Curbing terrorism post article 370 : A challenge

Dr.Sudershan Kumar
Following the abrogation of article 370, the menace of terrorism and its total elimination is one aspect which is on the highest priority of the government. Amit Shah’s recent statement in response to a query concerning normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of article 370 endorses government’s concern and commitment towards eradicating terror but simultaneously has raised eyebrows of many , who still are skeptical of this historic move. He further asserted that not even a single bullet has been fired since August 5, 2019. But on intricately analysing the scenario Post article 370, one finds that the statement is definitely true to some extent but at the same time there have been a large number of terror related incidents in Kashmir valley. These include killing of truck divers, brutal deadly assault on five labourers from West Bengal, lobbying of hand grenades in busy market, burning of schools and planting of improved explosive device (IED) etc. These incidents have happened against the backdrop of heavy deployment of security forces in the sensitive areas. The above incidents are definitely alarming and certainly an eye opener for the authorities as this can happen only when the militants get logistic support from Over Ground Workers (OGWs) /locals in terms of reconnaissance of area of strike , shipment of their arsenal and escape routes. This requires introspection at the highest level. One must look into the causes of terrorism in erst while state of Jammu and Kashmir state and especially in Kashmir valley. For further comprehension of the intricacies, the pages of history of the erstwhile Princely state of Jammu and Kashmir state especially after the creation of Pakistan on 14th August 1947 need to be turned open. Since time immemorial, Jammu and Kashmir has always been regarded as the paradise on earth where Kashmiri Muslim, Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and other communities were living together since centuries in perfect harmony. Kashmiri Muslims followed Sufism. This section of Islam is entrenched in cultural and spiritual harmony with emphasis on peaceful co-existence. But the past seven decades have witnessed a tumultuous and a chaotic course with our rogue neighbour Pakistan leaving no stone unturned to convert this paradise in to a land of Islamic fundamentalism and fanaticism. Even the article 370 which was introduced in 1954 to safeguard the interest of people of Jammu , Kashmir and Ladakh was misused by many for their own interest rather than giving benefits to all sections of society in all the three regions i.e. Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir In 1986 Shri Jag Mohan the then governor of Jammu & Kashmir state had said that “Article 370 is nothing but the breeding ground for the parasites at the heart of paradise, it skins the poor. It is like mirage which deceives the poor and fills the pockets of powerful elites.” In fact the article 370 prohibits Indian legislation acts such as wealth tax, urban ceiling act, gift tax and other beneficiary laws for helping the poor masses of Jammu,Kashmir and Ladakh further augmenting their impoverished state. But now after the abrogation of article 370 and bifurcation of erstwhile state of Jammu and kashmir in two union territories, the benefits of all central schemes will reach to the people of all sections and in all the regions of new union territories. But at the same time terror will remain predominant unless multi prong approach is adopted to tackle the menace of terror in Union Territory of Jammu – Kashmir. To adequately contain terrorism, a thorough introspection is imperative and various innumerable causes, which facilitated spreading radicalization, fundamentalism and terrorism in erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir State need to be acknowledged and addressed. Among these, first and fore most is the Islamization of Kashmir at the behest of the then leader ship of Pakistan and its army and spy agencies. This process of Islamization began in the period between fifties and sixties but gained momentum during seventies and eighties. During this period large number of mosques preaching Wahhabi Islam were established. The origin of Wahhabi Islam is from Saudi Arabia. These Wahhabis are against cultural plurality. They are the firm believers of single sect Sunni in Muslim community. Besides madrasas with Wahhabi ideology also started breeding in Kashmir valley. These institutions planted the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism among Kashmiri youth from an incipient age. The children were taught to fight for Islam and hatred for non-Muslims was inculcated . In early eighties, the hatred and communal speeches in mosques were quite prevalent. Names of large numbers of villages in Kashmir were changed from their original name to new Islamic names. All this happened under the nose of the then central and state governments. But authorities turned deaf years to these incidents rather than taking some corrective measures. As a result the situation turned gloomy and out of proportion to the extent that in early nineties around 3.5 lakh of Kashmiri Pandits were deprived of their home land and a massive exodus of Kashmiri pandits happened. Although some madrasas were banned on the pretext that they were spreading hatred but many of the teachers ironically who were teaching in madrasas were employed in Govt. Schools. They continued to spread fundamentalism until new madrasas were established, which continuously swayed the Kashmir youth to join militancy.
