Table of Contents
   Index
   Secessionist Movements
- Article 370
- Interim Government
- The Plebiscite Front
   Muslim Militancy
- The Gathering Storm
- War of Attrition
   Disinformation Compaign
- Political Alienation
- Muslim Precedence
- Economics of Militancy
   Genocide of Hindus
- The Minorities
- Quit Kashmir
- Darkness at Noon
- The Exodus
- Ethnic Cleansing
   Search for Refuge
- Leave Salary
- Scorched Earth
   Book in pdf format  

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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Chapter 2
Muslim Militancy

THE GATHERING STORM

There is enough evidence to believe that arms and ammunition began to flow into the State, right from 1980, while the trouble in the Punjab was at its peak. The survile subjectivity and subterfuge, with which the Government of India dealt with the fast deteriorating law and order situation in the State, particularly, after the widespread communal riots in south Kashmir in 1986, provided enough ground for the fundamentalist and secessionist forces to arm themselves with the help of Pakistan. 

It is difficult to state as to how did the State Government remain completely unaware of induction of arms and infiltrators into the Kashmir Valley. Much is also not known as to who constituted the militant leadership inside the State. If the escalation of the militant violence provided any indication of the intentions of Pakistan, it is evident that Pakistan was using the militancy in the Punjab with tactical effect to create conditions for a major operation in Jammu and Kashmir, which would be far too heavy for the Indian defences to bear. The most common man in the streets of Srinagar was aware of the growing strength of the secessionist forces, the widening influence of the fundamentalist Muslim organisations and the deepening communal distrustall over the State. The devastation of the Hindus by the widespread Muslim assault on them in 1986, the death destruction and desecration of the Hindu religious places which the whole fracas involved and the Muslim-Buddhist riots in Ladakh and Kargil divisions, had already laid a trial of communal distrust in the State. Both in Kashmir and Ladakh, Muslim fundamentalism had triumphed, in Kashmir the Hindus were smothered and in Ladakh, the Buddhist majority was completely alienated. Several major developments occurred in Kashmir which indicated that the support bases India had in the State, were fast disintegrating and it was evident that it would not be after long that the Indian Government would be confronted with a situation which was far worse than it had faced so far: 

  • A virulent propaganda campaign was underway among the Muslims in the entire Valley as well as the Muslims in the Muslim majority districts of the Jammu province that the time had arrived for a Jehad against India and the Hindus, for the liberation of the State from India and the Muslims, particularly the youth, should prepare themselves for the sacrifces the Jehad would involve. 
  • the Jamait-Islami cadres were inducted into the managing bodies of the mosques and Muslim religious institutions and trusts to gain control over them; 
  • severe anti-India and pro-Pakistan propaganda was initiated in the Muslim missionaly schools, mostly organised by the Jamait-Islami; 
  • in almost every local area, community centres for political education, called the Islamic Study Centres' were organised all overthe province. The Circles were run and controlled by the Jamait-Islami cadres in collaboration with non-Kashmiri Muslim preachers, who appeared and disappeared mysteriously and whose anticedents were suspect; 
  • there was a rapid shift in the entire local press in favour of Muslim fundamentalism; 
  • the recitation of National Anthem and hoisting of National Flag in the schools and other public institutions was mysteriously discontinued and people were dissuaded from attending ceremonies where the National Anthem was recited or the National Flag hoisted; 
  • a well-planned psychological war was unleashed against the Hindus, which involved: 
    • denigration of their religious precept and rituals; 
    • desecration and destruction of their temples; 
    • encroachment on their religious endowments, unlawful occupation of the land attached to temples and ancient shrines; 
    • frequent provocations to arouse general comununal tension to instil fear among them, so that they abondoned their homes; 
    • increased emphasis on Tablig or the propagation of Islam accompanied by psychological pressure to compel the Hindus to accept conversion; 
    • sudden spurt in cow-slaughter in violation of laws in force in the State and the appearence of numerous shops in the rural Kashmir as well as Srinagar where beef was put on sale openly; 
    • increase in the incidence of violence, sudden eruptions against the State Government, bomb blasts and arson; 
    • promotion of the distress sales of Hindu property, with finances made available from various Muslim endowments and trusts; 
    • pressure built upon the small Hindu business community to close down whatever business enterprises it owned; 
    • the recruitment of the Hindus in the services was further reduced to almost eliminate them completely with a view to compel them to leave the State; 
    • reduction of the intake of Hindus in the higher educational institutions. 
Two other developments, which assumed frightening proportions arter the Muslim attack on the Hindus in 1986, were the increasingly open expression the Muslim secessionism received and the widening permissibility which the entire State apparatus provided to Muslim communalism. 

A long debate went on among the Hindus in the State, and strong feelings were expressed by them that Pakistan aimed: 

  • to build its offensive in the Jammu and Kashmir State where militancy could be easily used to plunge the Muslim masses into a civil war against India: 
  • to close the military options for India to use force against Pakistan, if and when Pakistan launched a final assault to intervene in the civil war in Kashmir. 
The Hindus tried their utmost to pursuade the Indian leaders to see the danger inherent in the fundamentalist resurgence in the State and the fresh inspiration it provided to the secessionist forces. Many Hindu leaders and prominent men, pleaded with the National Conference as well as the Congress leaders, who constituted the coalition Government in the State, to take effective measures to curb the fundamentalist and secessionist forces. As the bomb blasts increased in their intensity and the law and order machinely began to give way, the Hindus made earnest entreaties to the Government of India to take necessaly administrative measures to check the growing violence in the State. On 15 August 1989, the independence day of India, the Hindus unfurled the Indian flag in the Ganpatyar temple in the heart of Srinagar, after they had sought the protection of the police. All over the valley, the Indian flags were burnt in scores and the flags of Pakistan and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation front were hoisted. 

The protestations, the Hindus made, went unheeded. The State Government issued vague and contradictory statements, reiterating the faith of the coalition partners in secularism, Kashmiri identity and Muslim precedence. In several of the statements the coalition partners levelled charges against each other as well as against the Hindu communalists who, they alleged, were wanting to disturb the peace in the State. To whitewash the truth, many of the Conference leaders traced the Muslim unrest to the dominance of Kashmiri Pandits in the Central Government offices in the State, because of which the potential Muslim talent was frustrated with Indian secularism. The Congress leaders of the State indulged in self-condemnation and charged everybody except the Muslims for what had happened in the State. 

The State Government, with an unstable political executive, still committed to the communal precedence of the Muslims, and a Muslimised bureaucracy with professional flanks, avowedly anti-India, took no notice of the widening turmoil in the State. The object depths to which the Indian prestige reached in the State is evidenced by the fact that the Chief Ministers and the other Muslim leaders, paid lip-service to Indian unity and secularism so long as they remained in power but denounced India and openly called for the seccession of the State once they fell out of power. 

Even after the rumblings of the impending storm were audible, the Government of India allowed the drift to continue. The Kashmiri Pandits, the dramatis personal of the Greek tragedy which slowly unfolded in the State, watched the fateful drama, draw to its close. 

The State Governor, Jagmohan, later claimed that he sent many despatches to the Indian Govermnent warning it of the impending disaster and proposed drastic changes in the State Government to meet the threat the terrorism posed. The local party bosses got him eliminated from the State at a crucial juncture, perhaps out of deliberate design. Jagmohan wrote several letters to the Indian press after he had been eliminated a second time from the scene in Kashmir, which are revealing in their content.  

White Paper on Kashmir

 

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