Blame it on India if ISI is meddling in Kashmir

Known_Unknown

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'Blame it on India if ISI is meddling in Kashmir': Rediff.com news

Investigative journalist and author Harinder Baweja, who was among the speakers from India participating in the International Kashmir Conference in Washington, has stated that when it comes to the issue of Kashmir it was hard to be objective.

Baweja, editor (news) of Tehelka.com, who noted that she has been "in and out of Kashmir at least a 100 times in the last 20 years," since her first visit in 1989, said: "I keep going back to Kashmir because there's something about Kashmir problem -- and this is a huge admission to make -- that sometimes makes me lose my objectivity as a journalist."

"The reason for that is that Kashmir is a humungous human tragedy," she added.

Baweja argued that the main reason that a resolution of this problem had been elusive was because of "India's mind-set."

"Yes, India is a victim of terrorism, yes, there are foreign mercenaries who come into Kashmir, (and) the government of India loves to point a finger in Pakistan's direction, loves to point a finger at the ISI, but as journalists we know the ground realities. And, if there is a problem in Kashmir, it is because it was created by subsequent governments, both in Srinagar [ Images ] and Delhi [ Images ], and if the ISI is meddling in Kashmir, it's because India muddied the water in the first place."

Baweja pilloried New Delhi for what she described as its sustained "policy of containment in Kashmir, and the problem lies in this policy because it then does not look at the problem in all of its dimensions, but looks at it largely as a law and order problem."

"India's constant policy is that Kashmir is an integral part of India and therefore an internal issue, and this, in my view is really the main problem," she said. "Since its inception, the government of India has been paranoid at the thought of international intervention, interference or even interest in the Kashmir issue."

Baweja alleged, "India has taken recourse to the Shimla Agreement and emphasised bilateralism because India has never really been sure that the world by and large accepted the legitimacy of its control over Kashmir."

"But forget about the international community, the people of Kashmir do not accept India's legitimacy over Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ], but government of India is still caught in the containment policy. They believe that any concession given to Kashmir, will in turn open the floodgates for demand in other states."

Thus, Baweja argued: "New Delhi's stand therefore, has been that it will look at the Kashmir case, not in isolation but in conjunction with national policy concerning the devolution of more powers to all states."

She said, "India sticks to its policy of containment because it feels that it can solve Kashmir just as it handled Punjab [ Images ] militarily and that is a huge mistake to make because Kashmir is not Punjab."

"Punjab was never a territorial dispute, not did it have the international ramifications of the Kashmir issue and greater autonomy or self-rule does not and will not undermine India's secular credentials, but perhaps strengthen them."

Baweja asserted, "The deep and widespread alienation felt by the Kashmiris is not something that can be taken care of through the law and order machinery. Go to Kashmir, and it is difficult to get from the airport to the hotel room without crossing at least 20 bunkers. In fact, Srinagar is also known as bunker city."

She said, "Kashmir is not a piece of real-estate and should not be considered as prime property and that is often the approach taken by the government sitting in New Delhi."

"It is imperative for any government, no matter which political party it comes from, to look at Kashmir as a human problem and not as a legal property issue."

Baweja claimed that while the "hard-core foreign militants outnumber the Kashmiri militants, the reason why the common Kashmiris, the common masses, still do not view India as democratic is because they continue to see the government as being their oppressors and their tormentors."

She said, "The only time I have seen the Kashmiris react positively to any signal from New Delhi was when there was a call for a ceasefire by the Hizbul Mujaheddin in June 1999 and then New Delhi sent a team of officials to try and talk to the Hizbul Mujaheddin, but the talks of course, faltered and failed very quickly."

Baweja reiterated that "alienation is a core problem, and I have not see a change in 20 years that I have been going to Kashmir. I've not found the Kashmiris move even an inch closer to India or to Delhi. It is difficult to find a Kashmir family that has not lost a loved one to the military."

"An entire generation of children born after 1989 have grown up with the gun and the psychological effects on this are great both for children and for parents," she said.

Dr Angana Chatterji, a professor of anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies who circulated a detailed paper titled Militarization with Impunity: A Brief on Rape and Murder in Shopian, Kashmir that she had authored with Gautam Navlakha of the Economic and Political Weekly, New Delhi, placed the onus firmly on the Indian government to ensure that as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] had pledge, there would be "zero tolerance" for human rights abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.

