Brig Anil Gupta
As part of the ongoing Social Media Warfare, another video released by the terrorists has gone viral. The video shows emergence of a nexus between Lashkar, Jaish and Hizbul (Tanzeems operating primarily in Kashmir) for establishment of an Islamic theocratic state. Another video of Zakir Musa, Hizbul commander in Kashmir, urging the youth to not to pelt stones or fight the security forces for sake of azadi but as soldiers of Islam is also viral. He has ordained the Kashmiri youth “to dismiss idea of nationalism and democracy and turn towards Islam.” Hafiz Saeed, rabid Pakistani Jihadi leader has termed democracy as “Haram” and dismissed the concept of “Nation-State” as anti-Islam. He has also reiterated the desire of a Caliph.
The fountainhead of radicalism Saudi Arabia, is planning to bring its radicalisation to India’s doorsteps through Bangladesh. It has promised to donate $118 million to set up 560 model Wahhabi mosques across Bangladesh. Unhindered free flow of petro-dollars from Saudi Arabia in the past has been the major cause of radicalisation and spread of Wahhabism across Kashmir and certain other Indian states.Saudi Arabia also plans to open Madrasas in Bangladesh to provide primary education to more than 1, 50,000 children. It also plans to establish a permanent campus for the Islamic Arabic University in Bangladesh. Arabic Islam that propagates Wahhabi culture is alien to South Asian Islam that is proud of Hanafi and Sufi culture. Pakistan has already been engulfed in Wahhabism. These are ominous signs for India and Kashmir in particular which have been victim of Jihadi terrorism emanating from both these countries. Every major Islamic terrorist organisation to include international terrorist outfits like Al Qaeda and Daesh and Pak based India specific tanzeems like Lashkar, Jaish and Hizbul as well as Bangladesh based HUJI, JEIBD and their mastermind cum coordinator ISI have their base in Salafi/Wahhabi ideology. According to the US State Department estimates, Saudi Arabia over the past four decades has invested more than $10bn in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam through the Saudi Ministry for Religious Affairs. It terms it as “Petro Islam”. Pakistan benefitted the most from it during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. 18000 Deobandi madrassas were opened across Pakistan as breeding ground for jihadi terrorists to fight the Soviet invaders with the active involvement of Pak’s spy agency ISI. After the war was over, ISI got a free supply of well-trained thousands of rabid jihadis. In an effort to keep them away from Pakistan, ISI gleefully opened a new front in Kashmir.Kashmir was chosen by the Deep State (Pakistan) not for any love for the Kashmiris but as part of its strategy of “Bleeding India through Thousand Cuts” and furthering of its pan-Islamic ideology. They believe that Jihad is an unlimited offensive to bring the whole world under Islamic rule and law. Wahhabism and its ally Salafi jihadism supports war against anyone and everyone who is not like them.
The preparatory work began in Kashmir well before Pakistan was born. The seeds for Islamisation were sown in the summer of 1931 through Abdul Qadeer, an employee of an English Major then posted at Peshawar and a frequent visitor to Kashmir during summers. Abdul Qadeer was a follower of Islamic ideologue Maulana Jamaluddin Afghani. In his “seditious” speech in a late night meeting held at Khankah-i-Moula, he said, “Muslims can never tolerate interference in their religion. The Government of the Maharaja does not cater for his subjects. Oh, Muslims arise. Time has come when you should retaliate bricks with stones. Even if you have no arms fight with sticks, bricks and stones.” He had set the stage on fire. The air vibrated with the slogans of “Allah-o-Akbar.” Among those present in the meeting were Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah co-founders of Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference a year later in 1932. Abdul Qadeer was later arrested and put on trial for sedition. Sheikh Abdullah giving it a communal touch said that Abdul Qadeer Khan has been prosecuted for the cause of Islam and asked the Kashmiri Muslims to be ready for more sacrifices for thesame cause. Who brought Qadeer Khan to the meeting and who allowed him to get on the stage and address remains a mystery till date.Though Muslim Conference claimed not to be a communal party yet all its leaders were under the influence of Islamic ideology. In June 1939, the name of Muslim Conference was changed to National Conference, under the influence of among others Jawaharlal Lal Nehru. A symbolic change of name without any change of heart. This could easily be termed the preparatory phase of radicalisation.
