This year Jammu and Kashmir has been in the news for more negative reasons than positive. There has been a significant increase in the number of incursions by the Pakistan-backed militants across the Line of Control and the international border, and, there has been a serious attempt to disturb communal peace at Kishtwar in the month of August.
Moreover, the incidents along the border in the Jammu region when terrorists backed by the Pakistan Army chose to attack a police station and an army unit. There were attempts by militants to cross the Line of Control in the Keran Sector. The conclusion: Pakistan, particularly the Inter Services Intelligence of the country, has not given up attempts to promote violence and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and indulge in disturbing communal harmony between two communities.
The cease fire that had come into effect in 2003 and was largely observed in Jammu and Kashmir is under strain and it is time the India should change its strategy. In the final analysis, it has seen that as far as Pakistan is concerned the ‘Dialogue’ and ‘Back channel negotiations’ have not helped. We have to take a position that would deter those who seek to destabilize the state and the country. Neither the Line of Control is unlikely to cool down nor will Kashmir be allowed to live in peace by Pakistan.
We should stop molly-coddling the ‘separatist groups’ in Jammu & Kashmir. Over the years, the Hurriyat Conference, many would admit has lost steam in the yearning of the common man to lead a normal life. However, we seem to send the wrong signal. That the Pakistani Prime Minister’s adviser Sartaj Aziz came to Delhi recently to participate in Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and his High Commission promptly invited leaders of several of these groups to come to meet him seemed way out of the ordinary in today’s times. We shouldn’t allow them to travel to Delhi to keep their appointments with Aziz, as at least one of the separatist leaders, was till recently under house arrest.
The leaders, of course included the who’s who of the separatist groups. They were Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chief Yaseen Malik, hard-line Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Asiya Andrabi of Dukhtar-e-Millat, the women’s separatist organization of the State. Meeting Aziz separately, the groups reportedly asked him for a lasting solution to the Kashmir “dispute” as if by articulating this wish the Pakistan Government and its Army would rush into the quagmire to find a “lasting” solution. Worse, they continue to be having the misconception that they represent the people of Jammu and Kashmir although they steer clear from the elections in the State.
J&K state Government is trying hard to come out of the past and restore normalcy, these separatists should realize that they have only been obstructing peace and progress by calling for frequent shut-downs and strikes under the threat of terror and indulging in violence. They are, in fact, the fifth columnists who take orders from their masters across the borders. Recall, Yaseen Malik, had even been caught on camera sharing a platform with Hafiz Saeed, chief of Laskar-e-Toiba, and radical outfit of Pakistan that organizes terror attacks in India in collaboration with the ISI. There can be nothing “routine” about these meetings and, for all one knows, these are held to foment more trouble within J&K. Opinion is that there is no earthly reason for these minority groups to meet a foreign power for consultations.
Recall also that only the other day, on a call given by Geelani, October 27 last was observed as a “Black Day” as on that day the Indian troops, allegedly, commenced their “occupation” of Kashmir. This was stated by S A Shamsi of Jamait-e-Islami, which organized a dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad, attended by leaders of Pak Occupied Kashmir. Sadly, the Kashmiri separatists, whether in India or in Pakistan, have by their statements made the history of post-Accession Kashmir stand on its head! Everybody knows what these ‘separatists with blinkers’ have been broadcasting are absolute falsehoods.
Inviting the Indian Army was thus a joint decision of the Maharaja and the most popular leader of the Kashmiris. The Army had gone into Kashmir only when it became a part of India. By no stretch of imagination, therefore the Army in Kashmir is an “Occupation Army”. It is there to protect its own territory that includes Jammu & Kashmir and its people. In fact, it is Pakistan which has illegally occupied a big chunk of Indian Territory in Kashmir by sheer violent aggression. If there is any “army of occupation” in Kashmir it is the Pakistan Army which is in forcible occupation of what is known as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. If Pakistan was serious about holding a meaningful dialogue it would have to respect “India’s sentiments, point of view and sensitivities”. India had “done a great deal” to build public opinion in favour of dialogue with Pakistan. India had decided to go ahead with the dialogue despite an outcry at home over the killing of five Indian soldiers on August 6 on the Line of Control by Pakistani soldiers. Now it’s the turn of Pakistan to reciprocate the response positively.