Kashmir Rights Forum

Month: January 2022

National Conference (NC) is one of the oldest regional parties in India formed in 1939. It evolved by challenging the feudal and autocratic rule and only this gained the party the widespread name. It gained dominance in 1975 and enjoyed pre-eminence for almost a century, it also faced a serious crisis of credibility in 1987 and went into hibernation in years of armed insurgency in 90’s and then returned back in 1996.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was another political party, established in 1999, provided an alternative to hegemony of NC Party. Initially, it won only a single seat but later it formed an alliance (United Progressive Alliance) in 2009.

Both the political parties ruled Kashmir for long enough, promised people to provide a government that could satisfy the demands of commoners and resolve the issues like insurgency and other internal conflicts within the state. The government shifted hands from PDP to NC and vice versa but the core issues were resolved. The castle of fake promises crashed and some regional parties jutted their necks out from August 2019 onwards, when the ocean of fake promises was holed from below by the BJP led central government.

The day dreams that NC and PDP kept hallucinating in minds of the people, manipulating them for their political gains, went in abeyance. Hence both parties seem to be in deep puzzle to drain out the issues within their arrogance filled behaviors that damaged the economy of the state from last two decades. Both these parties had never dreamt of such a situation and had planned of ruling the state for future generations.

NC supported all forms of corruption, political high-handedness, bureaucratic sinecurism and gave priority to their own people. For example, the majority of the job holders in Jammu and Kashmir were siblings of the political workers, even though they didn’t have required qualification for the jobs, which left the state economy in shambles.

In education department, the teacher to student ratio was way higher than the acceptable standards, thus the teachers were hired but there were less students and they continued to draw salary.

Under qualified employees, who were hired for the government job, still can’t write their names well, rendering fruitful service to the nation is a long shot.This is the kind of favour, NC government has given to Kashmiris.

On the other hand Sayeed Dynasty never saw the sun setting from their yards. All high order posts were taken by Sayeed’s for they sought themselves to be supreme than the rest of other Kashmiris.

Influential government posts were held by their relatives which in turn assisted them to nullify legal disputes arising out of their wrong doings. Since 2019, there are lot of transitions in government but opportunities were never shared equally amongst the people. So the rich became richer and poor became poorer. This marked the death of talent in garbage of the political orientation. The aims and objectives of the parties could have been faithful for quite some time while campaigning but once they were enthroned, only almighty knew conditions of masses.

The situation could have evolved if there was a huge contest or multi-party competition i.e. alternative leadership, whether independent or local parties, but such rising leaders were seen as a threat to existing nexus of political leaders, terrorists and separatists and hence were assassinated by unknown gunmen. The killing of the alternate leadership is a talk of immediate concern, which is one healthy step towards resolving the miseries of the people. It is time for hereditary succession to end so that a new beginning of the dynamic leaders, who can toughen the nerves of the society well and pulsate it thoroughly till the frustration comes to an end.

Slowly and steadily if the new political parties sweep the residue of those big fishes, it might then be a new political revolution in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. Assimilation of youth in political activities would tear the tensions that grew in minds of the jobless youth, also their energies will put a fuel inside the political grounds of valley, and shall squeeze the throats of militant outfits, responding them by putting the full stops over their apertures.

Pandits are a part and parcel of the Kashmiri society. An inclusive portion of the Kashmiriyat without which Kashmir deems incomplete. The word Pandit literally means ‘learned man’ which is also exchanged with ‘Bhatta’ meaning a great scholar. From the context, one can lay emphasis on why Pandits were so important for the Kashmir way back and now as well. They have been the only source of the education to the valley, a Pandit was outspoken with many regional languages and had deep insights for the science, mathematics and the social discourses. Their extermination from the valley left a dip on the rate of literacy and the evolution in the traditional society.

Pandits lived in Kashmir since ages, hand in hand with the muslims as immediate neighbours, helpful sources and much more. However, the growth of radicalism in the 90’s backed by the forces denied the rights to them. The justice is still awaited, leaders from valley never rose voice to bring them back. The ruins of their shelters haunt a person like the way they remain. How can one see a home being devastated like that! One wonders, for what reason a noble section of society was massacred, whose genocide would never fade from the chapters of the Kashmiri history.