Secondly, Pakistan which illegally occupies our land of erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir has long cherished dream of annexing it by hook or crook. After facing humiliating defeat in 1948, 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars at the hands of our valiant Indian Army, it has has now changed the tactics and resorted to the policy of bleeding India with thousand cuts.. Pakistani army and its spy agency ISI has not only initiated low intensity conflict but also resorted in wooing the Kashmiri youth through the ideology of communalism. Pak military junta has adopted the theme “Islam is in danger” rather than freedom. By manipulating and misusing this strategy, its army, ISI has succeeded in sowing the seeds of terrorism among the disgruntled youth. Thirdly the incident of Iran and withdrawl of soviet troops from Afghanistan has had great implications not only in Pakistan but also boosted the morale of secessionists and fundamentalists in Kashmir valley.
Moreover, after triumph in Iran, Ayatlollah Khomeini had started talking of Islamic revolution in all the countries to liberate enslaved Muslims. This so called conducive geo political environment ignited and encouraged Fundamentalist organisations to direct the people to buy weapons for Jihad. This also created a false illusion in the minds of fundamentalists and disgruntled Kashmiri youth about so called Azadi. As per reports even Pak Generals used thousands of Afghan Mujahideens to keep Indian army occupied in counter insurgency operation.
Fourthly and most importantly, is the false illusion in the minds of the youth from the present geo political scenario in Kashmir valley. The present generation in Kashmir valley born in 1990, has grown up in an environment of violence, religious radicalization and gun culture. Their childhood has been surrounded and nurtured with hatred and communal disharmony. As a result they have developed radicalized mind set where gun is perceived as strength. They easily get lured by commando style culture of militancy and their latest gadget and weaponry. In fact, militancy is like a wave in Kashmir valley. Youth seem to be swayed by it. These young minds also seem to suffer from acute sense of despair, depression and hopelessness. They do not see future in good career, business and other opportunities. As a result they get indulged into drugs, believing in violence and managing to get indulged in promiscuity. Hence they are required to be dealt in a psychological way.
Fifthly, the crumbling infrastructure in education, health care, agriculture and connectivity even after seven decades of independence and meager opportunities for employment with rampant corruption in the system(as admitted by previous governor of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state on many occasions ) has also forced youth from poor families to take up the route of violence to settle their scores. This should also be viewed as a matter of grave concern by authorities , who are at the helm of affairs both at the centre as well in state . Therefore, it needs urgent attention.
Sixth, the support provided by over ground workers/ some locals to terror out fits for successfully executing their plan is a matter of great concern for law enforcing agencies.
Lastly, social media has played a dominant role in spreading fanaticism among the youth. Rather than spreading righteousness, various self destructive messages on watts app groups, Instagram, posts of militants, fiery speech by global terrorists are immediately circulated in Kashmir valley. Youth forum set up by Pakistan Army and its spy agency ISI has also played a key role in fermenting trouble and unrest in Jammu and Kashmir. They specially target intelligentsia in Kashmir valley especially colleges and universities. Also the coverage of terror related events , bitter debates on communal matters further vitiate the environment and polarize the society. Besides, call for global jihad and growing awareness of geo political happening in Yemen, Myanmar, Syria, Pakistan and Iran may also have, psychological impact on immature young minds in Kashmir.
Therefore, one can infer that terrorism has truly spread its wings in new Union Territory of Jammu& Kashmir. The need of the hour for those who are at the helm of affairs both at centre and in Union Territory is to analyse the issues and adopt a multi prong approach for combating terrorism from Kashmir valley. They should also conceive, adopt and implement an innovative strategy in winning the minds and hearts of the youth in Kashmir. They should evolve a clear road map for wiping out militancy from valley and parallelly must work towards bridging the gap between trust and distrust among the people and authorities. The message must be loud and clear that there will be zero tolerance towards terror activities. Also Over Ground Workers(OGWs) or some section of society which support militants should be dealt with exemplary punishments. These OGWs are venomous to the society as they intermingle with people, take vital information and pass on to militants for their use ,thus prove to be more dangerous than militants. Lastly our rogue neighbour Pakistan must get a hard ball from Indian authorities that its policy of bleeding India with thousands cuts will not be tolerated any more. Any of its misadventure will have serious repercussions and retaliatory action by the mighty Indian army will leave it helpless.