Lal Nehru made in 1948 remained unfulfilled. They had got fed up of the puppet state regimes imposed upon them and the lackluster approach of Pakistan towards their cause.

They got inspired by the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 followed by Palestinian intifada in 1987 and grand victory of Mujahideen against a super power in Afghanistan in 1988. These events catapulted the otherwise insipid and terrorized Kashmiris who would not pick up courage to even protest against abuses of Indian security forces. This was evident from their poor response to Operation Gibraltar launched By Pakistani irregulars in August 1965 aimed at helping the Kashmiris to realize their dream of freedom from India. Kashmiri youths from 1990 onwards were a transformed lot, fully motivated and charged up. No amount of brutal force and torture applied by Indian forces would break their will to fight back.

Few thousand Kashmiri Mujahideen kept over 700,000 regular and paramilitary forces in a spin and Kashmir became a bleeding wound for India. They showed their extraordinary grit and firmness during the Kargil conflict in summer of 1999 where in conjunction with irregulars of Northern Light Infantry, they kept the might of Indian Army at bay for ten weeks. The US and G-8 countries had to intervene to force Pakistan to vacate the occupied heights. After suffering humiliation at Kargil, India had to suffer another embarrassment when its ten-month military standoff failed to intimidate Pakistan and it had to withdraw its forces in October 2002.

India sought assistance from Israel how to deal with Kashmiri militants and learnt new methods of torture but to no effect. By 2003, Indian troops employed in IHK had become fatigued and demoralized. Cases of indiscipline, soldiers firing at seniors, desertions, suicides, and mental disorders rose phenomenally. Hospitals got filled up with malingerers and psychiatric cases. Recruitment in Army dropped radically despite announcing better pay packages. Kashmir became a dreaded station and none liked to be posted there. It was under such unsavory conditions that Indo-Pak peace treaty facilitated by USA was signed in January 2004. In his exuberance to appease India so that an amicable solution to Kashmir dispute and other disputes of Siachin, Sir Creek and dams on rivers could be found, Gen Musharraf took several steps to remove Indian concerns. He gave a written pledge that he would not allow Pakistan soil for exporting terrorism. He banned six Jihadi outfits engaged in supporting freedom struggle in IHK and ceased their funds. By restoring peace in Kashmir, he allowed India to fence the Line of Control (LoC) and also took stringent measures to curb movement across the LoC. All Parties Hurryat Conference (APHC) got split between moderates and extremists, former led by Mir Waiz and latter by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Moderates agreed to hold negotiations with Indian leaders and to workout an out of box solution as proposed by Musharraf which was outside the realms of UNSC Resolutions. Musharraf’s one-sided initiatives delivered severe blows to the indigenous struggle waged by Kashmiri armed freedom fighters that had intensified in 2003-04. Indian leaders started admitting after 2005 that cross border infiltration had reduced to a trickle. Instead of appreciating efforts put in by Pakistan Indian military claimed that stringent measures adopted by them had not only blocked movement of foreign terrorists but also the insurgency in IHK.

Peace along LoC and in IHK helped India to use Afghan soil to export terrorism into Pakistan and to create situation similar to IHK. India created and supported terrorist outfits for Balochistan and FATA to destabilize Pakistan. It was also able to hold general elections in the state in 2007 which brought in pro-India National Conference and Congress in power. Since the voters’ turnout was over 50%, Indian leaders started to brag that foreign sponsored insurgency had almost been quashed and there was no need for negotiations. They once again reverted to their uncompromising stance that Kashmir was integral part of India and its further division was out of question. The only leeway they wanted to give was to treat LoC as permanent border between two Kashmirs. The Kashmiris once again felt let down by Pakistan, betrayed by India and ignored by the world as they had felt in 1989.

There was also resentment among younger generation of Kashmir against their leaders for getting hoodwinked by Indian sweet talk and damaging the movement. The movement got reignited on a dispute over land being allotted to Amarnath Shrine Board in summer of 2008 and economic blockade imposed by Hindus in Jammu. The whole Valley resounded with slogans of Azadi (freedom) and pro-Pakistan slogans. Hundreds of thousands of people defied curfews and heavy presence of security forces. Soldiers and policemen fired straight into the crowds killing scores of people but protests continued unabated. It was the first manifestation of democratic, non-violent protests as note by Arundhati Roy.

