None of political leaders charged with criminal offence or sedition: NSA

‘Situation getting much better in J&K than anticipated’

*Majority of Kashmiris support 370 abrogation

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Sept 7: National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said today that none of the political leaders have been charged with criminal offence or sedition in J&K and that they were only in preventive custody till environment is created for democracy to function even as he declared that out of 199 police station areas in the State, now only 10 have prohibitory orders in place while there were no restrictions in the rest.
“None of the political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir have been charged with criminal offence or sedition. They are in preventive custody till environment is created for democracy to function, which I believe may happen soon,” a news agency quoted Doval as having said in a chat.
Doval, who spent nearly 10 days in Kashmir valley after abrogation of special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on August 5, while reacting on detention of political leaders, said: “Everything is done according to the framework of law. They (the political leaders) can challenge their detention in the Court”.
He said the political leaders are in preventive detention as there could have been problems in maintaining law and order in case there were gatherings; militants would have used the situation.
It may be mentioned here that several top political leaders including three former Chief Ministers-Dr Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were under detention for over a month now. Several other prominent political leaders have also been kept under detention.
Asserting that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is getting much better than what he anticipated, Doval said only one incident has been reported on August 6 in which one young boy succumbed but he didn’t die of bullet injury. Postmortem report says he died because some hard object hit him. In so many days just one incident was reported, we are talking about terrorist infested areas and only one incident is there, he added.
“Out of 199 police station areas in Jammu and Kashmir, only 10 have prohibitory orders in place while rest have no restrictions. 100 percent landline connections are operational in the State,” the National Security Advisor said, adding that 92.5 percent of geographical area of Jammu and Kashmir is free of restrictions.
Doval said he was totally convinced that majority of Kashmiris support abrogation of Article 370.
“They (the people of Kashmir) see greater opportunities, future, economic progress and employment opportunities. Only a few miscreants are opposing it,” the National Security Advisor said.
Article 370 “was not a special status. It was a special discrimination. With its abrogation we have brought Kashmiris at par with Indians,” he said.
“There is a vocal minority that opposes it. It appears to people that is the voice of the people. That is not necessarily true,” he saidd. He added that Pakistan used Article 370 to catalyze terrorism in Kashmir. They launched operation Topac in 1988 through which they wanted to exploit political space. Modus operandi of ‘Operation Topac’ was to use same tactics which Pakistani non-state actors used in Afghanistan, he said.
Reflecting the Government thinking, Doval said Article 370 was nothing but a milestone around the necks of Kashmir, and was preventing the people there from having equal rights that other Indians had. For example, the Article prevented many laws from being applied to Kashmir, such as right to education, women’s rights, minimum wages.
Article 370 was only a tool of the political class to make money through corruption, he said. “For the common man there was nothing.”
Doval said Pakistan is bent on creating trouble in Kashmir, and would very much like to see unrest in the Valley, which would add grist to its anti-India propaganda. In a bid to achieve that aim, Pakistan has sent many terrorists into Kashmir with the intent of causing trouble, and to ensure that normalcy is not restored.
“If anybody is interested in restoring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir it is India,” he said, adding: “We will not allow people to become victims of Pakistan’s machinations and its bullets sent from across the border. We will do everything in power to protect the people”.
About the alleged human rights abuses by the Army, Doval pointed out that it is only the local police and Central paramilitary forces that are deployed to maintain law and order. So, there is no question of atrocities by the Army, whose job is only to fight terrorists, he asserted.
Doval said according to intelligence reports some 230 terrorists were recorded in Pakistan occupied Kashmir, some of whom have sneaked across the border to create trouble, which includes intimidating traders and local populace to prevent them from going about their business.
“Terror is the only instrument Pakistan has to create unrest in Kashmir,” he said, adding that normalcy in Kashmir can be restored if “Pakistan starts behaving” and stops “indulging in subversive propaganda.”
On what India will do if Pakistan continues with its ways, Doval said “there is a solution to every problem.” He did not elaborate.
Doval justified the restrictions imposed on mobile phone and Internet services, saying they can easily be used by Pakistan and terrorists for subversive activities, but the denial of these services should not prevent people from going about their lives.
“Even before Internet came into our lives people were going about their lives doing business,” he said.
“In any society, people always want more than what they have. But to us his life is more important,” he said.
Doval said Pakistan’s hypocrisy in staking claim over Kashmir and showing solidarity with Kashmiris stands exposed by the fact that it never objected to the inclusion of Jammu & Kashmir in the Union of India in the newly-independent nation’s Constitution in 1950.
He said Pakistan co-opted small Kashmiri separatist groups and fomented unrest by arousing fear and suspicion about India, which later took on a religious colour. As a result, “they have created an army of terrorists in their own land” and the ensuing separatist violence has claimed more than 42,000 lives in Kashmir, he said.
“All this, just to say that they have not given up the cause of Kashmiris. They want public demonstrations on the streets; they want to create a world opinion that what is happening in Kashmir is genocide. They would be very happy if there is genocide on the streets. Unfortunately for them, nothing of that sort has happened, not one bullet has been fired,” he said.
Article 1 in the Constitution states that “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. The territory of India shall consist of: The territories of the States, The Union Territories and Any territory that may be acquired.” The Article then goes on to list the States, which include Jammu & Kashmir.
“They never raised any objection in 1950. Why is it happening today? Pakistan’s efforts at creating turmoil in J&K shows desperation as they have lost face in front of those whom they sold false dreams,” he said.
He said the accession of Jammu & Kashmir predates the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution, and the Article itself has been amended several times in the past, and was never part of any bilateral or multilateral agreement. So Pakistan has no moral stand to object to the abrogation on August 5 of Article 370, which gave Kashmiris special status in the Union of India.

Pak handlers warned militants they will receive bangles

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval today cited conversation between militants and their handlers in Pakistan to show that the latter was trying to fan trouble in Kashmir. He cited the case of two militants who were told by their handlers that they would receive bangles if they didn’t do their jobs properly.
Doval said that there are Pakistani communications towers along a 20-km stretch of the border from where they are sending messages to terrorists.
“We heard intercepts in which they told their men ‘how come so many apple trucks are moving. Can’t you stop them? Should we send you bangles instead of guns’,” Doval said, referring to the fact that some 750 trucks carrying apples leave the valley every day for trade in other parts of the country.
Officials said the militants spoke Punjabi with Pakistani accent, and are absconding.
Subsequently, two militants went to a fruit market in Sopore and found out the address of Hamidullah Rather, a prominent fruit merchant in the area, and went to his house in Dangarpora, 5 km from Sopore.
However, Rather was not at home as he had probably gone out to perform namaz, so the militants attacked his family with pistols, injuring his 25-year-old son Mohammed Irshad, and Irshad’s minor daughter Asma Jaan on Friday.
But security forces are determined to protect the lives of Kashmiris from Pakistani “machinations”, Doval said.