She argued, "A will to peace in Kashmir requires an attested commitment to justice, palpably absent in the exchange undertaken by the government of India and its attendant institutions with Kashmir civil society."

Chatterji said, "The premise and structure of impunity connected to militarisation, and corresponding human rights abuses, bear witness to the absence of accountability inherent to the dominion of Kashmir by the Indian state, and a refusal to take seriously the imperative of addressing these issues as the only way forward to a just peace."

She called for demilitarisation in the valley and emphasized that it must not just be a "token withdrawal" that should also be couple with the release of political prisoners and the repeal of laws that "have enabled the security forces in Kashmir to act with impunity."

Navlakha, speaking at the session titled 'When Peaceful Protests Fail, What Next?' warned that if the aspirations of the Kashmiris continued to be ignored, the armed struggle could very well start again and predicted that it would have dire "repercussions for all of South Asia."

He recalled the "tens of thousands" who took to the streets last summer in protest at the grant of land around the Amarnath Shrine to the Shrine Board and said this mass reaction "that shook the Indian state" could be a precursor to further protests to come.

Dr Karen Parker, chairperson of the Association of Humanitarian Lawyers, acknowledged that during the two days of discussion at the conference, "we have scratched the surface but we have also dug deeply. We are at a junction right now with a new President (in the United States) and a possible new agenda."

She said, "If there is any time for us to push the issue harder, it is now. We will not get a more favourable time than now."

Parker warned, "If we lose this opportunity, we might have to wait a really long time."

Meanwhile, Dr Ghulam [ Images ] Nabi Fai, executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, said in the final analysis "nothing new" might have been achieved by the conference, but argued that it had been important to enhance understanding of the issue.

Furthermore, he noted that amongst the participants, there had been "no disagreement that the rights of the people of Kashmir, irrespective of their religion or regions, must be respected."

"This principle, was unanimously presented and conveyed and adopted by everybody," he said.

Fai also said that while it was a "healthy sign," that India and Pakistan had decided to re-engage and resume the dialogue "we really want them to talk sense."

Earlier, Fai, had argued that "the passivity, the inaction and silence, is not an option. Passivity is not an option because when we talk about Kashmir, we talk about an issue that concerns not only 15 million people of Kashmir, but because that issue also touches the lives and the future of more than 1.2 billion people of South Asia that is home to one-fifth of the total human race."

He said, "The time has come that President Barack Obama [ Images ] needs to listen to what candidate Barack Obama said on October 23, 2008 -- and that is an appointment of a special envoy on Kashmir will go a long way to hasten the process of peace and reconciliation not only in Kashmir but in the whole region of South Asia."

British author Victoria Schofield, who is also a regular contributor to BBC, who has also visited Kashmir several times, warned, "While the dispute continues, there's every opportunity for people to take advantage of the unstable Indo-Pakistani relationship for their own objectives."

"We saw what happened with Mumbai [ Images ] in November last year," she said, and added, "The attacks had nothing to do with the political grievances of the Kashmiris. Indeed, the political parties and members of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference condemned the attacks. But because of the unstable relationship between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, it was somehow viewed that the terrorist attackers were fighting for the Kashmiri cause."

Schofield said, "Like it or not, Kashmir is an international issue. For us in Britain and people living in the United States, the issue exists both as a political and human issue."

------------------------------------------------------------

Comments?
 

mehwish92

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The article is absolutely correct! How long will we go on ignoring Kashmir? Just because it's silent right now doesn't mean Kashmiris are happy and will never pick up arms again! We need to solve this once and for all. Military action is not a solution. We've seen this many times. It's unbelievable that the gov't in Delhi hasn't realised this. If we want good-will in Kashmir, we need to demilitarize the state, free political prisoners, stop putting pro-independence politicians under house arrest, and basically give the Kashmiris absolutely free democracy! We can have talks with the people of Kashmir (rather than the people of Pakistan) and tell them that independence of Kashmir is not an option that we are willing to talk about, but lets come up with another solution that will benefit the people of Kashmir, economically, psychologically, and otherwise. Everybody is tired of this violence. But suppression is not the answer.

