Kashmir :  Instant solution is not like Instant coffee.



My guts are torn from me, my family is carried off and removed from me. Unrest – the whole valley is crying since independence. After the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani Kasmir caught fire again. The dispute is India-Pakistan theory of boundaries . It was Mr Vajpayee’s visit to Islamabad in January 2004 for the Saarc summit conference that led to the second peace process. The impact was immediate and immense. The tour of the Indian cricket team to Pakistan after a long hiatus changed the atmosphere, opening up the borders for Indian spectators. The guns at the LoC went silent with a ceasefire agreement in place. The opening up of trade between the two Kashmirs and the inauguration of a bus service helped reunite divided families. Not to forget that it was the same Gen Musharraf who was the pioneer of the Kargil conflict that aborted the earlier peace initiative taken by Nawaz Sharif and Atal Behari Vajpayee.

It all started since 1947 , the partition of the Indian sub-continent along religious lines led to the formation of India and Pakistan. There are many princely states and they had the option of deciding which country to join, or of remaining independent. In practice, the restive population of each province proved decisive. Because of its location, Kashmir could choose to join either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, was Hindu while most of his subjects were Muslim. Unable to decide which nation Kashmir should join, Hari Singh chose to remain neutral. But his hopes of remaining independent were dashed in October 1947, as Pakistan sent in Muslim tribesmen who were knocking at the gates of the capital Srinagar.Hari Singh appealed to the Indian government for military assistance and fled to India. He signed the Instrument of Accession, ceding Kashmir to India on October 26.

Indian and Pakistani forces thus fought their first war over Kashmir in 1947-48. India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January. In a resolution dated August 13, 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to remove its troops, after which India was also to withdraw the bulk of its forces. Once this happened, a “free and fair” plebiscite was to be held to allow the Kashmiri people to decide their future. Two nations, many theories and hell lot of confusions.

India and Pakistan have battled over the territory of Kashmir for over sixty years. The two nuclear-armed states have not only fought three bloody wars in the region but have also been fighting shadow wars for quite some time. Of late, Kashmir has been one of the contemporary world’s most troubled and dangerous places, even a ‘nuclear flash point’ in what India calls ‘terrorist insurgency’ and Pakistan ‘a freedom movement’. It is a strange coincidence that Kashmir became the cause of Gandhi’s death. A crisis occurred when India hesitated to honour the financial clause of the Partition agreement, which included the payment of cash balances amounting to Rs. 550 million to Pakistan. Sardar Patel took a firm stand linking the payment of the sum to Pakistan with the withdrawal of troops from Kashmir. But, Gandhi was not convinced that a violent dispute entitled India to keep Pakistan’s money. Pakistani representatives accused India of strangulating their country. Gandhi announced an indefinite fast at this stage and word went round that it was directed against Patel’s decision to withhold the cash balances. Mountbatten and Nehru were, in fact, known to have told Gandhi that India was morally bound to transfer the balance to Pakistan and that the situation created by the unbending position adopted by Sardar could be saved only by Gandhi. Patel finally yielded and Gandhi broke his fast at the behest of the leaders of all communities. The young man, Godse, who shot him justified his act by saying that his main provocation was the Mahatma’s ‘constant and consistent pandering to the Muslims’, “culminating in his last pro-Muslim fast (which) at last goaded me to the conclusion that the existence of Gandhi should be brought to an end immediately”. A sentiment that has been repeated again and again is a lasting peace based on the reconciliation between the Muslims and non-Muslims for which Gandhi gave his life. But the sub-continent still awaits the peace that Gandhi wanted to secure by visiting Pakistan in February 1948, an exercise that was prevented by his assassination.

The neighbouring countries, determined to see turmoil continu­ing in the valley, are providing training and weapons to the militants even today. The people have also been so brain-washed that they talk of the excesses of the police and the paramilitary forces. For the militants, the criticism of the government by the people means that people are more than willing to support them. the Hindus have been forced by the militants to leave Kashmir. It is claimed in one report that nearly two lakh Hindus fled Jammu and Kashmir be­tween 1988 and 1991. The Hindus claimed that the fundamentalists and militants had infiltrated every sphere of the government in the Kashmir valley till the middle of 1996 and that what ruled the roost was not the writ of the government but that of the militants. They maintained that the pro-Pakistan forces had overtaken the valley and in a way, there was a collapse of the administration and the terrorists wanted them to quit the valley. The civilian Muslims now claim that they are innocent and are being unnecessarily harassed. The militants had resorted to extortion and kidnapping for monetary gains and political motives. Hizb-ul-Mujahedeen was claimed to have a cadre strength of 20,000 with at least 10,000 persons being trained in camps across the border and in the Valley. All militants at one time had developed a feeling that they had to unite against a common enemy—the Indian Armed Forces. It was reported in India Today , May 15 , 1994 , “Muslims from other countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Bangladesh, Lebnon, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey were engaged in terrorist activities in Kashmir. Pakistan’s aiding and abetting terrorism in Kashmir is said to be the deliberate policy of the government.

Terrorism usually propagates its objective through deeds. It is a form of communica­tion through directed violence by the few to the masses. Terrorism usually cannot be suc­cessful, unless people realize its effects. Hence, the targets of terrorist attacks are of utmost importance. There is an increasingly sophisticated and complex internal and external financial support structures for terrorist and insurgent organizations. This reflects the growing diffusion of objectives and the diversification of the actors.

What is terrorism? The second is moral: Can terrorism ever be morally justified? Terrorism is understood as a type of violence. Many definitions highlight the experience of terror or fear as the proximate aim of that violence. Neither violence nor terror is inflicted for its own sake, but rather for the sake of a further aim such as coercion, or some more specific political objective. But there are also definitions that sever the conceptual connection of terrorism with violence or with terror. Attempts of the United Nations to propose a definition of “terrorism” that could be accepted by all states and embedded in international law so far have been frustrated by the same sort of relativism. Islamic countries would accept no definition that allowed national liberation movements in the Middle East and Kashmir to be portrayed as terrorist, whereas Western countries would accept no definition that allowed for state agencies to be guilty of terrorism. Terrorism is usually understood as a type of violence. This violence is not blind or sadistic, but rather aims at intimidation and at some further political, social, or religious goal or, more broadly, at coercion.

Terrorism can’t be judged solely by its consequences; first and foremost, it is a great wrong intrinsically, because of what it is: a violation of basic rights and a gross injustice. It can’t be right that life and limb of innocent civilians is fair game whenever it is advantageous that it should be so. Finally, terrorism is not normatively wrong in itself. It is a tactic, which states with a reification agenda – to preserve their monopoly on the legitimate use of political violence – will certainly define as criminal. But moral judgment of a terrorist act goes beyond just the event. It is a simply a repugnant tactic. Morality can be defined with both the objectivity of law and the subjectivity of beliefs, which values the individual equally – victim, soldier or terrorist. Some of the pressure and lobby groups, so necessary to the moral debate and most concerned with monitoring what happens, are religiously motivated, and rightly so, what I observe. Terrorism is “politically or ideologically motivated violence that is directed against civilians or non-combatants” is indeed in need of revision. Instant solution is not like coffee.

( Author is a Lawyer and Writer )




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