Kashmir remains apple of discord ! After a long spell of normalcy on security front in Jammu and Kashmir, militants have again pervaded the Kashmir valley, putting Indian government on tenterhooks. Kashmir, which was split controversially between India and Pakistan after the countries gained their independence from the Great Britain in 1947, are again in the news with violence and terror activities usually on India side.Recently seven towns in the Indian side were under indefinite curfew following sporadic clashes between local Hindus and Muslims. Apart from that Pakistan is accused of sending commandos to kill five of its soldiers stationed on the line of control, the defecto border dividing the two parts of Kashmir. Violence in Kashmir, launched by Pakistani army and its "jehadis", have become again matter of concern for the Indian authorities. Overall level of violence are lower side now in Kashmir than at any time since an insurgency that pitted groups of young Muslim Kashmirs enrolled in Islamists groups and later extremists from Pakistan too, against Indian security forces first flared more than two decades ago. In totality more than 50,000 militants, soldiers, police and civilians had reportedly been killed in the fighting in India's only Muslim-dominated state, Human rights abuses , perpetuated by all sides,had become order of the days At its height in 2001, 4,500 deaths were recorded, according to the Institute for Conflict Management, a Delhi-based think -tank. Lass year only, 117 people were killed.
Now, a new wave of violence have suddenly spurt. Notably matter of main concern is that in this new wave of violence, young and educated separatist militants have surfaced in villages, bordering with "Occupied Kashmir" by Pakistan. Cluster of traditional homes and mosques amid green fields and woods in a fold of the dry hills in the south of the valley have become centre of activities by these elements. Experts on Kashmir have pointed out that these violent activities by militants are result of backlash after the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who had been sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case, as well as old scars on the wounds of Kashmiris have started etching again ! Capital punishment to Afzal Guru of valley has also been condemned throughout Kashmir as Guru was not present to the site and time of Parliament attack. He was later arrested from Kashmir and made an accused in the case as a conspirator. The judgement giving death sentence to Afzal had drawn national and international criticism on the judicial system of India. Only criminal conspiracy and not being part of the crime cannot draw such harsh punishments, legal experts had commented.
"Fidayeen" (suicide ) attacks on security forces at several places, especially in Srinagar, and encounters between militants and security forces have become routine affairs in Jammu and Kashmir ! Here , again, according to annual union home ministry report, there was marked decline in the number of terrorists activities and security forces causalities, compared with previous year. " The year 2011 witnessed a 30 percent decrease in the number of terrorist incidents and 34 percent and 52 percent respectively decrease in civilian and security forces respectively compared with the year 2010.", the report said and added. ,"the level of infiltration from across the borders and the resultant terrorist activities in the valley of Kashmir showed a significant decline. The incident of terrorist violence declined from708 in 2008, 499 in 2009 and 488 in 2010 to 340 in 2011. The number of security forces killed declined from 75 in 2008, 79 in 2009 and 69 in 2010 to 33 in 2011. The number of civilians killed also declined from 91 in 2008, 71 in 2009 and 47 in 2010 to 31 in 2011. The number of terrorists killed declined from 239 in 2009 and 232 in 2010 to 100 in 2011; showing the effects of better domination of the Line of Control a d the resultantly lower infiltration." All these factors have brought changes in ground level, paving the way for the arrival of record number of 1.4 million tourists in 2012.
LIFE IS LIVING HELL:-Than why this spurt in terror activities ? Perhaps because of new wave of active participation of well-educated, even professionally qualified, men in the recent terror attacks. This apart scars of old wounds of the atrocity and rape in the remote villages of Kunan and Pashpora in Kupwara district of north Kashmir on the night of February 23 , 1991 by Indian security forces have also riminiscinced the people of Kashmir. The incident, in brief, was that soldiers of Indian Army , at around 11 pm raided the village and threatened to kill all villagers while hunting the terrorists. All men were told to come out and soldiers barged into the houses and attacked the women, molesting, raping them.. Even today memories of women did not go away. Many of them became hysterectomies. Wounds have healed but scars are very much there. Enquiry after enquiry held. The then district magistrate of Kupwara S M Yasin, had visited the village and recorded the report with remarks that , " the armed forces behaved like violent beasts." The fact-finding team led by the then Chief Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi, interviewed 53 women who had been allegedly raped and tried to determine why a police investigation into the incident had never taken place. Farpooqi had reportedly commented at that time , he had " never seen such a case in which normal investigative procedures were ignored as they were in this one,." There were furore over the issue but nothing tangible came out.Life is living hell for them even today !