The next phase was the emergence of Sheikh Abdullah and his party National Conference as the sole representative of the Kashmiris. Sheikh was first appointed by the Maharaja as Head of Emergency Administration on 30 October 1947. He gradually assumed all powers and became the Prime Minister of Jammu & Kashmir on 17 March 1948. Ever since its birth National Conference followed the policy of ‘promoting Muslim precedence’ and supported ethnic exclusion by using Muslim majority character of Kashmir to supress other communities. Deliberate attempts were made to supress the Dogra heritage and promote Kashmiri nationalism. Creation of Doda district in 1948 in Jammu region was the first step towards consolidating Muslims. Sheikh Abdullah is also known to have supported the notorious Dixon Plan, which was rejected by Nehru.
Sheikh was arrested in 1953 on charges of secession. Consequent to the Sheikh – Indira Accord 1974, he was reinstated in 1975 as Chief Minister. Return of Sheikh was well timed. Not many readers are aware of an international conspiracy hatched during the same period. In 1970, the plan of ‘Greater Muslim Kashmir’ was drawn jointly by CIA, ISI and the Saudi intelligence (Istekhaarat). According to Selig Harrison, an expert on South Asia, Greater Muslim Kashmir not only envisaged secession of Kashmir from India but also included destabilisation in the country through ethnic and communal conflicts and subversion. India was being made the new destination of Petro-Islam/ Wahhabism with Kashmir as a launch pad. Return of Sheikh Abdullah gave fillip to the process of radicalisation.He was replaced by his son who continued to follow the footsteps of his father.
The mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus in 1990 followed by the gradual erosion of Sufi culture and Kashmiriyat and onset of Pak sponsored Jihadi terrorism is a part of the plan of radicalisation. ISI is in total control and has assumed the mantle of creation of an Islamic State or Caliph in South Asia.ISI has been in the forefront of spreading jihadi terror in South Asia particularly India as part of terrorism as a state sponsored policy. . ISI is under the firm control of Pakistan Army that is credited with “while all nations have an army, Pakistan Army has a nation.”It is playing a major role as a facilitator cum coordinator between the international Sunni-terror organisations and home-grown Islamic terrorist tanzeems. Terrorist groups are increasingly preferring to work collectively with convergence in their ultimate aim “Establishment of Islamic Caliphate.” India has been on the radar of international jihadi organisations since the Eighties with ISIS lately threatening to launch the holy war against India via Bangladesh. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan are serving as major hubs for ideological and material support to the jihadi organisations including South Asian radical Islamic network. The bursting of various terrorist modules and over ground sympathiser networks of ISIS by National Investigation Agency (NIA) is indicative of emergence of home-grown jihadists. The plan for launch of Gazwa-i-Hind is finalised. Kashmir in the North, Kerala in the South, Assam & West Bengal in the East and North East and Rajasthan in the West have been designated as launch pads for spread of radicalism across India.
The convergence between radicalisation and jihadi terrorism and the role of ISI has been established beyond doubt. Combined they pose a serious threat to our national security. The Government needs to accept the challenge and formulate a response to combat radicalisation and jihadi terrorism together. The Government also needs to leverage its good relations with the Awami League Government in Bangladesh to prevent spread of Wahabism there. Strict action needs to be taken against those who use the precincts of religious places to spread anti-national propaganda and make communal speeches. Wahhabi radicalism is against the very spirit of the Constitution of India which promotes co-existence of religions. A sound National De-radicalisation Policy needs to be formulated and announced. With ISI having succeeded in getting a firm foot-hold in Bangladesh India now faces the challenge of flow of jihadists both from her Eastern as well as Western borders. The border management policy to prevent infiltration of Jihadis also requires a review. Early deployment of Integrated Border Management System on both the eastern and western borders would assist the border guarding forces in preventing infiltration. Last but not the least it is also imperative to empower moderate Islamic forces to raise their voices against the jihadi forces operating in the region and leverage them against the perpetrators of jihadi terror.
(The author is a Jammu based political commentator, columnist, security and strategic analyst.)
Brig Anil Gupta