Another Round of State Terror and siege in Kashmir
Neither tyranny, nor terror is new in Indian occupied Kashmir. A baseline public insecurity has prevailed there in varying degrees since the Indian invasion in 1947. India ambushed the Kashmiri freedom struggle at a critical time when Kashmir was about to gain a democratic rule. The tyrant Dogra dynasty was being overthrown in a popular revolution. The last of these tyrants, Maharaja Hari Singh had taken to heels and fled from the summer capital of Srinagar to Jammu. He was hoodwinked by Nehru’s strongman, Sardar Patel and forced to sign the so-called Instrument of Accession. Kashmiris were shocked and incredulous by the unprovoked barbaric Indian invasion. The sense of insecurity was acute at the time of this initial assault by the Indian forces 61 years ago.
In 1953 India gave up any pretence of respect for a democratic process in Kashmir when Sheikh Abdullah asked his ‘good friend’, Jawaharlal Nehru to fulfill his promise to allow Kashmiris to determine their future through plebiscite. Instead of keeping his word, Nehru deposed and imprisoned Nehru’s Kashmiri friend and prime minister, Sheikh Abdullah as it embarked on the path of annexation of J&K by force in to India. Mass arrests with intimidation and torture were used to put down public resistance to the summary dismissal of Sheikh Government. Years of persecution of political activists and dissidents led to a state of constant harassment and fear in Kashmir.
Periodically Kashmiris rose up to demand freedom, but each time New Delhi used iron hand to suppress voices of dissent and freedom. Yet, seemingly ordinary events kept triggering public outrage, most often escalating in to large scale conflagrations between the trigger-happy Indian soldiers and the Kashmiri public. This cause and effect can only be explained by the fact that Kashmiris have never considered themselves as a part of Indian nation, or considered themselves in anyway to be kindred of India. New Delhi for its part has used every tool at its disposal to intimidate, bribe and divide the people over the last 61 years. It has been unable to buy any goodwill or public loyalty. What it has piled mountains of though, is disapproval, disgust and utter disregard for its boastful power.
Since 1990 the siege has been unrelenting. Indian security forces have become used to committing heinous crimes of the worst kind. Murder, arson, pillaging, looting, gang rape, disfigurement of the victims and widespread extortion of large sums of money have become a way of life for the rank and file as well as commissioned officers up to the highest levels of army and police. Kashmir has become a very attractive place for Indian military officials who covet deployment in Kashmir for the lucrative extortion and bribery money to be had there. That is one of the reasons why the army jumps at any chance to wrest control from the puppet civilian regimes and impose its own control on the valley at every possible pretext. It has literally gotten addicted to this big and easy money.
In addition, like the corrupt army, the intelligence agencies like IB and RAW, have developed a chronic and long lasting addiction to a huge allocations from New Delhi for their mischief and misguided intrigues in Kashmir. They have been successful in misleading New Delhi into digging its head in to the sand, in the misguided hope that one day they will wake up to see Kashmir embracing Indian rule. The officer class in the Indian military has become the most corrupt segment of the Indian administration. Nearly all of them have relished multiple rotational deployments in the Valley. Many of them have amassed considerable wealth from the loot in the Valley. The poor foot soldiers, however, have not been proportionate beneficiaries of the extortion dough. They do suffer the stress of being commanded to chase after and kill civilians whenever the pot needs to be stirred for the benefit of the officers. That may well explain the reason behind them shooting their corrupt officers sporadically. Those soldiers are not crazy. They are simply stressed and frustrated to be doing the dirty job for the corrupt officers who pocket lion’s share of the civilian booty.
This dual addiction for blood and money is, in large part, the cause of large scale murder and mayhem like we see today in the Valley of Kashmir. This has been happening right in front of the world, in broad day light, with impunity from any prosecution and punishment. It is shocking note that even prominent people of conscience in the free world, such as President Carter have not uttered a word of outrage or condemnation at these criminal acts of state terrorism. UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon has shown no inclination to take India to task for violations of the 4th Geneva Convention and the state of siege with unrelenting and life-crippling curfews imposed by the Indian army.