Table of Contents
   Index
   About the Author
   Preface
   Foreword
 KASHMIR: PAST
   Kashmiri Hindus: Origin ...
   Sultan Zain-ul-abidin
   The Sayyids as Oppressors
   Chak Fanatics
   The Mughals
   The Afghans
   Sikh Rule
   Dogra Rule
 KASHMIR: PRESENT
   Post-1947 Scenario
   Jammu and Ladakh ...
   Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad
   Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq
   Sayyed Mir Qasim
   Sheikh Abdullah Sows Seeds ...
   Farooq Abdullah ...
   Ghulam Mohammad Shah ...
   Rajiv-Farooq Accord
   Proxy War Declared
   Muslim Fundamentalism
   Terrible Plight of Minorities 
   13th November, 1991
   Epilogue
   Appendix
   Download Book 

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CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

All Party Meet - 13th November, 1991

Chasing the mirage of political process, the Home Minister, S B. Chavan, resorted to the freak of summoning all shades of Kashmir leaders for a meet designed to explore the possibilities of initiating political activity in the terror-stricken Valley of Kashmir. The invitation letters addressed to them by the Home Ministry circles focussed among other things on the migration of large sections of the Kashmirian populace from the Valley as a result of escalation in terrorist violence and mayhem.

The political leaders affiliated to National Conference and Congress were the same old faces. who could be held guilty of abdication and non-governance at a critical juncture when menace of terrorism and subversion was swamping Kashmir. Resorting to myopic options and mis-conceived and unfounded perceptions, they had willingly and knowingly contributed to the crumbling and perishment of administration paving way for primitive savagery inherent in terrorism. Malice and communal venom ever on their tongues, they led to the birth and nurture of hopes in the mass psyche that Azadi and secession of the state from the Indian democracy was a sustainable and attainable political objective. The same set of leaders had forged alliances with the venomous Jamaat-i-Islami for short-term political gains, thus allowing it to proliferate like a cancerous cell. Mir. Qasim, Mufti Sayyid, G.N. Azad, M.L. Fotedar and Rajesh Pilot as the big-wigs attending the meet reduced it to a jamboree of politicians enjoying or having enjoyed carnival of power and pelf. Most of the leaders sharing different perceptions about the political conditions prevailing in Kashmir found a forum to pontificate on a situation which they as rulers had created and allowed to assume menacing dimensions.

What was regrettable that the Kashmirian Hindus living in exile and the worst victims of Muslim barbarity were side-lined by not inviting them to participate in the meet. l They were both surprised and shocked at the brusque and ham-handed treatment meted out to them by the Home Ministry circles. They felt that they were being tiffed as they have a saga to relate, a statement to make and a view-point to project. As per them, initiation of political process is an exercise in futility until ground realities in Kashmir undergo a sea-change and Muslim terrorism is stamped out to the last vestiges of it. That deliberations of any form debating the future course of developments in Kashmir are vitally related to their survival is what they firmly hold. Motivated by partisan considerations, the Home Minister brushed aside the resentment of the Kashmirian Hindus articulated through their fora on the untenable plea that they had no presence in the valley. Sensing the plea pointless and not cognet, the Kashmirian Hindus were prompt enough to rivet the attention of the Home Minister to the entire flock of Kashmir leaders, who have fled their land only to make Jammu and Delhi as their sanctuaries.

The Home Minister organising a typical Congress brand exercise persevered to listen to the non-perceptive views of the N.C. and Congress-I leaders about the prevalent situation in Kashmir. As doomsmen of Kashmir, the N.C. Ieaders presented a dubious stand-point of involving the sectarian and terrorist-infested administration of Kashmir in meeting and fighting the formidable challenges posed by Muslim terrorism. They were mostly mute about the heinous crimes committed by the Muslim terrorists and the hounding out of the Hindu minority from Kashmir. That the terrorists are misguided and need be conciliated was the usual fare they dished out at the meet. The Janata Dal leaders with their track record of bunglings in Kashmir failed to offer a solid view-point thus exhibiting total lack of perception about the turmoil enveloping Kashmir. Presenting a rehash of happenings in Kashmir, content-wise not different from that of N.C., the Congress leaders stressed the firm tackling of terrorism in Kashmir and also opening up of channels of dialogue with the Muslim terrorists for a solution within the ambit of Indian Constitution. That the terrorists having risen in revolt and decimated all traces of state authority letting loose a reign of terror need total annihilation is not within the Congress ken. Terrorists have no love lost for the Indian Constitution and are out to fragment the country and are averse to a solution within the parameters of the Constitution. Operating at the behest of a neighbouring country, they are waging a proxy war, which has to be fought as per the canons of war. When vanquished, the Muslim terrorists along with their local collaborators will beg for a solution, call it a face-saving. 'Tackle terrorism and open up channels of dialogue' can be dismissed as illogical verbiage.

