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Terrorism in Jammu And Kashmir - The Genesis and the Solution

by C. L. Gadoo

[Shri Gadoo represented the Kashmiri Samiti Delhi at the Global Summit of Kashmiri Pandit leaders in London from June 18 to 21, 1997, and actively participated in the deliberations. The working paper presented at the Conference by Shri Gadoo on behalf of the KSD has been adapted by us and given the shape of an article which is published here under for the benefit of our readers. Comments are welcome. - Editor]

Major issues faced by the Hindus in Kashmir, who suffered the process ofC. L. Gadoo ethnic extermination for having opposed the Muslim secessionist movements in the State, arise out of several political commitments, which have dominated the developments in Jammu and Kashmir. In the first place, a Muslim separatist movement has been in progress from the time of the accession of the State with India in 1947. Secondly, another Muslim movement, which has largely drawn its inspiration and support from the Islamic secessionism in the State, has been going on in the State, which has supported a separate and independent political organisation of the State on the territories of India but outside the political organisation, almost in a state of equidistance from India and Pakistan. Thirdly, the entire political development in the State during the last five decades has followed a process of reorganisation of its government, society and economy so as to ensure its Islamisation.

Basic Issues

The basic issues involved in the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir are mainly those which arise out of the irreconciliability of the Islamisation movement of the State with the secular, political organisation of India, which enshrines the basic principles of equality and rule of law. These issues were basic to the partition of India and are basic to the crisis that has engulfed the State from 1989, due to the militarisation of Muslim communalism.

The terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir is the culmination of the secessionist movements, going on in the State during the last five decades. It is politically motivated to bring about the secession of the State from India and unite it with Pakistan. Let us face the bitter truth and refuse to be hoodwinked by interested quarters, many of which are in the Government of India as well, and which have sought to camouflage the Muslim secessionism in Kashmir to provide cover to its real objectives. Pleas of alienation, erosion of autonomy, exclusion of Muslims from political participation and economic deprivation have been used to conceal the real character of Muslim separatism and communalism in Kashmir. The Muslim unrest in the State, the so-called struggle for self-rule, autonomy and separate identity of Kashmiriyat, are political movements, which are fundamentally communal in character, aimed at the Islamisation of the State and its ultimate disengagement from the Indian Union, at a time when the Muslims in the State, supported by Pakistan and other Muslim countries, find it possible to defeat India.

Unaccepted Falsehood

We have lived in Kashmir in the last five decades of Indian freedom and are perhaps the only witnesses of what has been wrought in the State by Muslims secessionist forces and the successive state governments, with the passive acquiescence of the Government of India. We cannot, in the interest of our nation and in the interest of history, accept lies and falsehoods as the truth, for that may not only harm our community but also our country and earn us the calumny of having failed in our duty unto our country.

The terrorist flanks waging war against India claim the divine right to complete the partition of India, which, according to them, was left unfinished in 1947, because of the accession of the State to India. The secession of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its unification with Pakistan will extend the Muslim power over the traditional northern frontier of India. Flanked by Afghanistan in the east and Central Asia in the north and China in the west, Pakistan would assume a factoral importance in the configuration of power in Asia. Using the ideological and military support received from militarised pan- Islamic fundamentalism, Pakistan would inevitably force a further division on India.

The violence in Kashmir has three major dimensions:

        (i) the Muslim militancy in Kashmir with its transnational dimensions; (ii) its commitment to the Islamisation of the government and society of the State; and

        (iii) the terrorist regimes operating in Kashmir and the Muslim crusade are communal, fundamentalist and separatist in their content. The ethnic extermination of Hindus in Kashmir is a part of the basic scheme of communalisation and fundamentalisation of the State.

Creation of Pakistan The creation of Pakistan in 1947 was a landmark in the struggle for the unification of the Muslim Umma and ever since Pakistan was created, it has followed a sustained policy of thrust for expansion towards the east as a major strategy to spread across Jammu and Kashmir and take the Muslim power to the dominant Muslim regions of Central Asia, Mongolia and Sinkiang. The terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir is a continuation of the consolidation of pan-Islamic unity, of which the creation of Pakistan was a part. Pakistan claimed Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the Muslim majority of its population and while terrorism raged in Kashmir, it demanded that India be divided again to carry the partition to its logical conclusion by ceding the State to Pakistan.

The questions that immediately arise are: how is the restoration of the 1952 status relevant to the war of attrition raging in the State? How far will the exclusion of the State from the constitutional structure of India go to meet the Muslim movement for secession of the State from India? Are the militarised secessionist forces prepared to accept the exclusion of the State from the constitutional framework of India as a basis to lay down their arms? How far is Pakistan prepared to accept the exclusion of the State from the constitutional organisation of India as a basis for a settlement on Kashmir?

