A Testimony; Freedom Movement Is Indigenous

Kashmir is worse than Gaza – A nuclear flashpoint

Brigadier Asif Haroon Raja

Kashmiri women protesting

During the military standoff after 26/11 Mumbai incident, former Indian Army Chief Gen Dalip Kapoor had kept the temperature high through his bellicose statements. Throughout his tenure he suffered from Pakistan phobia and remained fearful of terrorism emanating from Pakistan. In order to make Pakistan scared of India, in November last he roared that there was distinct possibility of limited war against Pakistan under a nuclear overhang. He then went a step further by stating that India had developed the capability to wage war against China and Pakistan at a time and in his view Pakistan was a run through since its military power could be dismantled within 96 hours. He said that five-year old Cold Start war doctrine had been updated and forces were practicing it for the last one year.

Don Quixotic, a fabled character, must have squirmed in his grave out of envy that someone in India had gone ahead of him in daydreaming. A trend has set in among Indian politicians to join Bollywood. I reckon, Kapoor either wanted to earn an extension in service through his silly outbursts or was practicing for fanciful war movies as a post retirement job not realizing that he was severely handicapped because of being hard of hearing.

The new Indian Army chief Gen VK Singh is no less muddle headed than his predecessor. He has continued with old policy of Pakistan bashing and taking cover behind lies and deception to hide India’s terrorism against Pakistan. Singh complained on 30 June that terror infrastructure in Pakistan remain intact; militancy in occupied Kashmir is supported by Pak Army; there are 34 active and 8 holding terror training camps; there are 500-600 terrorists still active in J&K, 50% home-based and the rest foreigners; Hizbul Mujahideen is being revived; infiltration attempts continue; Pak Army is indulging in ceasefire violations.

I am sure he must not be ignorant about India’s vilest role in former East Pakistan and about hundreds of training centres and camps run by RAW in Afghanistan since 2004 where Indian Army instructors and commandoes are employed to impart training to Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Afghans, Arabs and dissidents from Balochistan and FATA. Weapons and explosives in huge quantity tucked under road construction material for BRO project had been regularly pumped in from India for onward dispatch to rebels in Pakistan. Services of Indian Muslims and religious scholars were hired to run Madrassas and brainwash the Muslim terrorists. RAW has now planted seeds of separatism in Balochistan and has also entrenched itself in urban and rural Sindh where it funds certain nationalist and ethnic parties. Biggest ever covert operations against Pakistan from Afghan soil have not ceased.

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Gen Singh’s outbursts were in the wake of explosive situation in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK) because of teenagers led protest marches and stone pelting. Despite adoption of draconian measures against unarmed boys in teens and young men, the situation is getting from bad to worse. Having effectively sealed the Line of Control (LoC) with the help of series of fortified posts, heavy fencing, mining and installation of Israeli supplied electronic gadgets, duly backed up by troops deployed in layers in depth; it is not possible even for a sparrow to go across unnoticed. Indian military could fence the LoC because of deceptive peace treaty and not otherwise.

Gen Kapoor and other senior Indian Army officers had on several occasions admitted in 2005-07 that infiltration had almost ceased. Therefore instead of acknowledging that recent flare up in IHK is indigenous as has been the case with armed freedom struggle, India is again blaming Pakistan unconvincingly. Regarding allegation of ceasefire violations, all provocative acts were initiated by Indian Army deliberately to heat up the LoC so as to show to the world that Pakistan was resorting to high-handed tactics despite its so-called peace overtures. Indian soldiers sitting in hardened bunkers along the LoC are otherwise nervy. They are in the habit of pooping off ammunition at night out of fear or to scare away illusionary infiltrators.

In the wake of fresh bout of protests in IHK, Gen VK Singh on 11 July stated that militarily Indian Army has firmly controlled the internal situation in Kashmir and that there was now a need for political set up to build on military gains through political handling. In his view failure to build on gains made by Army was the main reason that insurgency could not be decisively crushed. It amounted to confessing Indian Army’s failures in IHK. His claim that Indian Army had brought the situation under control was not based on facts. Till 2004, armed resistance in IHK was in full swing. Gen Musharraf helped India in breaking the momentum of movement by banning all Jihadi outfits engaged in supporting Kashmir Jihad, allowing India to effectively seal LoC, dividing the APHC and isolating hardliner Syed Geelani and taking stringent measures to curb infiltration. Singh should understand that but for these measures Indian Army could not have controlled the situation in IHK through use of force.

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Having digested the success story of Pak Army in Swat and South Waziristan with a pinch of salt, Gen Singh put up a false front by asserting that Indian Army is no less dynamic and has performed equally well in Kashmir. Situation on ground is contrary to his claims. There cannot be a bigger insult for a professional Army to fight guerilla war against 600 freedom fighters devoid of any external support and sanctuaries. Despite employing more than 700,000 troops since 1989 and adopting extreme brutal measures, the labyrinth Indian war machine has miserably failed to extinguish the smoldering flame of liberty, assiduously kept aflame by the people of Kashmir.  Application of draconian laws and all sorts of savage measures have utterly failed to break the will and resolve of Kashmiris. The two-decade old freedom struggle in Kashmir has not withered even after martyrdom of more than 100,000 Kashmiris, thousands maimed for life and thousands of women dishonored at the hands of Indian troops.

The puppet regime of Omar Abdullah and Indian military in Kashmir are helpless. Abdullah has become a nervous wreck after a shoe was thrown at him on 15 August. He has asked for additional troops not realizing that IHK is the most militarized region in the world where troop density is unprecedented. Indian military is so over cautious that it has not pulled out even one regiment from the valley. An odd clash with Mujahideen panics them; not knowing how to deal with this kind of situation they cool their nerves by blaming Pakistan. To cover up its failure and its brutalities, India accuses Pakistan of abetting insurgency in Kashmir. In doing so, it conveniently overlooks its own track record.

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Pakistan only provides political, diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris. The entire burden of freedom movement is being sustained and borne by the Kashmiri Mujahideen and they have stood the test of time. Excessive brutalities by Indian security forces have not lessened the resolve of the freedom fighters bent upon breaking the shackles of bondage. The Mujahideen do not fear death and enter the Death Valley with the sole aim of embracing martyrdom; a phenomenon that has boggled the Indians.

Unarmed youngsters have now taken over the baton. With stones in their small fists they face loaded guns and hurl stones when fired upon. Every voice raised, every stone pelted is responded with shower of bullets. Trigger-happy soldiers and Police do not fire their weapons to scare the protestors by firing in air or injuring them but they fire to kill irrespective of age of the protestor. 63 innocent Kashmiris have been killed since 11 June. Protestors are defying curfews and braving bullets. Non-violent Kashmiri intifada has laid to rest Indian false claims that freedom movement in Kashmir is not indigenous and that insurgency has been quelled.

International community must not get carried away by Indian hypocrisy, situation in Kashmir is worse than Gaza. Israel is a worst example of tyranny but India beats her hollow.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence and political analyst