Why the attack in Sunjwan?
In the recent days in Jammu and Kashmir, some clashes and two terrorist attacks took place, one on an army base and other on CRPF camp. The chain of clashes in the Valley took various forms, i.e. murderous stone pelting on an army convoy in Shopian, FIR against Major Aditya and the statement by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the floor of the Assembly.
During this period, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) department of the Pakistan Military released a video song titled ‘Sangbaaz’ (Stone Warriors) in which tributes have been paid to stone pelters and their stone pelting activity has been hailed as ‘intifada’ of East.
The conduct of the Chief Minister during this period was replete with ugly contradictions and smacked of double-speak, hovering between India and Pakistan. It was at the behest of the Chief Minister that the FIR against Major Aditya was lodged. Subsequently, she made a volt-face in the Assembly and stressed on the imperative of continuance of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA). Further, she castigated the stone-pelters for disrupting operations. She gathered the gumption to say that the mosques in the Valley were being misused for political purposes.
The duplicity of the Chief Minister seems to convey that while her compulsion is India, her heart lies elsewhere. Just before these chain of events, the LeT issued a diktat that women in Shopian must cover themselves with the type of ‘Burqa’, which only gives freedom to the eyes. Ironically, this diktat was issued when the winds of religious change are gathering momentum in the Arab World, most emphatically in Saudi Arabia. A senior government appointed cleric in Saudi Arabia has decreed that burqas are not compulsory in Islam and that 90 percent of Muslim women in the world find no use for them, even though they are pious. here is no doubt therefore that an environment was being created for a massive showdown with the security forces in Shopian.
In the wake of these incidents, there was a terrorist attack by the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in an army base in the Jammu region at Sunjwan. Family quarters were specifically targeted by the Pakistan sponsored JeM jihadis. Seven unsuspecting military personnel were martyred and as well as some family members and children. This army base is located in the vicinity of NH-1A. The entire NH-1A is studded with military bases and is in close proximity with the International Border. Several attacks including the one on Pathankot Air Base have taken place along this highway, as it affords mobility to the jihadis. It also affords the flexibility to switch over to alternate targets in quick-time frame. It would not be wrong to describe this NH-1A as ‘terror highway’ in the context of Pakistan sponsored proxy war.
Consequently, following the attack on Sunjwan army base, Farooq Abdullah during his interaction with the media made a strong advocacy for talks with Pakistan. This advocacy was reiterated Mehbooba Mufti. A member of the National Conference raised slogans ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ in the floor of the Assembly. The MLA continues to enjoy the perks and privileges provided by Indian taxpayers’ money.
The Hurriyat, the Abdullahas and the Muftis need to be reminded that Pakistan is not a Quaranic concept. Khorasan is, Gazwa-e-Hind is. So any person, who raises the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ can be anything but not a true Muslim.
There is a strange phenomenon in India, i.e. apart from the J&K Chief Ministers, former and serving, no other Chief Ministers of states, which have borders with other countries take a position on India’s foreign policy. To illustrate, five Indian states share land borders with Bangladesh; UP, Bihar, Uttrakhand and Sikkim have borders with Nepal; China has borders with Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh as well as J&K. The Chief Minister of J&K has never been found making such passionate pleas for talks with China, even though J&K and China share 1,570 kilometers border. This culture of loose tongue of J&K Chief Ministers with regard to Pakistan has been encouraged by various dispensations in Delhi.
At the present juncture, people residing in Laddakh and Jammu, which constitutes 90 percent of the area of J&K, do not support talks with Pakistan.
Curiously, the feverish appeal for talks with Pakistan was immediately after the attack in Sunjwan, that too by a former Chief Minister, who is responsible for settling Rohingya Muslims in the vicinity of Sunjwan Army base and also in the vicinity of HQs 16 Corps in Nagrota. There was a jihadi attack in Nagrota as well in November 2016 in which seven Indian soldiers including
two officers were martyred. A Rohingya LeT militant, Chota Burmi, was killed in South Kashmir by security forces in October 2015.