Intensity and resoluteness of unarmed protests by Kashmiris in Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley unnerved India and the state government. Protests over India’s black laws and oppressive and unjust policies continued for months but neither Pakistan nor the world took any note of their plight. Policy of picking up suspects, putting them in secret dungeons and torturing them, fake encounters and rape continued unabatedly. The second bout of unarmed protests took place in the summer of 2009, which were ruthlessly dealt with by Indian forces disregarding that the protestors had no arms.

Fresh wave of mass agitation against India’s rule in J&K spearheaded by unarmed teenagers have spread across Kashmir Valley since last June. Intensity of protests is growing with each passing day. In June 2010 alone, 33 people were killed including four children. 572 people were tortured and injured and eight women were molested. 59 Kashmiris, mostly teenagers including an eight-year boy have been killed till 14 August by CRPF and Police. Each killing is fuelling more anger and they are coming out on streets in greater numbers.

It is high time for champions of human rights to listen to the cries of Kashmiris and take stock of atrocities perpetrated by Indian forces, killing small kids and old men and raping Kashmiri women with gusto. Peace in South Asia will remain illusive without a solution to Kashmir dispute, which has also bred extremism and terrorism in the region. Indian leaders must come out of their uncompromising and stubborn mode by fulfilling the pledge of their reverend leader Nehru and hold a plebiscite in Kashmir. Farce of Aman ki Asha and other deceitful games would work no more. Resolution of longstanding Kashmir dispute will usher in peace and prosperity in South Asia, which is primed for a bigger explosion because of discontentment and burgeoning poverty. The UNSC and USA should let go their duplicitous policy and act before it is too late.

Asif H. Raja

The only package Kashmir needs is justice

August 10, 2010 1 comment

The only package Kashmir needs is justice

SEEKING JUSTICE: Protesters set ablaze police vechile after two young men were killed in firing in Pampore on August 1, 2010. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

If the Prime Minister does not take bold steps to address the grievances of the Kashmiris, there’s no telling where the next eruption will take us.

Whatever his other failings, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah deserves praise for acknowledging that the protests which have rocked the Kashmir valley these past few weeks are ‘leaderless’ and not the product of manipulation by some hidden individual or group.

This admission has been difficult for the authorities to make because its implications are unpleasant, perhaps even frightening. In security terms, the absence of a central nervous system means the expanding body of protest cannot be controlled by arresting individual leaders. And in political terms, the spectre of leaderless revolt makes the offer of ‘dialogue’ or the naming of a ‘special envoy’ for Kashmir — proposals which might have made sense last year or even last month — seem completely and utterly pointless today.

Ever since the current phase of disturbances began, intelligence officials have been wasting precious time convincing the leadership and public of India that the protests are solely or mostly the handiwork of agent provocateurs. So we have been told of the role of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and ISI, of the ‘daily wage of Rs. 200′ — and even narcotics — being given to stone pelters. A few weeks back, an audio recording of a supposedly incriminating telephone call was leaked to the media along with a misleading transcript suggesting the Geelani faction of the Hurriyat was behind the upsurge. Now, our TV channels have “learned” from their “sources” that the protests will continue till President Obama’s visit in November.

Central to this delusional narrative of manipulated protest is the idea that the disturbances are confined to just a few pockets in the valley. Last week, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters the problem was limited to Srinagar and two other towns. No doubt, some areas like downtown Srinagar, Sopore and Baramulla were in the ‘vanguard’ but one of the reasons the protests spread was popular frustration over the way in which the authenticity of mass sentiment was being dismissed by the government. For the women who came on to the streets with their pots and pans and even stones, or the youths who set up spontaneous blood donation camps to help those injured in the demonstrations, this attempt to strip their protest of both legitimacy and agency was yet another provocation.

In the face of this mass upsurge, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has two options. He can declare, like the party apparatchiks in Brecht’s poem, that since the people have thrown away the confidence of the government, it is time for the government to dissolve the people and elect another. Or he can admit, without prevarication or equivocation, that his government has thrown away the confidence of the ordinary Kashmiri.