As the victims of Muslim hegemony, the BJP leaders from Jammu region were sufficiently frank in demanding the trifurcation of the state only to loosen the strangle-hold on Jammu and Ladakh by the Muslim bigots ruling the state. The C.P.I. (M) leader from Kashmir with a consistent history of having fought Jamaat-i-Islami agitprop stuck to the position of differentiating the JKLF barbarians from the Hizbul-Mujalideen blood-hounds when both the species owe allegiance to the uniform agenda of decimating Hindu minorities as Kafirs with no place for them in Independent Kashmir which is co-terminus with annexation to Pakistan. That killers are secularists, a quaint thesis, sounds astounding.

Aware of the pell-mell created by the N.C.-Congress combine in Kashmir. the Home Minister cautioned all the participants not to resort to harangues only to stall the worsening situation from touching an irretrievable bottom. He also dilated on the insidious and disruptive role-model of Pakistan in matters of interfering, aiding and abetting terrorism in Kashmir, training the terrorists in lethal weapons, lacing them with arms and ammunition, financial support and strategic assistance. What his government was doing to weed out terrorism from the Valley did not form a vital item for his dilation and explication.

The 'All Party Meet' was a snap decision only to camouflage the inaction of a government, which is in office, but not in power. It practically proved a damp squib as it failed to throw up a tangible strategy as a means to counter the insurgency challenging the fundamentals sustaining the Indian democracy. The resolution unanimously accepted by the leaders lent all credence and support to the so-called policies pursued by the Central Government to meet the armed revolt. A brief reference to the Hindu refugees herded out of Kashmir living an appalling life in tents and shanties failed to envisage any positive measures designed to alleviate their untold sufferings and unbearable miseries. That the properties of the Hindus are vengefully being destroyed or grabbed by the Muslim majority was not cognised as a major concern by the wreckers of Kashmir attending the meet.

Pinning his hopes in the Kashmir brand of leaders present at the meet proved to the hilt that the Home Minister was only groping in the dark and was intensly frantic to catch at a straw designed to retrieve a situation that had come up only as an end-product of abdication, non-assertion and more than most non-governance. If he expected the destroyers of Kashmir to prove the saviours of Kashmir, it is safe to put that he was chasing a chimmera or a pipe-dream.

That the Kashmirian Hindus rendered refugees in their own country should be brushed aside by the powers that be was what exhausted their patience and evoked their ire. With a view to registering their protest, they demonstrated at the Parliament House Annexe and vigorously demanded their participation in all meets and parleys debating future of Kashmir. The dehumanised face of the government got openly revealed when it came heavy on the demonstrators by charging, beating and manhandling them only to break their resistance to the apathetic and unfair treatment being meted out to them. The scars inflicted on them are the badges of honour that will stand in good stead in the battle for transforming the destinies of millions for a better future ensuring an even-handed treatment to the sons of the soil suffering worst pains and agonies, not of their making.

If broadened in its range and scope, the 'All Party Meet' could be a meaningful and relevant exercise in matters of furrowing a track to meet the Muslim insurgency in Kashmir. Clinging to partisan interests will not prove fruitful in solving Kashmir allowed to get intertwined in a maze of controversies. The political pundits keenly watching Kashmir developments are fully aware of the failure of the exercise at a time when Central government has yet to establish its writ in the belts of territory outside Raj Bhawan. And the main failure of the 'All Party Meet' exercise was in not sending out a loud and clear message to the Muslim terrorists that they will be met and Kashmir will never move out of the Indian orbit. It never proved a conduit for a stiff message to all hues of disruptionists, both internal and external. Instead, the story of the Indian Government in strife torn Valley is abominable and detestable. It has committed the security forces to meet the perilous challenges of armed insurgency, but does not allow them to act by tying up their hands behind their backs.

Have the ground realities in strifetorn valley undergone a metamorphic change necessitating the initiation of political process? 2 Have terrorists been brought to their knees by launching upon a vigorous crusade against them to clean the hate-defiled soil of Kashmir? Tho fact of the matter is that terrorism ravaging the Valley is no longer contained in its fury and frequency. The writ of the terrorists runs unabated. They have not ceased to call the shots. The ominous nexus between the Muslim terrorists and the administration is yet to be broken.