Evidently, the exclusion of the State from the Indian constitutional framework will not be acceptable to the secessionist military flanks as a basis for a settlement, leaving them free to carry on the war of attrition in the State against India and the Hindus. It will only serve the purpose of carrying the State almost into the no-man's land between India and Pakistan, which would then be exposed to greater pulls from Pakistan. With the terrorist violence continuing unabated inside the State, pressure would be mounted on India to accept the exclusion of the State from the territories of the Indian Union and its defence parameters. Perhaps, the National Conference leadership in the State would, at that time, again intervene and bring round India to accept a position of equidistance for the State from both India as well as Pakistan.

Regional Autonomy

The proposals to lend regional autonomy to Jammu and Ladakh would ultimately lead to the division of the Jammu Province into the Muslim- majority region and the Hindu-majority region and, in Ladakh, the separation of the Muslim-majority district of Kargil, already accomplished by the grant of Hill Council to it. With the process of the elimination of the Hindus from the Muslim-majority regions of the State, already completed in the Kashmir Province, the whole region situated west of the Chenab would be formed into a separate Muslim political organisation on the basis of a modified form of the Dixon Plan which was proposed for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in 1950. Once the State is disengaged from India, the pro-Pakistan Muslim forces would push into Pakistan earlier than anticipated and the National Conference would eventually be prepared to reach a settlement with Pakistan on the separate political identity of the Muslim-majority regions of the State in which would be included the Pakistan-occupied territories of Kashmir within the territorial jurisdiction of Pakistan but outside its political structure.

The Hindus and other minorities - the Buddhists as well as the Sikhs - oppose the exclusion of the State from the Indian constitutional framework for the following reasons:

        (i) exclusion of Jammu and Kashmir from the constitutional structure of India would ultimately lead to strengthening of secessionist forces in the State and increase the chances of international intervention;

        (ii) the process of Islamisation of the State, which was the net outcome of the so-called autonomy of the State, had provided enough ground for the fundamentalisation of the State and would lead to sharpening of Muslim separatism; and

        (iii) Islamisation of the State and the enforcement of Muslim precedence in society, the government and its economy had subjected the Hindus to the servitude of Muslim authority.

The exclusion of the State from the Indian constitutional framework on the basis of tne Muslim- majority character of its population implied that a Muslim-majority state is a Muslim State and, therefore, it cannot form part of the secular constitutional framework of India. The demand for a separate Muslim State of Jammu and Kashmir, which the 1952 status underlines, resembles closely the Muslim League demand for Pakistan. The basic issue is the creation of a Muslim State, which is no more a part of India.

Abandonment of Secular Norms

After the accession of the State to the Indian Dominion in October 1947, the Government of the Jammu and Kashmir State was reconstituted to give effect to the transfer of power to the people in accordance with the practice followed by the Government of India in the princely States. The transfer of power in the State was aimed at ending the rigours of the princely rule and ensure the exercise of authority in accordance with the democratic process and the acceptance of administrative responsibility. However, the transfer of power in the State assumed a different direction. No sooner did the National Conference leaders constitute the first Interim Government than they abandoned their commitments to all secular norms and set out to reorganise the State on the basis of communal precedence of the Muslim majority. The rapid transformation of the whole economic organisation of the State, which upturned the property classification which the Dogra rulers had established and which the Interim Government accomplished ostensibly to eliminate exploitation and poverty, led directly to the emergence of a new Muslim middle class, which in the years to come formed the mainstay of the Muslim separatist movements in the State. The first Interim Government secured the exclusion of the State from the constitutional structure of India mainly to secure the social, political and economic interests of the Muslim majority in the State. In their parleys with the Indian leaders, these leaders insisted upon the setting up of a separate Constituent Assembly for the State which would formulate a separate constitutional framework and sets of political imperatives to safeguard the basic rights of the people in the State, independent of the fundamental rights which the Constituent Assembly of India had evolved.

Protection of Minorities

More particularly, the National Conference leaders vehemently opposed the acceptance of all rights to equality and protection of minorities, which the Constitution of India envisaged on the ground that such rights conflicted with the economic reforms which the Interim Government had undertaken. The Interim Government secured the abdication of Maharaja Hari Singh and later did not take long in assuming total control over the authority of the State. In less than a year, the Hindus were eliminated from the economic structure of the State, its government and administration. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the Prime Minister in the Interim Government, headed the Auqaf-Islamia, the Muslim endowment trust, but demanded the dissolution of the Dharmarth, the Hindu endowment trust which the Dogra rulers had established.