This was not the way things looked in January 2009, when Omar Abdullah became chief minister. Assembly elections had gone off well. And though turnout in Srinagar and other towns was low, there was goodwill for the young leader. Of course, those who knew the state well had warned the Centre not to treat the election as an end in itself. The ‘masla-e-Kashmir’ remained on the table and the people wanted it resolved. Unfortunately, the Centre failed to recognise this.

It is too early to gauge the reaction to Mr. Abdullah’s promise of a “political package” once normalcy is restored. But the people have thronged the streets are likely to ask why this package — which the chief minister himself admitted was “long in the pipeline” — was never delivered for all the months normalcy prevailed. What came in the way of amending the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act? Of ensuring there was zero tolerance for human rights violations? Of strengthening the “ongoing peace process both internally and externally”, as the all-party meeting in Srinagar earlier this month reminded the Centre to do?

At the heart of this missing package is the Centre’s failure to craft a new security and political strategy for a situation where militancy no longer poses the threat it once did. The security forces in the valley continue to operate with an expansive mandate that is not commensurate with military necessity. Even if civilian deaths are less than before, the public’s capacity to tolerate ‘collateral damage’ when it is officially said that militancy has ended and normalcy has returned is also much less than before.

The immediate trigger for the current phase of protests was the death of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo, who was killed by a tear gas canister which struck his head during a protest in Srinagar in June against the Machhil fake encounter of April 30. Many observers have blamed his death — and the deaths of other young men since then — on the security forces lacking the training and means for non-lethal crowd control. Tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon are used all over the world in situations where protests turn violent but in India, live ammunition seems to be the first and only line of defence. Even tear gas canisters are so poorly designed here that they lead to fatalities.

Whatever the immediate cause, however, it is also safe to say that young Tufail died as a direct result of Machhil. Though the Army has arrested the soldiers responsible for the fake encounter, the only reason they had the nerve to commit such a heinous crime was because they were confident they would get away with it. And at the root of that confidence is Pathribal, the notorious fake encounter of 2000. The army officers involved in the kidnapping and murder of five Kashmiri civilians there continue to be at liberty despite being charge-sheeted by the CBI. The Ministry of Defence has refused to grant sanction for their prosecution and has taken the matter all the way to the Supreme Court in an effort to ensure its men do not face trial. What was the message that went out as a result?

Had the Centre made an example of the rotten apples that have spoiled the reputation of the Army instead of protecting them all these years, the Machhil encounter might never have happened. Tufail would not be dead and angry mobs would not be attacking police stations and government buildings. Impunity for the few has directly endangered the lives of all policemen and paramilitary personnel stationed in Kashmir. There is a lesson in this, surely, for those who say punishing the guilty will lower the morale of the security forces.

Mr. Abdullah may not be the best administrator but his biggest handicap as chief minister has been the Centre’s refusal to address the ordinary Kashmiri’s concerns about the over-securitsation of the state. Today, when he is being forced to induct an even greater number of troops into the valley, the Chief Minister’s ability to push for a political package built around demilitarisation is close to zero.

At the Centre’s urging, Mr. Abdullah made a televised speech to his people. His words do not appear to have made any difference. Nor could they, when the crisis staring us in the face is of national and international proportions. Today, the burden of our past sins in Kashmir has come crashing down like hailstones. Precious time is being frittered in thinking of ways to turn the clock back. Sending in more forces to shoot more protesters, changing the chief minister, imposing Governor’s Rule — all of these are part of the reliquary of failed statecraft. We are where we are because these policies never worked.

The Prime Minister can forget about the Commonwealth Games, AfPak and other issues. Kashmir is where his leadership is urgently required. The Indian state successfully overcame the challenge posed by terrorism and militancy. But a people in ferment cannot be dealt with the same way. Manmohan Singh must take bold steps to demonstrate his willingness to address the grievances of ordinary Kashmiris. He should not insult their sentiments by talking of economic packages, roundtable conferences and all-party talks. He should unreservedly express regret for the deaths that have occurred these past few weeks. He should admit, in frankness and humility, the Indian state’s failure to deliver justice all these years. And he should ask the people of Kashmir for a chance to make amends. There is still no guarantee the lava of public anger which is flowing will cool. But if he doesn’t make an all-out effort to create some political space today, there is no telling where the next eruption in the valley will take us.