The state administrative set-up as the support plank of terrorism in Kashmir continues to be in stinking health. The bogey of human rights violations as the agitprop of internal and external forces inimical to the sovereignty and solidarity of India continues to damage and impair the morale and fighting potential of the security forces. Donning the eunuch's clothing, the Central Government unable to withstand the pressures from a superpower playing the politics of human rights pursues a policy of drift to the total erosion of national security and prestige. Unless firm measures including waging a war on Pakistan are resorted to, Kashmir will continue burning in the fires of terrorism, subversion, disorder and mayhem.

Punching the soft belly of the Indian Government, terrorists run amok under the frenzy of Jehad have thrown no signals for a negotiated sertlement. Yet the policy framing mandarins, senile and spineless, lacking in conviction and political will, continuously harp on the tune of a settlement within the parameters of the Indian Constitution. And the Government at the Centre has made history by resorting to quaint, grotesque and mind-boggling methods and strategies to fight terrorisnn in Kashmir.

It is said that fruit is being purchased from the apple-sheikhs feeding insurgency with all their resources at their door-steps and money paid in cash. Handicrafts are bought from the barons in the sector at their thresholds and ninety percent payments made on spot. The insurgent Muslims are being blessed with job slots and jobs are being created to absorb them in hordes. The boatmen are reportedly paid doles in cash. House-boat barons as parts of Muslim terrorism are reported to be in receipt of hefty doles with a view to sustainning them as a resistant force. How could hoteliers be ignored ? They are also paid relief as they are held as the worst victims of the insurgency which they have been assiduously feeding. The bus- owners were reportedly paid Rs. 500/- each to clear the decks of their buses of snow as every snow-fall is declared a national calamity. The government servants are paid hefty salaries for keeping away from their duties. 'No work, no pay' is not applicable to them. Whenever there is an apparent abatement in terrorism, they go on a lightning strike only to ignite quenching fires. The Chief Secretary expected to gear up the Muslimised administration has dubious credentials. He is one of the signatories to an-appeal made to the UNO for intervention in Kashmir. There is an ominous nexus between the Muslimised administration and the terrorists. Government coffers are mercilessly looted and there is no accountability worth the name. Most of the looted money in their kitties, the Muslim terrorists have been busy in building huge mobile and immobile properties. And to the naive Muslims, they are still Mujahids waging holy war for the extirpation of Kufur (infidelity) from Kashmir.

National Integration Council - A Toothless Giant

Having come into being as a highly prestigious body three decades ago, the National Integration Council was designed to serve as a forum to deliberate upon vital national issues with the sole objective of charting out strategies to resolve them from broad national perspectives. The Council as such has made history by deliberating upon very sensitive issues fraught with perils for the national security. The usual modus operandi of the Council has been to issue high sounding statements earning prime media focus. But what has dismayed the Indian public is that the deliberations of the NIC have never been congnised by the men in corridors of power while shaping policy frames and iniliatives to meet the formidable challenges.

The Narsimha Rao Government feeling jittery in face of the stridency exhibited by the Bharatiya Janata Party apropos Kashmir convened the National Integration Council with a view to deliberating upon the insurgencies in the Punjab and Kashmir perhaps for a possible way-out to resolve the crises. Guided by its likes and dislikes with respect to various political parties, the ruling party decided to keep the communists away from the meet. It was only after lodging a protest with the government that the CPI was formally invited to the meet. Despite such bunglings at initial stages, many heavyweights affiliated to the broad spectrum of national politics attended the meet. That many business tycoons were invited to the meet was a pointer to the role-model they were assigned in matters of determining the strategies and policy initiatives vis-a-vis crucial problems facing the country. There were many others, invited to the meet, owing allegiance to micro-outfits with limited palitical operational base. Some individuals also were considered relevent to the meet, but the Kashmirian Hindus, battered and bloodied, herded out of their native land, were side-lined, thus de-recognized as the bona fide citizens of India.

The 150-menlber strong NIC was expected to deliberate upon the Kashmir turmoil in its broad facets and evolve a national strategy to counter the proxy war waged by Pakistan drawing support from local Muslim rabids. But, the meet was dishonestly conceived and hence ended in smoke without evolving a strategy or a well-formulated plan to meet the challenges of the Muslim insurgency. Clinging to their party perceptions about the insurgencies, the politicians highlighted lop-sided versions about the origins of terrorism ravaging the two states in full fury and dished out stale cliches as possible solutions to end the crises.

