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| K Srinivasan, Ex IG - BSF/CRPF, Delhi, Expert on J&K - 01 Sep 2019

Abrogation of Article 370/35A Landmark, Much More Needs to be Done

With the landmark abrogation of Article370/35A, the Govt has dismantled the architecture of “OTHERNESS” and achieved rectification of historical wrong and integration of the Nation completely and constitutionally, however, much more needs to be done to sustain the process of removing the trust deficit between the Indian state and the people of Kashmir - writes K. SRINIVASAN, Ex IG BSF & CRPF, who has served in all the Sectors mainly in the Western Front, having unique credit of working in Intelligence stream (G Branch) for about 23 years, in  BSF and also has credit of setting up intelligence unit, school and teams of CRPF as IG, Intelligence.

By K. SRINIVASAN, IG BSF /CRPF (Retd)

New Delhi, Sep 01, 2019: Insurgencies or for that matter, movements to replace democracy with self-conceived concept of governance originated on misplaced ideological premises, today becomes a business, a livelihood and a tool for existence. Be it Kashmir militancy, NE Insurgency or Left-Wing Extremism, all started from the element of “ideology” but gradually metamorphosed into a private business with money and power playing a complementary role discarding its original aim. A theatre wise perspective is to be studied

Kashmir Militancy

1. Understanding the politics in Kashmir would be incomplete unless one has the propensity to study the causative dynamics of the situation.

2. Beneath the sounds of gunfire and the firing of political rhetoric’s, there is an unseen clash of values in society with contradicting currents. With the violence to getting nurtured despite knee jerk reaction, followed by piecemeal political initiatives, the militancy has become a cocktail of politics, entrepreneurship crime and radicalization. Over a period of time, people have developed their vested interests into the conflict which ensures otherwise unattainable benefits for them. It may be not out of place to state that several sections are reality being benefitted from conflict, preferring the status quo.

Like most of the other conflicts elsewhere in the world, Kashmir conflict has given birth to a large scale conflict enterprise which has stakeholders such as, Politicians, Separatists, Business people, Civil society, Media and General public and Militants in its marketability.

1.  Kahsmir Militancy-Marketability:

          Conflict energy generates its own culture peddled by myth makers. The players in Kashmir militancy has become ‘mythmakers’ which includes politicians, militants, businessmen and media, all selling the myth- “dreams of freedom and prosperity”, the entire enterprise is revolving around this myth factor serving the all big and small entrepreneurs whose interests are vested in the conflict. Thus it has become a vicious circle.

Unknown Facts about Kashmir: (Pampered)?

  •  .Central Assistance 1990-2002. Rs 35,571.3 Cr
  •  .Per capita Assistance. The other States,                    Rs.576/- (1992)
  •                                          J&K                                    Rs.1137/-(1992)
  •                                        Other States                           Rs.3197/-(2001)
  •                                         J&K                                     Rs.8092/-(2001)
  •  .Per Capita Share of Assistance to Each Family        Rs.40.460/-Pa
  •  .Central Share of Expdt. in J&K,- .69.3 paise per Rupee
  •  .Poverty India 26.1%-J&K 3.4% (2002)
  •  .Per Capita income India-USD 460 –J&K USD 260

 .Reality Check

  •  Separatist influence only in 5 out of 22 District (15 % of the total population )
  •  Only a selected personalities talk of an Orchestrated “issue”
  •  Not clear about AZAADI
  •  Pakistan has never told its people –and nor has India told the world –the truth: that the UN Resolutions has been rendered infructuous as Pakistan never fulfilled its obligation to vacate its occupation of Kashmir.
  •  It also compounded the violation by parceling off a large part of the state to China.

Complex Hurriyat

  •   There are three Hurriyats
  •   The manufacturers are in Pakistan or in Delhi.
  •   The distributors are in Srinagar, particularly Hyderpura(where Syed Ali Shah Geelani resides):
  •   and the retailers and dealers are in the districts. with stone pelters as a commodity
  •   The  Myth of Pakistan--. Pakistan never wishes Kashmir to merge with them, as evident from a source confession

QUOTE

  •   “Yahan Aaye ho, Yahan Baithana Nahin:
  •   Promise me that your goal will always  be independence and never accession to Pakistan:”
  •   The source was stunned to hear a former member of the Pakistan armed forces telling a Kashmiri freedom fighter not to join or settle in Pakistan.

 CONTOURS OF MARKETABILITY

 India is a huge country with more than a billion people with an inherent drawback of lack of national consensus on any single issue The Kashmiri leadership exploit this lacuna and distort the facts.

(2)     Separatists and Conflict

(i) At present, there are more than 30 odd separatist political parties who claim to be representing people. The separatist politicians are able to sustain with huge finance with militancy as the key.

(i) As long as the separatists remain opposed to participation in the elections, there is really not much opposition to the ‘pro-India’ political parties and they will continue to have a sway over the state politics.

(ii) It is important to note that the children of Separatists are studying abroad or in the best schools in other states. As indicated by Union Home Minister at least 220 wards of 112 Separatists have settled abroad including Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Ayesha Andrabi, to name a few. No son or daughter of a separatist gets killed.

(III)  What runs as a common thread among all these separatist political groups is their hate-India rhetoric. They have their own funding channels and are on the payrolls of their masters, who pay them for preaching hate against India.

(iv) Actually politicians don’t want the conflict to die down, because as long as there is trouble in Kashmir, the money will keep flowing in and they will continue getting their share; once the situation returns to normal, (like everyone else) they will have to toil hard to earn for their living and subject to marketability.

