Tackling scourge of terrorism in Kashmir, Congress-style
The situation in parts of the Kashmir Valley is highly volatile. It’s not just Pakistan which considers Jammu & Kashmir an “unfinished agenda of partition” that has been exporting terror to Kashmir (and other parts of India) and doing all that it can to motivate and inspire its Valley-based operatives to intensify, bleed and break India. Islamabad-backed and Pakistan-occupied-Jammu & Kashmir-based terror organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) are also not leaving any stone unturned to accomplish their anti-India design in Kashmir and ensure that Islamabad establishes its control over the precious Indus waters. Reports, in addition, suggest the presence of al-Qaida in certain areas of Kashmir Valley, which is the most prosperous region in the world.
More disturbing is the fact that there are elements in the Jammu & Kashmir establishment who have also been extending overt and covert support to forces inimical to India. So much so, they have been using the state legislature for provoking gullible sections of Kashmiri Muslim society to rise in revolt. There is hardly any Kashmiri leader who doesn’t hate India, Indian institutions and Indian laws.
Four major demands of Kashmiri leaders are greater autonomy, self-rule, independence and merger with Pakistan. There is another group in Kashmir which has been advocating the need to accept and implement former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s four-point Kashmir formula as a first step towards the final destination: Separation from India. Acceptance of Musharraf’s four-point formula automatically means self-governance for Jammu & Kashmir, demilitarization, India-Pakistan joint control over the State and a porous Line of Control (LoC). In other words, it means recognition of Pakistani claim over Jammu & Kashmir, which is legitimately Indian.
The point is that all anti-India forces are working as per a diligently evolved strategy and in tandem, believing this is the most appropriate moment to strike. What happened on and after February 8, 2013 clearly suggests that the hostile forces in and outside Kashmir have been able to bloody the Indian political scene with utmost ease. During this short span of time, they struck at least six times. These attacks left two Lance Naiks, five CRPF personal, two police constables and one BSP personnel dead and at least an equal number of others, including some civilians, critically injured. Some are still battling for their lives.
A terror-related incident on March 20 left one young Kashmiri Muslim Suhail Ahmad Sofi dead. Actually, the Lashkar terrorists chased this young boy and shot him dead within the premises of a mosque in militant-infested Sopore. They pumped five bullets into his body. Their objective was to produce a moral effect so that no Kashmiri Muslim talks about and hails India. Sofi was suspected by the LeT operatives to be an informer of the security forces.
To say all this is not to suggest that the Indian Army and paramilitary forces have failed the nation. They have not. They have been fighting splendidly and making supreme sacrifices while combating the scourge of terrorism and the menace of separatism. They are so committed that left to themselves they would have cleansed the Valley and other militant and separatist-infested areas of the state in no time. But the Congress-controlled political establishment has not given them a free hand to deal with the situation for reasons not really difficult to understand. This is a statement of fact.
In would be in order here to mention two components of the policy which the NC-Congress coalition government has been pursuing in the State, at the behest of the Congress-led UPA at the centre, against terrorism. One, the establishment has directed the concerned authorities responsible for maintaining law and order and tackling militants to ensure that paramilitary forces do not carry firearms with them. “As already decided in video conference, please ensure that all police/paramilitary personnel deployed for law and order duty under your jurisdiction don’t carry any firearms/weapons with them. They should only be well-equipped in full riot gear. Proper drill should be observed in dealing with law and order situation while using gas guns, tear smoke shells. Deployment shouldn’t be made in scattered manner. Violation of these instructions will be viewed seriously. The PCR shall be kept informed with the deployment,” the March 1, 2013 order read. The order was issued by Inspector General of Police, Kashmir division. And remember, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah holds the key Home portfolio.
Two, the political establishment in the State has been providing a foolproof security cover to Kashmiri separatists. On March 22, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah himself informed the Assembly that the “government has spent Rs 9.47 crores on account of providing security cover to the Hurriyat and other separatist leaders”, that “last year alone, the state government had spent Rs 85.50 lakh on account of salaries of PSOs and drivers of Hurriyat leaders” and that “about Rs 7 lakh was spent on the fuel used in their escort vehicles in 2012”.
This explicitly shows that the Congress which shares power with the National Conference in the State while the NC is an ally of the Congress at the Centre, has been pursuing a policy which not only protects terrorists, murderers and separatist like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, but also disarms the security forces operating in Kashmir and elsewhere in the state.
There was a time when the Congress would adopt a policy of catch and kill. A case in point is the manner in which Congress Chief Minister of West Bengal, Siddharth Shankar Ray, tackled the dreaded Naxals. The Congress Chief Minister of Punjab, Sardar Beant Singh, similarly decimated the dreaded Khalistanis. Both established peace in their respective States.
But gone are those days. Today’s Congress wants our unarmed security force personnel to handle those who carry AK-56 rifles, grenades and other sophisticated weapons. No wonder our soldiers and jawans are paying such a heavy price for the follies of the Congress party.
Would it be in order to ask why these unarmed security forces are not deployed for the security of the very VIPs who issue such orders when it comes to the security of ordinary citizens?