This refers to the article by Brig Narendar Kumar. If insurgency is due to state failure, as averred by the author, it should have engulfed the entire J &K.In realty, it is confined to a few districts of the Valley. The main reason is that power has rested in the hands of a few families of Kashmir Valley. These people have political adjustments between themselves. Once power centres are shifted to Jammu and Ladakh region things will change.
—Col Yogendra Pal Singh
The article ‘Moving into Unchartered Territory,’ suggests total failure and even subversionof current political establishment which may be true. The suggested narrative even includes targeting political leadership. However, stability can never be achieved without a suitable political umbrella. Suggesting Governor’s rule at this stage, when political unrest (stone pelting) is on decline and terrorist/militant outfits on the brink, is preposterous. What is the way out then? Cultivating an alternate political leadership? However, it takes years to fructify. We already seem to be a decade too late on that. If we look at the current political atmosphere and alternatives in the Valley, it appears the military success, achieved with sacrificing lives and limbs of many of our brethren, will once again be lost.
The article ‘Moving into Unchartered Territory,’ is another reductionist attempt by our experts. Contrary to writer’s assumption, J&K has the lowest percentile of BPL to population. Farmers income is also best in country as epicentre valley have apple, saffron, almond and walnut as crop. The per acre income is mind blowing. This insurgency is fuelled with propaganda and we are allowing such propaganda unanswered. It is a very inaccurate assessment that militancy is down or they are under any pressure. Militancy and separatism is in its peak. Still, we have many areas where our forces don’t move enabling militants a free run and attend functions, give gun salutes to dead Militants etc. Ignoring uncomfortable truth will not give us any results. This article is simply ignoring the truth.
This refers to the article by Vivek Sinha, The Media Discourse on J&K. I was posted as an instructor in Senior Command Course and we were discussing efforts to win the hearts and mind of the local population. During the break a student told all of us who had gathered together that he would narrate the real stories and not what is in the text books. He said that in the year 2000 CE, the atmosphere was explosive. During one of the missions, a group of ladies came to our soldiers with Rakhi and said that they would tie them on their hands if they promised to look after them as their sisters. They said that their men had deserted them and fed them to the militants. They were ready to help, but were worried about their fate once the Army had left. “If you swear to look after us we will,” they said, “and take us with you?” It is a long story, but the very fact that such stories are coming out of the closet is a good sign.
—Brig Chander Thapa
Compliments to Vivek Sinha for enlightening the readers on the situation of the media in the Valley. A lot of blame for the turmoil in the Valley that led to militancy in Kashmir lies at the doorstep of the Congress party. Rajiv Gandhi unwisely meddled in the local elections which were rigged to favour a particular party and the local people felt cheated. The ensuing discontent was widespread and soon Pakistan and its ISI took advantage and fuelled the fire by admitting and training the disillusioned valley youth to create mayhem in Kashmir. The local media which had been subdued lost no opportunity in joining the melee and incited the Kashmiris against India and the security forces often carrying false reports of oppression, painting a scenario that made Kashmiris believe that independence/separation/union with Pakistan was an achievable goal. The shrill cries for azaadi from Benazir Bhutto echoed in the local Kashmiri media also leading to the march to UNMOGIP offices. In the meantime, prodded by ISI, pro-Pakistan elements conducted ethnic cleansing of the valley driving away Pundits from their homes of pre-Islamic era. Battle hardened foreign militants were pushed in by ISI and as the author brings out, they started lusting for young Kashmiri girls in the country side. Probably this is where the support to militancy turned from intense to mild. The Valley is limping back to normalcy thanks to mature handling of the situation by India and also right thinking local Kashmiri politicians. Security forces need to be complimented for their patience inspite of provocations as well as their resolve in eliminating the terrorists. The common Kashmiri who is so dependent on his livelihood on tourism is happy to be able to put food on the table for his family. Yet, things won’t be the same until Pundits are welcome back to their homes, their safety being guaranteed by their neighbours. It’s been an eventful three decades since the unrest began but at the end of it, India stands vindicated.