Another factors, responsible for sudden spurt in the terror activities are continuance of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). The union government had enacted the Act when the entire Jammu and Kashmir was passing through critical phase of terror activities. The Act gives blatant power to security forces to cover the measures to filter terrorists by acting through their own modus-operandi.. The Act is being misutilised by Armed forces and it has become a centre of criticism where ever the Act is implemented, particularly in the eastern states also. The Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir has also pleaded for revoking the Act. Security officials in the disputed province exaggerate the threat from extremism to justify wide ranging powers of arrest and detention-and a broad measures of immunity from prosecution for human right abuses-granted earlier in the the conflict..Large number of arrests have been taken place in Kashmir in recent months, creating stir in the state. Kashmiris are scared of arrest and tortures not deaths ! Meantime, educated youths are being lured and encouraged by Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba and many other terror organisations including Pakistan government's ISI. Another factor is declining official support for the extremists in Indian Kashmir from Pakistan over the past decade. Another one is growing disparity between the economies of the two neighbours, which have fought three wars over the state. Indian growth has undermined the argument for accession to Pakistan in Kashmir-though much rhetoric support for independence remains-and sapped enthusiasm for any return to a hugely disruptive violent struggles. Nawaz Shariff, who was elected in landslide victory in May, is keeping stony silence over terror activities added and abetted by Pakistan's terror organisations and Pak military wing ISI !
The situation has come to such a pass that Indian and Pakistan troops are indulging in unprovoked firings at each other on wire fencing borders, particularly in Kashmir. Violations of ceasefire have become order of the day by Pakistani army. Border is tense. The insurgency is supported by Pakistan began in Indian-administered Kashmir, seeking independence from Indian rule. Villagers on Indian side of border in Kashmir are compelled to hide in army's abandoned bunkers.. Most of these bunkers were destroyed in 2005 earthquake.. Echoes of despair fill the bordering villages in Kashmir. An escalating war of words between India and Pakistan over cross border attacks in Kashmir has practically tarnished hopes that the newly elected government in Islamabad will succeed in reviving peace talks between the feuding neighbours. Accusation and claims and counter claims over border dispute in Kashmir are aggravating the situation gradually.
Families of militants or terrorists in Kashmir blame security forces for pushing their wards to terrorism or militancy through constant harassment. Interestingly, a new trend has come to fore about the active participation of well-educated, even professionally qualified, men in the recent terror attacks. A recent article in Frontline fortnightly says '"the profiles of militant killed in recent encounters with security forces are reason for worry. For instance, Saifullah Ahangar had a diploma in civil engineering; Musiullah Khan was a mechanical engineer; Sajad Yousuf Mir had an MA in Islamic Studies) he had not completed his MCA); Moar Ahsan had an M.Sc. Physics; and Hilal Ahmad, rather was a mufti (a scholar in Islamic Law) from Deoband. There are many examples that recent encounters have killed were not from less-educated sections of society. And these trends are continuing." Kashmir experts are of the opinion that in Kashmir educated youths , adopting extremism or terrorism, did not believe or tempt in monetary considerations, rather they say Islam is the biggest motivating forces for them to take up arms. They quote from Koran and Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) and one can see large number of people in Kashmir listening them on video with rapt attention. The Political scientist Gull Mohammad Wani, who heads the Institute of Kashmir Studies at Kashmir university, believes that stifling political environment in mainly responsible for this. For his "it is an alarming situation and I think repressive measures play a role in this as the place is devoid of accountability, a responsive administration and a regime of justice."
Indian government must initiate reopening dialogue with these elements taking into confidence the Jammu and Kashmir government to neutralise the ugly signs of separatism.Indian government must punish the personnel of army for indulging in rapes and perpetuating other kind of atrocities on Kashmiris taking the help of hated AFSPA !
REFERENCES: INDIA GOVT WEBSITES OF DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS AND INDIAN ARMY, FRONT LINE FORTNIGHTLY, THE GUARDIAN, THE NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST .