Posts Tagged ‘insurgency’

Kashmiris to Celeberate Aug 14 Pakistan’s I-Day: Mourn Aug 15 (Indian I-Day) as black day: Geelani

August 9, 2010 Leave a comment

Kashmiris to Celeberate Aug 14 Pakistan’s I-Day: Mourn Aug 15 (Indian I-Day) as black day: Geelani

SRINAGAR (Indian Occupied Kashmir): A day after Pro-Pakistani Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani spurned home minister P Chidambaram’s dialogue offer, moderate separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday followed suit, saying the talks will have no meaning because the Union government is “lacking in sincerity”.

Geelani, meanwhile, asked New Delhi to fulfil the promise of giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination. “Pandit Nehru promised Kashmiris the chance to decide their fate in 1948, but never fulfilled the promise,” he said. “Nehru showed the sky but snatched the ground beneath our feet.” He asked people to observe Pakistan’s foundation day as “a day of solidarity” on August 14 and called for observing August 15 as a “black day”.

The 37-year-old Mirwaiz said he had proposed specific measures like demilitarisation, revocation of repressive laws and release of political prisoners to build trust to take the dialogue process forward and provide much-needed relief to the people. “But, unfortunately, these demands were not heeded,” he said.

This showed New Delhi’s lack of sincerity, the Mirwaiz said, which in turn has discredited the institution of talks. “In less than two months, around 50 people, mostly children and teenagers, have been killed and all forms of repression are in place,” he said, and added, “Where’s the scope for engagement when a virtual reign of terror has been let loose on the people demanding their basic rights?”

Geelani and the Mirwaiz haven’t, in the past, agreed on engagement with the Centre, and the hardline octogenarian Geelani even broke away from Hurriyat when the Mirwaiz-led separatists held two rounds of talks with the BJP-led NDA government, which first brought the separatists to the negotiating table in January and June 2003.

The UPA government picked up the threads and held separate talks with the Hurriyat, JKLF leader Yasin Malik and People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone in late 2005 and early 2006. A “quiet dialogue” between the Mirwaiz and the Centre broke abruptly after Hurriyat leader Fazlul-haq Qureshi was critically injured in an attack in Srinagar earlier this year. Qureshi was seen as a facilitator of the engagement and had earlier brokered talks with Hizbul Mujahideen.

The Mirwaiz said India and Pakistan were clear on their terms of engagement with the Hurriyat. “(They were) based on two principles: All parties recognised Kashmir as a dispute and displayed willingness to resolve it (and) that dialogue was a way forward to the issue’s final settlement in accordance with the people’s wishes and also taking into account the positions of India and Pakistan,” the Mirwaiz said.

Meanwhile, Geelani met a delegation of Srinagar-based Kashmiri Pandits, who complained of harassment, and assured them safety. “Geelani became emotional and told us that we’re a part of Kashmir and our safety is the majority’s community’s primary duty,” Srinagar-based Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti leader Sanjay Tickoo told TOI. “Geelani told us that if anything happens to us, it would be like a wound inflicted on his body,” added Tickoo. TOI.

Kashmir Back on Burners!

The Indian Army Chief, General V.K. Singh, has recently opined that political initiatives will be more crucial than the security requirements of India in the occupied State of Jammu and Kashmir. That such initiatives need to be all-inclusive and must take on board the people of Kashmir. General Singh was of the impression that the internal security situation has been “brought under control” and it is because of the “forces which have sacrificed with their blood” to achieve this. The fresh spate of riots and ensuing curfew certainly point towards much more of such “sacrifices” which India’s security forces are poised to continue making in Kashmir. India’s colonial mindset has bared its teeth, yet once again.

Violence is back in Kashmir, courtesy unrelenting atrocities by the Indian security forces mandated under special powers and equipped with torture weapons. The underlying reason for the current upheaval is the brutal rape, murder and subsequent cover-up by Indian soldiers in Sopore. This saga was never forgotten, nor is it likely to be. Despite this, the Indian military continues to use rape, torture and murder as weapons duly authorised by the state and union governments.