The creation of Rohingya settlements was ironically by the same leaders, who otherwise are abnormally sensitive about Article-370. This sensitivity of theirs, which facilitates proxy war by Pakistan raises serious questions.
An impression is sought to be created by the Valley based leadership that this stone-pelting in Shopian is linked to the attack on Army base in Sunjwan. The reality is that the stone-pelters are jihadi anti-nationals, but those residing in the areas around NH-1A are great patriots. Possibly it is for this reason that Muslim soldiers belonging to the Valley were specifically targeted. In the preceding months, there is pronounced phenomenon of Kashmiri Muslims in the security forces being targeted so as to compel Kashmiri Muslims from joining security forces. In this regard the images of Ayub Pandit and Umar Fayaz flash across our minds. Ayub was a police officer while Umar was a young Army Officer.
Under these circumstances, how appropriate is it to trot out statistics with regards to casualties in J&K. Between 2004 and 2010, the Indian hinterland suffered unremitting attacks by the Pakistan sponsored jihadis. Some of these places include Varanasi, Ayodhya, Lucknow, Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmadabad. After 2010, there was a precipitous drop in jihadi attacks in the hinterland. This was because the Indian security forces had dismantled the proxy war apparatus, wherein the Indian Mujahideen (IM) was the lynchpin. Towards this, the credit must go to the Intelligence Bureau and the Special Cell of Delhi Police.
The jihadi proxy war against India relies on facilitation and facilitators.
While in the hinterland, the facilitators have either been eliminated or deactivated, the same cannot be said about J&K. Facilitators in J&K exists at all levels, which includes the separatists and some politicians of main-stream political parties.
Recently the NIA revealed that there is a Kashmir Committee in Islamabad, which coordinates stone-pelting and jihadi attacks within the Indian territory. This Committee is also responsible for recruitment, logistics and training of jihadis. The Committee is headed by a Brigadier and has members from the ISI, Pakistan Army, United Jihad Council and separatists.
In fact, the Kashmir committee is a platform for integration of terror groups and separatist leaders. One Pravez Ahmad is the convener of this Committee and lies with the Pakistan government. Former jihadi militants from India and Pakistan are also linked to this Committee. Anybody therefore trying to justify stone-pelters is directly or indirectly linked to the Kashmir Committee.
The Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman in the wake of attack o Sunjwan Army base said that the arch of operations of Pakistan sponsored jihadis has increased. This increase it can be averred is on account of the increase in the number of facilitators. An Indian police officer had a very dubious role in the attack on Pathankot Air Base. The most dangerous facilitator in J&K are those, who speak English and are beneficiaries of Indian Constitution.
The clamour for talks with Pakistan by these leaders is also because of the fact that Pakistan is under intense pressure from China to enter into negotiations with India on J&K. Only recently, the Indian Ambassador to China, Mr Bambawale, in an interview to the Global Times said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is aligned through the Indian territory and is therefore illegal. CPEC is pivotal to the global Belt Road Initiative (BRI) by China. It is for this reason that the Chinese want a final territorial solution between India and Pakistan with regard to J&K. Pending a final resolution to the advantage of China, jihadi outfits like JeM are not only critical to Pakistan but China as well. Most attacks on strategic targets in Kashmir Valley as well as along the NH-1A have been carried out by the JeM. This explains the inimical position that China has been adopting with regard to JeM in the UN Security Council.
The attack in Sunjwan was also with the objective of derailing or vitiating the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s visit to West Asia including Palestine. Geopolitically, the stock of India in West Asia today is very high as compared to Pakistan. The disconnect between Pakistan and other Muslim countries is increasing, so much so that Pakistan which fancied itself as the leader of the Muslim World has to prefer Chinese territorial embrace for survival of the Pakistan military, which owns Pakistan.
By RSN Singh