Firmness needed to weed out terrorists in Kashmir
There is a cry over Kashmir riots that emanated from the real encounter of Police with Hizbul Mujahedeen when its commander Burhan Wani in Kashmir was killed. No one is saying that he was not a terrorist but he should not have been killed. Instead many call for dialogues with them. Strange logic in a grim situation, when security forces are facing gunfire, do the critics expect them to have political talk with them? The biggest problem is that if you consider yourself an intellectual, you must oppose the government and support illogical causes. I thought we should put the entire issue in the context of its historical and political perspective. There are national interests on which politics must not be allowed by any party.
Kashmir has suffered terror and riots for long. From 1989 to 2009, 47000 died in this conflict and 7000 policemen lost their lives. Strangely, 3000 Pakistani nationals were killed on the soil of Kashmir. Does it not show how Pakistan is fanning trouble inside the territory of Indian state? Now, a known and self-confessed terrorist, who had become a social media hero projecting himself as Robin Hood, was eliminated by the Police. Many terrorists like Hafiz Saeed mourn his killing abusing and threatening India. The worst is when the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif calls him martyr in his tribute to a terrorist. Will the world reflect on this that if someone who is declared a terrorist by one country and will other the neighbouring country calls the deceased a martyr, why this mourning of a wanted criminal by the head of neighbouring state? There is ample evidence that Pakistan is fighting a low intensity war when open war is costly and there are no chances of victory over a powerful rival.
To blame Jawaharlal Nehru or Shiekh Abdullah is no use now but let us not forget this was an attempt of Maharaja Hari Singh to preserve the independence that lies at the root of the problem. Article 370 must be rescinded and total integration of Kashmir with India subject to all Indian laws is the only alternative. No doubt time is not ripe for this decision that should have been taken long back and must be taken sometime when a proper strategic plan is made acceptable to people there as any haste could escalate the conflict.
The present situation is partly created by Indian media and journalists who in their zeal to prove their secular credentials go overboard to ignore national interest. Even political parties who think dialogue with terrorists or all party meet will solve the problem are living in delusion of. Where is the question of renegotiation with these people who are creating a trouble when an election has taken place and the elected government is in the saddle? Recently, Mehbooba Mufti has got a resounding victory in the election of her seat in the legislature when other parties were trounced. Does it not reflect the mass support? Mass crowd at the funeral of Burhan is not an indication of unrest, it is only an emotional response to a death of a social media created person. When crowd is throwing stones on police and throwing their vehicles in river or children are being used as shield, it only reveals a planned fight. There is attack on even Sufis, who too came on TV screens and vouched for foreign funding of trouble-makers.
Now look at the leaders of dissenters who are not elected but self-styled leaders of rabble rousers Geelani and his associates: they have their children in the best of schools or in jobs in foreign countries or India but they incite the students in Kashmir to face bullets. Every time there is some police action, they declare bandh with the result that Kashmir has to survive on Indian aid only. They shout for industry as there is unemployment but create everyday bandh then who will put up an industry in such a situation? Army and security forces gave one day salary to help the flood victims of Kashmir but who cares? They take everything but have no sense of loyalty. Government must not appease terrorist elements and deal with it firmly but at the same time real test is to give them good governance and win them back from insurgent elements.
(The author is former Chairman, International Airports Authority of India)
by N.K. singh