3. Conflict and Militants:

(I) The top militant leaders no longer live in Kashmir, buts in Pakistan where he enjoys considerable political clout besides having access to all the modern luxuries of life. They travel in imported cars, live in a big mansion and is the most sought-after person by both media and politicians in Pakistan as he remains the key figure for the ongoing militancy in Kashmir.

 (ii) Not only has the militant leadership failed to come up with any peace initiative of their own, rather they have always been the first to stand up opposing the initiatives originating from other quarters. Any major step in the peace process is responded with major sabotage actions.

(4) Conflict and Business People :

(i) In Kashmir, various business establishment, particularly where huge transactions are involved, have provided the necessary cover for siphoning in funds for the militants. The militancy provides a platform for evading tax, non-accountability and unfair trade practices. According to some former militant commanders who obviously didn’t want to be named, the commission taken by the businesspeople for channeling hawala transactions or laundering money would range between 30-40 percent.

 (5)  Conflict and Public:

(1) Any move of .normalcy which inter-alia activate the Govt. machinery is unwelcome due to habitual law violation tendency on the part of the public. For example, the public in Srinagar was not used to pay electricity charges with no meters installed. When the Govt started installing met, ers there were strikes and opposition

 (ii) People have stopped paying different taxes as the authorities too appear in no mood to claim and collect the same, be it electricity or water tax or for that matter bigger sources of revenue like income, wealth and property taxes, etc. So, while the government too is starving for the funds, some people are being benefited for there is no pressure on them to pay what they otherwise are supposed to.

(6) Conflict and Civil Society:

(I) One glaring phenomenon in this entire militancy was a lack of responsible vibrant civil society which worsened the situation. However, as the militancy grew, human right groups began to mushroom in the name of giving succor to the people. However, these groups who were mainly funded by International NGOs, with their hidden agenda, do not focus to bring reconciliation between various groups of society but to increase their property and status. It has become another economic activity or a business venture. Often they were speaking for the militant outfits having got substantial funds from them.

Conflict and Media          

With the emergence of a number of national/regional electronic and print channels, the competition for “breaking news” has taken a center stage. In order to enhance their T.R.P., there is always an effort to sensationalize or trivialize the issues.

In this game of “one up man ship,” some sections of Media focus their attention to support the cause of the Naxals/militants in the name of transparency, thereby giving a fillip to the stand/actions undertaken by these anti-national elements.

While the constructive criticism was always welcome, negative or adverse/unwarranted criticisms of the security action highlighting the ANE actions have been counterproductive in the overall security strategy. However, of late, it has been seen that the Media is also sensitive to the security concerns and are able to expose the negative side of the militancy/ LWE, etc. as well

The Way Out

Despite this initial faux pas, the situation is not beyond redemption.  The fault lines in Kashmir are clearly visible and known to the government and as such it is pointless to set up any ‘fact-finding’ missions.  The need of the hour is for a team of credible and experienced Track Two players, preferably led by a senior political leader, to establish a dialogue with, and among, the various stakeholders in the state to create an atmosphere for the resolution of some of the urgent demands and grievances of the people of KashmirWe need to understand that:

 Jammu and Kashmir becomes a State geographically in the Indian Union, but in substance, it is outside the Indian Union

  1. Although Article 370 was included in the constitution as a temporary provision, either no sincere effort was made over the last 70 years to revoke it, or the efforts were sabotaged by pro-separatists and residents of the Valley. In fact, article 370 and 35 A (now abrogated) were detrimental to the citizens of Kashmir, infrastructure and development. Majority of the population in India in general and specifically in J&K are ignorant of the efficacy of Article 35 A and 370. The separatists and think tanks either misrepresent or misinterpret it. While large scale violence is inevitable, the Govt has the capability to deal with an iron hand
  2. The AFSPA could be a necessary evil in times of conflict and insurgency.    While the protagonists argue that the act in question was draconian, anti the people and therefore must be withdrawn, any move to withdraw the act from Kashmir raises the possibility of the return of militancy and the ceaseless cycle of violence which is most likely  
  3.       This provision needs to be untouched.
  4.     Need to strengthen and equip the local police force in a phased manner.   Accelerate Capacity Building and with specialized armed units and intelligence wings.  
  5.      Much more needs to be done to sustain the process of removing the trust deficit between the Indian state and the people of Kashmir.
  6.       To the disillusioned people, these represent at best good intentions and promises. With a viable performing government in place, the ball has been set rolling in this direction
  7.      With the landmark abrogation of Article370/35A, the Govt has dismantled the architecture of “OTHERNESS” and achieved rectification of historical wrong and integration of the Nation completely and constitutionally,

Representational Image, credit - Google / Ajit Doval's Twitter Handle

 (Author K. Srinivasan is Former IG, BSF; Having 23 years of experience in Intelligence stream (G) of BSF; Former Chief Vigilance and Security Officer, BHEL; Former R&AW Officer; Received President’s police Medal thrice for Meritorious Service in 1994 & for Gallantry in Gazi Baba OPS in 2004 & for Distinguished Service in 2008; Has credit of raising, training, establishing and activating Complete Intelligence Unit, School and Teams of CRPF as IG (Int); Graduate in Science, MA in Sanskrit, Diploma in French Language, Diploma in Personnel Management & Industrial Relation, Degree in Law and Diploma in Disaster Management; A 1975 batch of Assistant Commandant in BSF; Before joining BSF, he was working as Assistant Professor of Sanskrit.) 

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