Emerging security concerns in Kashmir need constant assessment

Kashmir security situation needs an everyday assessment. Pakistan has accelerated anti-India propaganda to an international scale focusing on human rights areas. Pakistan has succeeded in her mission to some extent. The U.N. Secretary General, besides the Rapporteur, has issued a chastising statement indirectly castigating India for what they consider violation of human rights.

India is countering the canard wherever it can and in whatever way it can. But the human hearts always melt for the victimised people. Pakistan propaganda machinery has gained expertise in the creation of victimhood syndrome. This has been part of Islamic history as well.

In the summer of 2021, the Taliban of Afghanistan began gaining an upper hand in many sensitive provinces of Afghanistan. The Afghan Taliban had made inroads into the segments of Afghanistan National Army through intimidation and tricks up their sleeves. ISI was an accomplice and drawing the roadmap for them.

The message of Taliban on the verge of capturing Kabul had exceeded the actual date of capture. The non-state actors in Pakistan and their organizations fighting a proxy war in Kashmir had also got a wink of it. It served a strong morale booster to the jihadists fighting in Kashmir.

Pakistan had worked out the plan of offering ceasefire to India along the LoC for two important reasons. One was that Pakistan wanted a temporary de-escalation of tension on her border with India (especially J&K) leaving her space to attend effectively to the emerging scenario in Afghanistan. Her anticipations were not mere figments of imagination. The second, and perhaps more important reason was that Pakistan army/ISI had, in close coordination with the state/non-state militant organizations, raised well defended training camps in the forests recesses and sequestered locations of Kashmir close to LoC. The next step in their renewed strategy was to influence and alienate the Muslim villagers living close to the LoC and well conversant with the topography of the forest ranges. Thus, we find that in Shupian, Kupwara and Poonch (Surankot) sectors, a good number of locals had shifted their allegiance from the Indian army to the over-ground activists affiliated to the jihadi groups.

Hindsight will show that since the past one year or more, very few Pakistani nationals have been reported to have infiltrated and take the command of the Kashmiri gorillas. The ISI is convinced that the Kashmiri militant cadres have come up to their expected level of planning, commanding and executing terrorist plans and programmes.

However, the activity of stone pelting or bringing out crowds on streets to protest the killing of a terrorist commander or staging massive dharanas, etc., have almost come to a halt. The reason is the implementation of All Out operation plan by the military and the quantum of freedom given to the security forces of handling critical ground situations arising everyday.

There is a visible shift in the security scenario in the post –Taliban period not only in Afghanistan but in the entire volatile region of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir. This is a Sunni dominated region with Wahhabist epicentre in Punjab province of Pakistan. This province is in great turmoil on account of the religious ferment that kept simmering due to political, military, feudalists, bureaucrats, fanatical mullahs and anti-India frenzied elements. Deobandis and Barelvis are at loggerheads and each wants to supersede the other in whatever social segments it can.

In this fluid situation, the Kashmir Islamic terrorists have lost single command direction because the jihadist organizations feel they must manage to be in the eyes of the Taliban of Afghanistan. Therefore, both premier jihadist groups, LeT and JeM send their volunteers to Afghanistan to receive training in new but highly lethal weapons left behind in Afghanistan by the fleeing Americans. Some of them have managed to get hold of the American sophisticated weaponry and sneak into our side of the LoC in J&K. The Indian army commander with the Northern Command did say  that some sophisticated American weapons, which India does not have, have been brought to Kashmir by the infiltrating jihadist.

Our security commanders and forces are abreast with these developments and for them it is nothing unexpected. Rather more serious developments can be expected on the Kashmir front. But what creates anxiety is the hardening of the denial-oriented attitude of valley Muslim leadership and the dubious silence of the otherwise vocal lobbies. No valley leader is prepared to exhibit even the smallest happiness over what the Modi government has delivered; all they remember and go on parroting about is the loss of freedom, rights, Kashmiriyat, jobs, land and such like meaningless and senseless complaints. We say meaningless because the complaints pertaining to these areas are baseless. Who has taken away the Kashmiriyat, who has taken away the land or jobs? No economist in Kashmir is prepared to tell something about the developmental works done and the percentage of people who are the beneficiaries of these new enterprises. This is the path of thankless people.

The Gupkar gang gives out intermittent laments quite loudly. There are no listeners. Their listeners, foremost of all, should be the people of Kashmir. But they are not nor do they want to be. A dispassionate study will show that the entire turmoil is actually directed against the valley leadership, one and all — the old guard National Conference and the new guard of PDP. The Hurriyatis do not count anywhere except the Indian intelligence chapters. 

Hence, we are convinced that Kashmiri Muslims of the valley are not in a mood to talk to the government authorities to sort out their grievances if any. They are focused on one and only one expectation —- that a war will be fought between India and Pakistan and Pakistan will emerge victorious and hoist Pakistani flag atop Hari Parbat and declare the omnipotence of Islam. This day dreaming has been there with them for the last seven decades and half. Centuries will fly by and the dream will linger on without getting realized. The best we can wish for the valley people is God grant them strength and light to look 1500 hundred years ahead and relegate the 1500 years of past history to the backyard.

Prof. K.N. Pandita
Prof. K.N. Pandita
Prof. K.N. Pandita is the former Director of the Centre for Central Asian Studies, University of Kashmir. Prof. Pandita was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India for his contribution in the field of literature and education.

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