A merger of Kashmir with Pakistan is not an option, and I'm sure even common Kashmiri's know that (I've talked to a couple of Kashmiri Muslims that I know, and they all say that they do not want to be a part of Pakistan, but they aren't very happy with India either).

If not now, then sooner or later Kashmir problem will come back to haunt us, and ruin India's chances of becoming a superpower (after all, what superpower suffers daily from terror attacks, suppresses its own people?).

Take an example from Canada's Quebec problem, back in the 60s/70s..Canada also suffered from terrorism aimed at English-speaking Canadians. The French-speaking Quebecois wanted to become a separate nation. In 1995, Canada held a referendum, allowing the people of Quebec to decide between staying with Canada, or becoming Independent. 50.6% people voted to stay with Canada, 49.4% voted to be independent. The point I'm trying to make is, Canada knew that the referendum could have gone either way, but they still had the guts to go through with it. And fortunately, Canada won.

So then why is India being so spineless? What is India going to get out of putting 100 000 jawans in Kashmir? It's definitely not going to make Kashmiri's want to stay on with India.

Military solution worked in Punjab, because Sikhs had chosen to be with India in the first place (in 1947). They did not want to become independent. Some only began demanding a separate state in the 1980s because of what to Sikhs back then (read Operation Bluestar, Anti-Sikh riots). Because of this, military was easily able to flush out terrorists, and finish the Punjab chapter. Kashmir is different, because Kashmiri's in the first place did not join India willingly. Thus they always had an anti-India feeling in the first place, and the military being there is only making them more anti-India.

We can make Kashmir pro-India. But a military operation is not the answer. We need a human touch to the solution. Same goes for Assam, and other north-eastern states.
 

mehwish92

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Another thing I'd like to point out is, that if a referendum is held in Indian J&K, the referendum would probably go in favour of India. Jammu is pro-India, and Ladakh (or atleast as far as I know), would also favour India. The conflict is mainly concentrated in the Kashmir valley. Kashmir contains about 54% of the total population of the state.

If a referendum is held in Indian J&K (including displaced Kashmiri Pundits and Kashmiri Muslims), the referendum can also go either way, and would be a very close call.
 

EnlightenedMonk

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^^ I agree in concept with some of the points you are putting forth, but somehow I think you are being too idealistic about the whole thing. You are assuming that things will go exactly by the book and there will be no problems, but with Pakistan in the fray you can never be sure...

You can be rest assured that they will pull out every stop to rig that referendum (if there is any such thing)... they will certainly use all possible underhand tactics to make the referendum falter or go in their favour...

Also, you have not shed light on the fate of the Kashmiri Pandits, most of whom are now living in other parts of the country... The Government must take immediate reassurance action to convince them to go back to the state and resettle there... These votes are crucial and can go a long way in swinging the referendum in the valley if there is any...

Also, if the Pandits are unwilling to go back and resettle, there must be some system devised to let them exercise their ballot because that is a very large minority voice that is prevalent in the valley that deserves to be heard... also, the votes of the Hindus could be decisive in swinging it in our favour atleast in the valley...
 

amitkriit

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Not repealing Article 370 was a great blunder, Kashmir valley is the epicenter of Kashmiri resistance & Insurgency, so we must concentrate more on this region. Kashmiris are mentally prepared to let go Jammu (for communal reasons), we must take advantage of this situation and divide the state into: Jammu, Kashmir and Laddakh. This will immediately lead to muslim/separatist migration into Kashmir valley, leaving Jammu and Ladakh into Indian fold. Isolated Kashmiris will not enjoy moral high ground, since Indian propaganda machine will blame everything on muslim fanatics. As the area will be too small with more restriction on movement, better border checks (on international as well as state borders), more vulnerable economically, ultimately people will come to know how much they have to endure for the sake of sustaining this uprising, they will bow down like Khalistan supprters did.
 

mehwish92

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^^ I agree in concept with some of the points you are putting forth, but somehow I think you are being too idealistic about the whole thing. You are assuming that things will go exactly by the book and there will be no problems, but with Pakistan in the fray you can never be sure...

You can be rest assured that they will pull out every stop to rig that referendum (if there is any such thing)... they will certainly use all possible underhand tactics to make the referendum falter or go in their favour...