As per the pre-drawn agenda of the NIC meeting, the Kashmir imbroglio failed to attract an exclusive attention of the political big-wigs and business tycoons as it was clubbed with the Punjab insurgency, thus diluting the prime importance of Kashmir insurgency replete with wide ranging ramifications for the country at large. The P.M. crafted its further dilution when he chose to allude to the Cauvery water dispute and exodus of refugees from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The handful of refugees from the two southern states formed his concern, but, dismaying as it is, the trauma of the Kashmirian Hindus as a result of ethnic cleansing resorted to by the Muslim fundamentalists never attracted his serious attention. In fact, the first resolution adopted by the NIC as a high profile body was pertaining to Tamil Nadu and Karnataka witnessing disturbances as a spill-over of water dispute between the two states. Focussing on the dispute was only to swerve away from the main agenda before the NIC meet. It can be averred that the Prime Minister motivated by a design to fling Kashmir and Punjab to the backwaters dragged the rumpus in the South into the deliberations of the NIC, thus reducing the prime importance of the strife-ravaged states clamouring for a strategy as a means to resolve the deep-set crises.

Absolutely wanting in dynamism in matters of grapling with serious problems with intense seriousness, the NIC forged a resolution on Kashmir and the Punjab presenting a melange of views put forth by various political parties and many highbrow political personalities only to give it a semblance of consensus. Far from hitting the nail on the head, the resolution was replete with commonplace generalisations and cliches with the least attempt to forge a concerted and vigorous strategy based on absolute unanimity so as to meet the serious challenges to the democratic polity of India.

Without learning from past-mistakes, the Prime Minister stuck to the same old political stand in regard to the highly controversial Article 370 of the Indian Constitution ensuring special status to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Not ready to cognise the pernicious role of the Article 370 in breeding divisive and fundamentalist forces in the state, the political leaders affiliated to the Left and Centrist parties with the sole exception of Bharatiya Janata Party were for retention of the Article 370 on the plea that its abrogation would mark a harking back on the promise made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The fact of the matter is that the Article 370 is a promise made not to the Ladakhis, the Jammuites and other minority groups of the state, but only to the Muslims of Kashmir. The Jammuites are for its immediate scrapping. So are the Ladakhis, the worst victims of Muslim exploitation. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi representing the BJP was forthright in demanding the abrogation of the Article as it has historically proved a formidable barrier to the development of a cohesive nation transcending the regional persuasions for separatism and insularity. The Article as such has bred separatist forces out to snap the ties of Kashmir with India and also hounding out of the indigenous Hindu minorities. It is a stumbling block in forging a so-called consensus, the reference to the said Arlicle was finally dropped thereby maintaining the Article as sacrosanct.

The Resolution also exhorted all political parties to make their solid contributions to the normalisation processes in Kashmir which is ravaged by armed Muslim fundamentalism. Active involvement of all segments of the Kashmirian populace was what the resolution emphasised in crystal-clear words. But, the Kashmirian Hindus seeking participation in the deliberations were kept at bay, thus evoking their wrath and anger.

On 31st December, 1991, a solid group of the Kashmirian Hindus in utter anguish got collected at Jantar Mantar and marched in the direction of the Parliament House Annexe where the NIC was in session in the Main Committee Room. It was not a smooth sailing. They had to encounter several cordons and police hostilities. Protesting that they be allowed to present a charter of demands to the NIC, the police posse, absolutely hostile and brutal, foiled the peaceful march. The protesters raised slogans and also blocked traffic so as to draw the attention of the people to the blighted lot of the Kashmirian Hindus. That the NIC without their participation was not a representative body to discuss and decide the fate of the refugees was what they endeavoured to highlight. The brute fcrce let loose by the tyrannous government foiled even the attempt to present a memorandum to the NIC meet debating the turmoil in Kashmir. The protesters were forcibly dumped in police vans and whisked away. They were also subjected to a brutal lathi-charge, thus silencing them and preventing them from ventilating and highlighting their viewpoint and saga.

Notes and References

1. Sanjay Kumar, Center's Kashmir Policy: "Side-lining KPS", Daily Excelsior, January 13, 14, 1992  2. Pran Nath Azad, "Have Ground Realities Changed in Kashmir", Daily Excelsior, October, 1992

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