Several governments promised with pandits for their return but the issue was almost every time used as a political tool to gain the votes. Once the votes were gained, nothing could be seen on ground as a betterment option for the depressed class. Living in refugee camps, sober pandits have been subjected to the diverse type of atrocities. Once a part of Kashmiri society lie below sky on mercy of the God.

It is a moral duty of the Kashmiris to bring back the Pandits to their respective places, and then to provide them a safe place. They should gather the same place in the society that they were used to. An all inclusive Kashmir is best than a Kashmir with extremist tendency which lowered the tourist flow even. The return back of Pandits would mean a plus in the plural ethos which is a hallmark of the normalcy and the tolerant society.

A day before the republic day, terrorists plan to sabotage the celebrations. In the evening of Jan 25 terrorists hurled a grenade amidst the masses in Hari Singh High Street, Srinagar. The incident resulted in injury of 03 civilians, who were busy in their day to day shopping. The wounded were immediately shifted to hospital for treatment, however adding to these, the windowpanes of a shop, located near the incident site also got a damage. Notably, the eve of republic day is special for the peace-loving people of the country, and terrorists who play with human rights and are manipulated by the Pak agencies from time to time. The attack left people wounded and the damage carried out is a denial of basic human rights guaranteed to every citizen of the country. The terrorists must be dealt with the harsh laws that have turned the life of commoners miserable. KRF highly condemns the damage caused by the attack and prays for the speedy recovery of the injured innocent Kashmiris.

Social  media  is  also  playing  a  dominant  role  in  radicalising  the  youth.  Once  a  CASO begins,  messages  on  Whats App  groups  mobilise  people  for  stone  pelting.  Instagram  posts  of terrorists,  fiery  speeches  of  terrorists  like  Masood  Azhar,  Arabic  Taranas  are  widely circulated  as  well.  The  Youth  Forum  for  Kashmir  set  up  in  Islamabad  in  2012  by  Ahmad Qureshi  with  the  backing  of  the  Pakistan  Army  has  also  played  an  influential  role  in fomenting  youth unrest in Kashmir. They targeted universities and colleges.

Alarming rise in local recruitment in terrorist groups: Report - Rediff.com  India NewsFurther,  the  coverage  of  Kashmir  events  in  mainstream  Indian  media  is  acting  as  a major  spoiler. Kashmiri youth maintain that mainstream Indian media portrays all Kashmiris as terrorists and Kashmiri politicians as being ‘Pakistani’. The  influential  round the clock news  channels  indulge  in  bitter  debates  on  communal  matters,  getting  fanatic  religious leaders  on  their  shows  that  contribute  to  a  highly  polarised  environment.  Usually, such provocative journalism is taken very seriously in Kashmir.  People  even  in  the  remote villages  of  Kashmir  are   well  acquainted  with  names  like  Arnab  Goswami,  Major  Gaurav Arya,  and  Subramaniam  Swami.  Some  Kashmiri  politicians  and  youth  leaders  go  to  the extent of  attributing radicalization in Kashmir  as a  reaction to  Hindu extremism! They  added that  Hindu Muslim  dynamics  in  India  has  an  enormous  impact  on  the  Kashmiri  mindset. Therefore,  unfortunate  incidents  of  beef lynching  and  communal  riots  create  a  feeling  of insecurity  among  Kashmiris.

 To  an  extent,  this  may  be  real,  but  religious  radicalisation  has  its  internal  dynamics and  it  has  been  going  on  independent  of  happenings  in  the  overall  sociopolitical  scenario  of India.  Furthermore,  there  is  reluctance  on  the  part  of  Kashmiris  to  accept  that  radicalisation might  erode  the Tahreek ’ s international  credibility  by  exposing  strong  Islamist undercurrents  and  diluting  its  supposedly  secular  and  political  nature.    However,  even  the outer  trappings of  the  movement are  now  a  far  cry  from its much touted secular  credentials.

Despite this one cannot deny that national media or vernacular media in particular as is projecting a highly biased and negative image of the Kashmiri people for small TRP interests.  This is detrimental to India’s long-term interests in Kashmir and therefore needs strong reversal through greater media self-regulation. Hence creating problems which add to the radicalization process, however govt institutions need to keep a firm vigil on the activities of the media.