The Interim Government forged a new Muslim ruling elite, which rules the State in the decades which followed, relegating the Hindus to a condition of abject servitude. The Interim Government packed the State Constituent Assembly with Muslims, 73 of its 75 members were returned unopposed, the remaining two seats in the Assembly were also bagged by the National Conference after their opponents were driven out of the contest. In the Assembly, around three-fourths of the members were Muslims. The whole delimitation of the constituencies was based upon disproportionate distribution of population, ensuring the Muslim-majority province of Kashmir a heavier weightage than the Hindu-majority province of Jammu. When Sheikh Abdullah denounced the Delhi Agreement in 1953 and demanded the separation of the State from the territorial jurisdiction of the Union of India, the handful of the Hindu members in the Assembly stood against him and supported the second Interim Government headed by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, for a fairly high price, which was paid only at the cost of the Hindus.

Process of Elimination

Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad also did not end the Muslim precedence in the government and society of the State and, in spite of the partial application of the fundamental rights as envisaged by the Constitution of India to Jammu and Kashmir, the process of the elimination of the Hindus from the political and economic organisation of the State continued unabated. He too continued to head the Auqaf-Islamia. After the State Constituent Assembly completed its labours and a separate Constitution was promulgated in the State in 1957, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad packed the first Legislative Assembly on the basis of the constituencies delimited for elections to the Constituent Assembly. The Muslims of the State were ensured perpetual heavier weightage in the elections to the State legislature than the people in Jammu and Ladakh. During the last four decades, legislative assemblies were predominantly Muslim. The demand of the Hindus of Jammu for a review of the delimitation and the four-decade-long struggle of the three lakh Hindu and Sikh refugees who had come to the State from the Pakistan-controlled parts in the aftermath of the partition holocaust, for the citizenship of the State, was never met.

The scourge of Muslim precedence spread still wider. Not only were legislative bodies and the political instruments dominantly Muslim, the entire administrative organisation was also Islamised rapidly within days after the Interim Government was saddled in office. The rapid process of summary removal of the Hindus from State services was initiated on the pretext of communal imbalances in the services, which the Conference leaders said characterised the administrative structure of the State. The allegations were baseless. Glaring imbalances characterised the administration of the State but these imbalances were not communal in character. The State was virtually governed by the British and their officers in the Indian Political Department, who were posted in the State to conduct its administration. The Dogra ruling elite was not Hindu; it was constituted of the small agrarian middle class, which was equally Muslim. The services of the State were dominated by the British and the men of the Indian Civil Services, besides the clansmen of the ruling dynasty and a section of the Dogra ruling elite, almost half of which was constituted by the Muslims. The ranks of the State army were divided in a ratio of 55 per cent Hindu and 45 per cent Muslim, mostly drawn from the non-Kashmiri- speaking subjects of the Dogra rulers. The Hindus of Kashmir and Jammu, who had taken to English education far ahead of their Muslim compatriots, were employed in subordinate services on petty posts and they licked the mud for the Raj as well as the British empire.

Political Adventurists

The Interim Government removed the senior Hindu officers from the State services on charges of having supported the Dogra rule, replacing them by the henchmen of the National Conference and political adventurists. A virtual embargo was imposed on the employment of the Hindus of Kashmir in the State services, avowedly to rectify the alleged communal imbalances but in reality to Islamise the various instruments of authority as well as the lines of its control.

The partial application of the Indian Constitution in 1954 and the promulgation of the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir in January 1957, upheld the precedence of the Muslim majority. The application of the fundamental rights envisaged by the Constitution of India to the State, by virtue of the Presidential Order of May 1954, was restricted by numerous exceptions and reservations. This armed the State Government with arbitrary powers to effect reservations for the classified sections of permanent residents of the State, which the successive State Governments used ruthlessly to promote Muslim interests.

The following facts reveal the extent of dominance and precedence of the Muslims, particularly the Muslims of Kashmir, enjoyed in the governance and politics of the State:

        (a) The imbalances in the delimitation of constituencies in the two provinces of Jammu and Kashmir and the exclusion of two-and-a-half lakh Hindu refugees, living in the State from 1947, from permanent residence in the State, was mainly aimed at reducing the weightage of the Hindus in the legislative processes of the State, ensuring a three- fourth majority for the Muslims in the State legislature. The Hindu representation was maintained at an average 30 per cent of the seats in the Legislative Assembly. The entire refugee population was deprived of any sort of representation in the local bodies. In the delimitation of the electoral constituencies, gerrymandering was meticulously used to neutralise the decisive Hindu and Sikh weightage in, at least, three constituencies viz; Habbakadal, Anantnag and Bramulla in the Kashmir province and three constituencies in the districts of Doda and Udhampur.