Also, you have not shed light on the fate of the Kashmiri Pandits, most of whom are now living in other parts of the country... The Government must take immediate reassurance action to convince them to go back to the state and resettle there... These votes are crucial and can go a long way in swinging the referendum in the valley if there is any...

Also, if the Pandits are unwilling to go back and resettle, there must be some system devised to let them exercise their ballot because that is a very large minority voice that is prevalent in the valley that deserves to be heard... also, the votes of the Hindus could be decisive in swinging it in our favour atleast in the valley...
Well, I stated that the Kashmir Pundits and Muslims displaced throughout India should also be included in the referendum. And I also said that the referendum can go either way. But I personally think that it's something we're going to have to do. Canada did it. 49.5% of the people voted against Canada, but atleast it went on to solve the issue.

As for Pakistan, yes it's definitely going to be an issue. Pakistan will try to do anything it can to rig the referendum. And Pakistan has the exact same concern with India (which is the reason they did not vacate from Kashmir even after UN requested them to do so).

I'm basically going on the hope that Pakistan will smarten up, and realise that what it is doing is going to destroy all of South Asia. Because if they don't do that, Kashmir issue will never be solved.
 

Yusuf

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I dont agree with the article. Kashmir is an integral part of India just like other states. The ruler of that state signed the instrument of accession. Period.

Right then what about the wishes of the Kashmiris? Some want Azadi, Some stay with India and some with Pakistan. There is no consensus on that. Azadi is out of the window for sure. Of the remaining two options, the Kashmiris have realized that its better to stay with India than go with Pakistan. The protests you see is Pak sponsored. Its not the common will of the people. For Pakistan, its greed for more land that is the issue and to keep its enimity with India intact.

Kashmir problem is not as what it was 50 years ago. Geo political realities have changed.
 

mehwish92

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^^ I agree with Yusuf. I think main reason Pak is interested in Kashmir is because of the rivers that flow into Pakistan from there. They don't want India to have control over it.

And then ofcourse there are people like Zaid Hamid, who keep talking about Ghazwa e Hind, and have dreams of slowly breaking up India and making it Pakistan. lol, though I think the majority of the Pakistani awaam is more intelligent than him.

As for the protests we see in Kashmir nowadays, they do seem to be Pakistan-supported. In Shopian incident (where Indian army/police is believed to be involved), there were non-stop riots by separatists, and damaging of public infrastructure. When a teenage boy was found dead on the streets, these separatists rioted, destroyed public property and blamed the incident on the army (when really he was killed by his friends). But when terrorists shot a man and his 3 yr old son, these people remain silent. It makes you think..who are these people, that are protesting? And why did they not say anything when a 3 yr old baby was shot to death (point blank) by a terrorist?
 

Ray

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I wish some people would care to read Lawrence's Vale of Kashmir or Moorecroft's Travals in Kashmir or Pt Prem Nath Bazzaz's Kashmir in Crucible before pontificating!
 

Ray

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On another forum I posted this:

It would be good if you read Prem Nath Bazaz's book, Kashmir in Crucible and have a close look at Page 23. I will not reproduce since it may offend. He also quotes extensively from Moorecroft, Lawrence and Torrent, amongst others.

Therefore, I have not read account of only the English Administrators, but also of Kashmiri scholars and worthies!

As you will be aware Pt. Prem Bazaz was born in July 1905 and was from a scholarly Bhatt family of Kashmir. He was a great Hindu activist and also wanted Hindu Muslim amity.

I would like to mention that unless one is bold to face reality, that race or community will not flourish. Of my own community, I can quote the name of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Debendranath Thakur, Keshab Chandra Sen, Micheal Madhusudan Dutt, Harish Mukherjee, amongst many others who looked inwards and had the courage to criticise and reform the Bengali society and even the language! The narration of ills of the Bengali society stings, but it nevertheless is the truth. And one must also have the courage to face the truth!

I am reminded of the story of Lalleshwari (Lal Ded) and the child. Lal Ded happened to enter the room she took the infant in her lap, kissed him, put him on to her own teats and whispered the following into his ear :-

If thou were not ashamed of
Being born,
Why are thee
Ashamed of feeding at
Thy mother's breasts ?

The baby is stated to have responded immediately and behaved as a normal baby.

My association with Kashmir starts from 1951 and have done extensive tours in all parts of J&K and even in the remote areas, where possibly many Kashmiris have not even been.

