Dr. Ajay Chrungoo 

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Minorities in J&K Evolve a 'Doctrine of Survival'

by Dr. Ajay Chrungoo

SECESSIONISM IN BORDER STATES

The secessionist movements have been the characteristic of only the border states in India. And without exception such states either have a non-Hindu population as the majority social group or the dominant Hindu identity has suffered a crippling erosion over the years. The importance of the absence of secessionist tendencies in the main heartland in maintaining the Unity of India cannot be overemphasised. The political culture as has evolved in the mainland India has in many ways than one contributed to the growth of secessionism in the border states as also the marginalisation and exclusion of Hindu minority groups living there.

While as the growth of separatism in North-Eastern states can be mainly attributed to socio-economic reasons as will as concerted campaigns to bring about dilution and cultural alienation of Hindu social groups, same does not hold true for the growth of secessionism in the northern border states of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The patronisation and legitimisation by the Indian State and the mainstream political establishment of the religious-subnationalism in these two states has created a situation where secessionist politics has assumed international ramifications and an intense war from within.

CLEANSING OPERATIONS IN J&K

The dimensions of this internal war have frightening proportions particularly in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Hindu minority in this border state has borne the main brunt of this war. Suffering a systematic process of ruthless marginalisation and exclusion since independence, the Hindus  in the Jammu and Kashmir State are now face to face with an attrition of genocidal proportions. Terrorist operatives in this state, unlike Punjab, are of the nature of a demographic assault. Indian State as well as political mainstream have yet to acknowledge this stark reality.

Kashmir valley has already been cleansed of its Hindu population. Continuing massacres of the Hindus in Jammu province are neither a diversionary tactic employed by the terrorists nor a sign of their desperation under the supposed pressure mounted by the security forces. They have a very clear cut objective of bringing about a blatant demographic change not just in some parts, but in the entire Jammu region.

‘Cleansing operations’ in the form of selective or mass killings of Hindus form only the obvious component of the demographic assault in the state. The less talked about, but not so hidden, components are engineered purchase of land and properties in targeted areas of Jammu region, fraudulent and illegal grab of Hindu properties and most significantly the demographic invasion, of Jammu city. Creating a ‘New Jammu  City’ with a transformed demographic profile, relegating the existing city to the  backyards, is no longer being talked in hushed tones.

These demographic campaigns besides being crucial to the Islamisation of the state to facilitate extension of Muslim power further towards east have also immediate implications. Such machinations narrow down the social support base for India in the state, thus critically impairing the leverage of the Nation in any negotiated settlement in the light of mounting international pressures to settle the Kashmir issue.  Efforts of the entire nation to stand up to concerted international pressures on the Kashmir issue stand nullified in the long run if the demographic character of the state is allowed to be transformed at a pace at which it is happening in the present time.

Dispersal of displaced Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu to other parts of the country, regular internal displacement of Hindus from the vulnerable border areas of Jammu province to smaller towns as well as the main Jammu city should ring the alarm bills loud enough for evolving a more comprehensive thinking on the issue. Strategic thinking should take a serious notice of the fact that even though Indian security prowess may be able to enforce a status quo on the borders but as a result of this blatant change of demographic profile of the state the borders of the nation are very in-conspicuously receding back.

RESPONSE OF INDIAN STATE

The response of the Indian State to this serious development since 1989 can be at the most termed as an approach of mere ‘physical retention’ of Hindus.

The main features of this policy of retention are that:

i) it seeks to maintain pluralism in the state only in symbolic terms. Attempts at the phased return of the displaced Hindus is a classical example of this symbolism.

ii) it ignores the reality that Hindus in the state in general, and in vulnerable pockets were they are having not a significant presence in particular, are the basic targets  of destabilisation.

iii) attacks on Hindus in the state continue to be visualised in terms of attempts to vitiate communal atmosphere in the mainland rather than in terms of effecting a demographic transformation of that particular area and pushing back the civilisational frontiers of the nation.

iv) it seeks to discourage fresh displacement only through administrative  in the form of presenting a fiat accompli to the victims that displacement may bring a worse situation of economic ruin and wilderness.

The victim is presented a choice between devil and the deep sea.

It is no exaggeration that Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir constitute the dominant component of the social resistance against the separatist politics in the state. The feeling that is gaining ground amongst them is that while they constitute the main target of destabilisation for Islamic fundamentalism as well as larger international intrigue, they are yet only a peripheral concern for the Indian State and the mainstream political thinking. The feeling is critically undermining the morale of their resistance against the separatism and fundamentalism.

SURVIVAL DOCTRINE

It is time that problems of minorities in the State of the J&K are addressed not in piecemeals and puny political posturings. Indian State can no longer afford to shy away from evolving a comprehensive ‘Doctrine of Survival’ for minorities in the Jammu and Kashmir State. Any delay in its formulation may only imperil the minorities with serious implications for overall security integrity and stability of the already weakened northern frontiers of the Indian nation.

This security Doctrine should form one of the main components of India’s Kashmir policy and should be based on the specific threats to the minorities in the regions of the state they inhabit. It also should take into account the role of political elites in the state towards the survival and development of the minorities. The main presumptions for this security doctrine have to be as:

a) No protection measure for the minorities under assault in the state can be evolved unless Government of India takes into account its genocidal contours. Hindus in the state are under attack as a society and not as individuals.

b) The surer immunity against terrorist campaigns is building the physical resistance as well as deterrence, which means therapeutic arming of Hindus.

For this nation needs to rise above the limitations which the existing secular idiom imposes on the policy makers. Taking nation into confidence about the contours and magnitude of the threat to the very existence of Hindus becomes imperative. The larger Muslim minority in country has to be particularly educated about the nature of crisis and precarious position of the Hindus in the state.

c) The return and rehabilitation of the internally displaced groups in the state is to be visualised not in terms of physical return to the lost territory.  The displaced groups’ return essentially means return to the society and economic organisation of the lost territory and hence demands addressing of the issues of communalisation and fundamentalisation of the society.

d) The security doctrine has necessarily to relate itself to the proper political empowerment of Hindus and evolving an approach which undermines the politics of religious subnationalism.

v) The growing feeling amongst Hindus of the state of being disowned by the nation has to be properly adressed as the feeling can breed either surrender or alienation.

The father of the nation had opined helplessly in 1934 that a Hindu prince can only rule in a Muslim majority Kashmir by abdicating the responsibility to rule. But that was before independence during the autocratic rule. The independent democratic Indian Nation over the years has shown the same inclination of conveniently abdicating the responsibility and choosing only soft options. Such approach can no longer be tenable. What is at stake now is very existence of the minorities in the state.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

 
 

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