Muslim Constituencies

Consequently in Kashmir, the Hindus and the Sikhs did not have even a single non-Muslim majority constituency, wherefrom a representative of their choice could be elected to the Legislative Assembly. Generally, the Hindus and other non- Muslim representatives, elected to the Legislative Assembly from Kashmir, were mercenaries and men of small virtue, who never enjoyed the confidence of their communities. The records of the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly reveal how the Hindu representatives supported the legislation aimed at excluding Hindus and other minorities from the administrative set-up of the State Government and its political function and impose limitations on their entry to the educational institutions of the State. When a controversy raged over the passage of the Resettlement Bill, which the National Conference Government headed by Sheikh Abdullah, introduced in the Assembly, to open the floodgates for the re- entry into the State, of the Muslims from Pakistan and the Pakistan-occupied territories, the Hindu representatives did not voice their disapproval of the Bill, which they were repeatedly told would prove disastrous for the State. None of the Hindu legislators, except those from Jammu, who were elected by the opposition, raised the issue of the thousands of Hindu refugees uprooted from the territories of the Kashmir province occupied by Pakistan;

        b) Right from 1947, the Muslims adorned the office of the highest political executive of the State. The four Prime Ministers of the State, who headed the political executive till 1965, were Muslims and the six Chief Ministers of the Congress and the National Conference Governments, who followed, were also Muslims. In the Council of Ministers, during the last four-and-a-half decades, the Hindus Buddhists and other minorities held an average of 26 per cent of the ministerial of fices, the rest being held by the Muslims;

        c) In the decision-making clusters of various political party organisation, including the National Conference and the Congress, which ruled the State during the last four decades, the Hindus of Kashmir were always left unrepresented;

Parliamentary Patronage

        d) The maximum parliamentary patronage was appropriated by the Muslims of Kashmir and the Muslims in the Jammu province to the disadvantage of the Hindus;

        e) In the decision-making bodies of the State administration, the representation of the Hindus was always negligible. Almost all the Heads of the Departments in the administration of Kashmir were Muslims. An unwritten instrument of instruction operated to eliminate the Hindus from various decision-making bodies and Muslims governed the appointment of the heads of the administrative divisions and staff agencies. An average of less than 26 per cent, including the officers of the Government of India on deputation in the State, and the officers of Indian Administrative Services were Hindus;

        f) In the administrative structure of the State, the Hindus of Kashmir, with 88 per cent literacy, shared an average of 4.8 per cent of the State services, including the services in the public enterprises, corporations and government undertakings;

        g) In the services of the Central Government, including the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, the services of corporate undertakings of the Central Government, the defence services, the Beacon organisation and the communication system of the Central Government, the Kashmiri Hindus shared only 12 per cent of the available employment, whereas the Kashmiri Muslims shared 38 per cent.

Recruitment of Hindus

During 1980 to 1990, when Muslim fundamentalist movements assumed ascendance and the secessionist forces tightened their hold on the administrative organisation of the State, the recruitment of Kashmiri Hindus to the State Services and services in other corporate bodies was reduced to an average of 1.7 per cent. Several government orders blatantly communal, were struck down by the State High Court and the Supreme Court. But ways and means were devised by the State Government to circumvent these judicial decisions to enforce the exclusion of Kashmiri Hindus from employment which otherwise was their due. The embargo on the recruitment of Kashmiri Hindus was extended to the teaching staff of the higher secondary schools, colleges and post-graduate departments of the University of Kashmir as well as the Agricultural University, the Medical College, the Engineering College and the Institute of Medical Sciences in spite of the fact that the Hindus possessed not only adequate but higher qualifications and professional excellence.

The elimination of Hindus from all political processes and functions in Kashmir was extended to their admission to educational institutions in the State and grant of scholarships and nomination for training and higher studies outside the State. During the last 50 years the admissions of Kashmiri Hindus to various academic institutions and institutions of higher learning were restricted to an average of 8 per cent of the total admissions made every year. Though the Kashmiri Hindus constituted more than 8 per cent of population in the province, a bare 2 per cent was awarded nominations and State grants for higher studies and training outside the State. Communal government orders were issued from time to time, implementing classification undertaken by the State legislature of define socially and educationally backward classes to ensure for the Muslims a wider reservation for admissions to the educational institutions. Many of these orders were struck down by the highest courts. Undeterred by the severe censure by these Courts, the State government refused to change its policy and the scourge of reservations continued to ravage the Hindus. The data regarding admission of Hindus to the technical colleges, training courses and post graduate classes in Kashmir during the last 50 years shows that they were subject to gross discrimination in spite of the meritorious grades secured in their qualifying board and university examinations. On an average, only 7 per cent of the Hindus were admitted to technical colleges, though 63 per cent of the Hindu applicants possessed a first class grade or more, whereas 76 per cent of the Muslim candidates were admitted to the technical colleges, though only 31 per cent of them possessed first class qualifications.