The current wave of uprising in Kashmir covers Anantnag, Aachidorian, Srinagar, Kupw-ara, Bandipura, Budgam, Phu-lawan, Kagan, Sumbal Handw-ara, Rajwari areas etc. Over a dozen people have been killed by the Central Reserve Police Force. Their only fault was that they were protesting against the state terrorism perpetrated by the police and the military. Periodically, long spell curfews have been imposed and cell phone services suspended. Indian Home Minister P. Chid-ambaram has asked the IHK government to act “strongly” and has promised support from the centre.

The Indian media, too, has gone crazy to generate an impression that violence in IHK picked up momentum after the Home Minister returned from Pakistan and just as talks are about to get underway. As we know India has never been enthusiastic about talks, and it has been brought to this point under international pressure; hence it is preparing the environment to blame Pakistan for instigating violence in Kashmir. On this pretext, India could walk away from the dialogue.

It is interesting that the wors-ening of Kashmir’s situation comes just when Pakistan’s importance for the Afghan issue is being recognised and there is a move towards national rec-onciliation and integration in Afghanistan. In this process Pakistan is playing the lead role, something that India cannot stomach.

The decades old struggle for independence in IHK has its own peculiarities. Kashmiris have never accepted the Indian rule, and as a corollary, Indians have never trusted the Kashmiri populace. These two perceptions often superimpose each other to give a periodic impetus to the freedom movement if ever it falls short on steam. When the authorities imposed strict curfew restrictions in most parts of Srinagar and closed schools and colleges, after the protestors had appealed to the students to hold anti-India rallies, thousands of people came out on the streets to defy the curfew, while shouting “we want freedom.” The writ of state was effectively challenged.

More so, the violent Kashmir and Central Reserve Police Forces, which have only guns at their command to tackle such protests, aggravated the situation. The use of force against the protesters was brutal and without restraint. Consequently, the deaths of protesters, in the last three weeks, have triggered the biggest anti-India demonstrations in two years, across the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley. In accordance with his rote script, Indian Home Minister Chidambaram has accused Pa-kistan-based militant group, Lashkar-i-Taiba, of backing these snowballing anti-India protests; however, a majority believes that the protests are mostly spontaneous and home-grown.

The Indian occupation forces in IHK have since years been trying to suppress the Kashmiri freedom movement. But so far all efforts to contain this movement have failed. The Kashmiri youth appears to be highly determined to fight for their just cause of self-determination. Their elders have sacrificed their lives and honour for freedom and have suffered grave losses at the hands of the Indian army. The objective of the Indian army is to inflict emotional and psychological pressures so that the people of Kashmir give up their struggle for self-determination. Admitting that human rights violations at the hands of the Indian army “do occur” in IHK, the Indian Prime Minister in his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir said: “The security forces in the state have been strictly instructed to respect the rights of civilians.” It was in response to such observations that the former Kashmir Chief Minister and the current Chief Minister’s father, talked about the “trust deficit” between New Delhi and the people of Kashmir. This sentiment is also shared by Vijay Dhar, the son of late DP Dhar: “Indians have not been able to give Kashmiri Muslims a sense of belonging, a partnership in the Indian enterprise.”

Indeed, the baton of struggle for the right of self-determination has successfully passed onto the next generation. This generation grew up watching the fate of that segment of the Kashmiri population that opted to go along with the Indian occupation in exchange for limited political gains. Elders, as well as children, of such clans know the hard reality that their families have been used as puppets for perpetuating the Indian hegemony over Kashmir. Pro-India elements have become irrelevant. The conflict in Kashmir has cost tens of thousands of lives since the revolt against New Delhi got rejuvenated two decades ago.

Thus, it is the firm belief of the younger generation that only a homegrown struggle could lead to a solution in Kashmir that is in line with the aspirations of the Kashmiris in general.

Essence of the matter is that the issue must be solved quickly through a participatory political process involving Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir. But Indians remain content with accomplishing fire-fighting through brutality. This certainly is not likely to lead towards a perennial solution. It only reinforces the resolve of suffering people to continue till the finish line.

The people of Kashmir are struggling to keep the issue alive. And Pakistan needs to undertake a supportive campaign to correct the international perception by unscrambling this legitimate freedom struggle from terrorism. Likewise, the UN needs to wake up to the reality and implement its resolutions on plebiscite.

The Nation

Maoists winning the battle to control India

Friday’s train crash in India has been blamed on “sabotage” by Maoist rebels. It was the latest in a series of rebel attacks after the government launched an offensive against them. The BBC’s Soutik Biswas asks whether the rebels are gaining the upper hand.