While I do not claim that I have the intellect and perserverance of the British Administrators, nonetheless, I did possess the characteristics to know more about the people I live alongside, even if I was not one of their own. From the high ranking Obdullahs to the lowliest porters, farmers and petty shopkeepers (wanis), and even Ikhwanis like Kuka Parray, I have interacted to learn more of Kashmir and their joys and sorrows. Therefore, I daresay that I know more of Kashmir than the average hinterland Indians.

Kashmir is bountiful in its basic necessities to live and so not much effort is required and hence they are easy going. Likewise, is the case with Bengal. They too have been have been categorised by 'idiotic' British as lazy! However, they do possess the spirit of adventure as is evident by the hordes of Bengalis who descend on all parts of India every Durga Puja holiday!

Yes, Kashmir is a faraway land to many, even if you don't agree. Many have romantic ideas of Kashmir. Beyond the beauty of Kashmir, lies the real Kashmir. Few know that Kashmir.

Mangalorean Christians may say they are Kashmiris, I don't wish to contest that, but if you go through Kashmir's history, you will find it is full of invasions by outsiders. If one remember the brutality of the Chak dynasty and the Afghans, then obviously people would flee. That exodus would not be what one could term to be 'adventure' driven. In fact there is a Persian couplet that was famous in Kashmir that sums up the atmosphere of those times and the brutality unleashed on the Kashmiris by the Afghans:

Sar buridan pesh in sangin dilan gul chidan ast
(These stone hearted people thought no more of cutting heads than of plucking flowers)

In such a situation, anyone would take wings on their feet!

I am sorry if you have been offended, but that was not the intention. My intention is that we must understand Kashmir and work towards understanding the real Kashmir, rather than address merely the activities of the terrrorists including JKLF and that of the Hurriyat inspired actions and assume that this is representative of Kashmir.

If the Kashmiris and Kashmir were understood, then the issue of Kashmiri Pandit being refugees in their own land would not have happened, nor the conundrum Kashmir is in!

There was a time where Kashmiri Brahmins would drink the water brought by a Mussalman or eat the food cooked by a Mussalman boatman so says Pt Prem Nath Bazaz and today the situation is different where Kashmiris are divided on religious lines!

The issue of Kashmir has to be addressed holistically and not in fits and starts, depending upon violence being unleased there.

Unless we understand Kashmir and encourage Kashmiris to mingle with hinterland India, there will always remain those who will still call anything beyond the Banihal as 'paar' or 'India'!

Don't you think that the average Punjabi should know of the Assamese culture as an average Bengali know of the Tamil culture? If they did, would it not bring the peoples of this country closer?

However, the difference between Kashmir and other parts of India is that Kashmir is in a boiling cauldron as Pt Bazaz has said. It is burning and so that is the fire that should be doused first and then should we focus elsewhere.

Let Kashmir return to that state where one could happily recite:

Gar Firdoz Bar ruwey
Zamin ast, Hamin ast, Hamin ast.

How many Indians know of Shah Gafoor, the Sufi Saint's famous lines:

Meh zan prazlan naran chum
Ram Ram karun gau nam sandarun
Darnai dharun....Soham su

OT, but necessary to clarify what I meant.
 

1.44

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The Kashmir issue hasn't been resolved in decades ,we could go on negotiating but it'll never come to anything concrete.There are just too many people with a stake in it.Some want azadi,some India,some Pakistan.What'll result in 'azadi'?A landlocked country like Nepal?A referendum if held will surely be interesting event.
 

duhastmish

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1.44 -- i dont know what are you talking about ??? there is no such issue for india - in kashmir......

Its simple = for us kashmir is india and - there is no two toughts about it. to us kashmir issue start with LET H.M and other terrorist organization and ends with them. i would like to see progress in kashmir and then like to hear kashmiri voices askign for sepration.
 

I-G

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Kashmiris are having bright future with India and India can invest huge money and start up thousands of projects , in todays world , religions are becoming more and more personal issues and India establishment is not Anti Islam or Anti Muslims , India is Darul Aaman with a long history of Muslims inside it . Creation of Pakistan was the biggest set back for the Sub continent Muslims and again it should not be repeated and kashmiris should understand that Harmony is there in being together with thier Hindu brothers and buddhists brothers.
 

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