Admission to Technical Institutes

In the admissions to the technical training colleges, 12 per cent of Hindu candidates were admitted though 66 per cent of Hindu applicants possessed a first class. On the other hand, 82 per cent of the Muslims were admitted to these technical colleges though only 28 per cent of them possessed first class. In the admissions to the post-graduate courses, only 14 per cent of the Hindu candidates were admitted though 41 per cent of them obtained first class whereas 78 per cent of Muslim candidates were admitted to the post-graduate classes, though only 14 per cent of them secured first class. We Hindus cannot retrieve these and other losses we suffered from the holocaust of invasions and massacres when we were reduced to the proverbial households. Later, these carnages turned into sustained acts of economic deprivation and ethnic cleansing until in 1990 we were forced to flee our homes and remain in exile ever since. Now Dr. Farooq Abdullah is propagating his invitation to Hindus to return home despite selective ethnic killings at Sangrampora in Kashmir and at Gool in Jammu.

The future of the displaced Hindu community in Jammu and Kashmir will depend upon:

        i) How soon, and at what price, the militant violence is curbed completely and peace is restored in the State, a responsibility, which primarily rests on the Government of India?

        ii) How is the future constitutional set-up between Jammu and Kashmir shaped, and the rights and their protection guaranteed under the Constitution of India to all minorities, ensured for the Hindus in Kashmir, who have been reduced to a state of slavery in a Muslim State under the cover of special status, proposed autonomy and Article 370?

        iii) How effective will be the process to reverse the policy of Islamisation of the State, which has been in operation during the last four decades?

        iv) What constitutional instrumentalities are evolved to ensure the right of equality, the right to religious faith and the right to protection against persecution and protection against Muslim communalism for the Hindus in Kashmir?

Security After Return

The future of the Hindus of Kashmir, their return to their homes, their right to security of life and property and freedom of faith must be visualised in terms of a settlement of the communal problem. There should be no doubt the return of the community of Hindus to their homes in Kashmir, where it actually belongs, where its temples are which is the mother of their culture and of their history. The ethnic cleansing of the Hindus from Kashmir, a part of the gameplan to change the demographic composition of the Kashmir province, cannot be accepted as a fact, allowed to have been accomplished by the Muslims, with the connivance of the State government and the Government of India. The Government of India is trying to woo the terrorists and the separatists, in the garb of autonomists, as well as Pakistan to buy peace from anyone of them mainly because of its inability to read the real character of Muslim communalism. The government of India is dragging its feet, because the terrorists are Muslim, the separatists are Muslim and Pakistan is Muslim.

Would it ever be possible for India to blsy peace, while the terrorists are on the rampage, the separatists are preparing to disengage the State from the constitutional framework of India and Pakistan is sparing no efforts to foist a second partition on India? Yes ! if the Government of India agrees to accept the secession of Jammu and Kashmir from India and its merger with Pakistan, on the same principles which formed the basis of the partition of India in 1947.

The return of the Kashmiri Pandits, therefore, depends upon;
 

i) The final resolution of the militant violence in Kashmir.

ii) The determination of the Indian State not to accept any settlement, which disengages the State from the IndianUnion;

iii) So long as the state of widespread violence in Kashmir is not brought to an end, the Hindu community of Kashmir, which was flushed out of Kashmir on the point of the gun, will not be able to return, to be used as cannon-fodder in a war, which is not fought by the State government and the Government of India to defeat Muslim communalism and separatism. The Hindus cannot be exposed a second time to gunfire from an enemy who is prowling in the neighbourhood and who is masquerading as the saviour of secularism. The Hindus could but they will not return to face the rigours of a war and the scourge of treachery.


Protection of Rights

The return of the Kashmiri Hindus will also depend upon:
 

i) The guarantee the community is given of protection of all rights and due process of law, which it has been denied during the last five decades;

ii) The guarantee against the Islamisation of the State, its society and its government to ensure the community the right to freedom of faith;

iii) To safeguards against communal persecution, economic deprivation and political isolation, which the Hindus have been subjected to, in the name of local autonomy, secularism and Kashmiryat.

 

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