It is not surprising that Maoist rebels are being blamed for the derailment of an express train in India’s West Bengal state, in which 71 passengers were killed.

The police claim they have found posters signed by a local Maoist militia claiming responsibility for removing part of the track, which led to the train skidding off and colliding with a freight train coming in the opposite direction.

West Midnapore district, where the incident happened, is the hotbed of Maoist rebellion in West Bengal, one of the states where the rebels have a presence.

Tribespeople dominate the district, especially the forested Junglemahal region bordering Jharkhand state.

They feel ignored and deprived by the Communist government which has been ruling the state since 1977. Most live in abject poverty. The only visible signs of “development” I spotted during a trip to the area some years ago were cheap liquor shops.

Strong support

Fed up with the state of affairs, Junglemahal’s tribespeople even agitated for a separate state.

When neighbouring Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state, their alienation grew and they were quick to welcome the Maoists, who wield most influence in areas which are poor and dominated by tribespeople.

The security forces are on the backfoot after a spree of rebel attacks
The Lalgarh area in Junglemahal is the rebels’ most formidable stronghold.
In February, they stormed a police camp in Lalgarh, killing 24 policemen.
Rebels love to describe Lalgarh as a “liberated zone” where the state has withered away – schools and medical centres have closed down because teachers and doctors are afraid to attend, and policemen are confined to the police stations fearing reprisals.

Friday’s incident in West Midnapore demonstrates how the rebels are taking the battle to their enemies ever since the federal government launched an offensive in what is known as India’s “red corridor” earlier this year.

This comprises 223 of India’s 636 districts in 20 states which the government says are “Maoist affected”, up from 55 districts in nine states six years ago.
Ninety of these affected districts, the government says, are experiencing “consistent violence.”

The rebels have been carrying out attacks with impunity in recent months – two major attacks Dantewada in Chhattisgarh state left more than 100 people dead, including 75 paramilitary troops.
But there are also theories that in this case the Maoist script went slightly awry.

Maoists frequently tamper with railway lines and often these lead to minor derailments; a number of such attempts have been caught well in time. There have been hijackings but no major attacks on civilian transport with such a death toll.

In the past year, Maoists have carried out 32 attacks on railways, mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh – but no major casualties have been reported.

Support for the Maoist cause across India generally will be dented by such an attack, just as it was after the assault on troops in Dantewada.

Following the twin Dantewada attacks, the government said it was reviewing its strategy for fighting the rebels, who have refused to respond to repeated government offers for talks.

Analysts say that the strategy of “clearing, holding and developing” rebel-affected areas evidently inspired by the US strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan is not working.

‘Visible retreat’

One reason, they say, is that the surge of security forces and resources on the ground are not sufficient enough to take on the rebels who are spread over a vast swathe of remote mineral-rich forest lands.

Maoists call Lalgarh a “liberated zone”

The government is now in a “visible retreat” after a spree of rebel attacks, says security analyst Ajai Sahni.
He believes that a lack of adequate forces, training and intelligence is leading to these “disasters”.

“Unless local capacities for intelligence and operations are enormously augmented, this [offensive] can go nowhere, and lot of lives are going to be lost for no useful purpose,” Mr Sahni says.

But the under-equipped local police and intelligence-gathering networks remain Indian security’ s weakest link, and there no visible efforts to bolster them.

The government appears to be confused over how the rebels should be tackled – there are differences in the ruling Congress party itself on whether the state should strike hard against it’s own people.

Recently federal home minister P Chidambaram requested wider powers to deal with the rebels, saying that he had been given a “limited mandate.”
He said the chief ministers of some of the worst affected states have asked for air power to be used against the rebels – a measure that the government has refused to sanction.

Analysts believe that many states are not doing enough to take on the rebels, leading to a “centralisation” of the problem.

The train ‘”sabotage” was one of the biggest attacks launched by the rebels
“The principal responsibility for dealing with the Maoists remain that of the states; the first responders, the local police stations, have to be strengthened and equipped to deal with the task on their own.”

Till that happens, the rebels will be seen to have an upper hand in what promises to be long drawn out and bloody conflict, the like of which India has never seen.

Categories: Article Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,