On 19th of January, 1990 when the days were cold and nights bitter, though there was no snow on the ground to chill the people. Around 9 PM, loud and thunderous Islamic and pro-Pakistan slogans rose collectively by a multitude of humanity and relayed through powerful loudspeakers almost pierced ear drums. These slogans were not new to Pandits in the Valley of Kashmir as they were familiar to such out bursts; however the very odd hour, the tumultuous bang and the intriguing spontaneity besides the pressing loudspeakers into service, all spoke threateningly that a storm was brewing in the Kashmir Valley. Suddenly, telephone bells began ringing loudly in the houses of most of the Pandits in Srinagar. Mobile phones had not been introduced then. Each caller on the other end of the line asked his relative, friend or acquaintance whether they were safe. This question carried more meaning underneath its simple words. The callers told their respondents to come out of their houses in that dark and dreary night and see for themselves what a strange scenario was unfolding on the streets and squares of the city of Srinagar. Scenes on the streets, squares and open spaces in the city were to be seen to be believed. Masses of Muslim population, young, old, children, and women came out of their homes, crowded the streets, gesticulating vigorously and yelling slogans in favor of Islam, Pakistan and the insurgency. Crowds of people carried rugs, carpets, mats and furnishing and spread it out on the streets and squares. They brought wood and lit bonfires to keep their bodies warm. People sat, squatted, danced, shook fists made violent gestures as loud speakers were fixed and microphones blurred a mix of Quranic verses, revolutionary songs, anti-India vitriolic and the supremacy of Islamic faith, all by turn making rounds from one to another speaker, each speaker more rabid fire brand than his predecessor. Islamic slogans, profuse admiration for Pakistan, stories of the heroes of early Islamic conquests, the paradise created by Allah for the Momin (pious) and hell fire for the Kufaar (unbelievers) etc. were the major themes of their outpouring. Speakers praised Islam as the best religion God had sent through the Prophet. The crux of these surcharged utterances was that all symptoms of Kufr (heresy), Butparast (idolatry) and dualism as with the Hindus had to be cleaned from Daru’l salam (the place of peace). Spirited stories of the heroes of early Islam like Omar and great commanders like Sa’d bin Waqqas and Tariq and others were recounted conveying that Islam had not lost the strength of destroying non-believers. This rant continued till wee hours. The message went to the Pandits that they were in the line of fire. Like frightened pigeons, the Pandits huddled up in their nests and kept vigil all night. Not a single soul came out of his house to go to the temple for prayers or to Hari Parbat heights to pay usual obeisance to the deity. The night-long tirade against non-Muslims on the one hand and lionizing of Islamic war lords on the other snatched whatever remnant of peace of mind they were left with. The question that caused them grave distress was how they could live in the Valley of Kashmir without the goodwill of the majority community with which they have had centuries of good and brotherly relations.

 To Kashmiri Pandits his Muslim neighbor was neither an enemy nor a rival just because of their very insignificant rather negligible numbers. For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir this open and unabashed tirade was let loose against them on such a massive scale. The administration collapsed and law and order were thrown to winds. The police deserted their posts and the Pandits were left to themselves with their survival hanging in balance. The Pandits found that overnight their neighbors had changed color. Their idiom changed as if they had thrown off the mask they wore for such a long time. Pandit and Muslim neighbors known to one another for generations began to behave as strangers. Suspicions loomed large and in a few days the entire atmosphere changed and the Pandit came to be called ‘the other’. The government was knocked out by a single night of defiance and revolt and the next morning not a single policeman was visible anywhere in the city. They had withdrawn to their barracks or hid in their homes as the administrative machinery had collapsed and law and order crumbled. From the next morning viz. 20th of January, 1990 it was the rule of the mosque, the priest and the Islamists. Loud speakers fixed to mosque tops, blurred uninterruptedly cautioning the Pandits to leave the Valley. The refrain of their slogans was that they wanted their Kashmir without Pandit males but with their women folk. Traditional Kashmir Muslim society has always been respectful of Kashmiri Pandit womenfolk and this shameful and shocking slogan showed that only a fringe section of Kashmir Muslim society indoctrinated in hate mania was out to disrupt communal harmony. However, the hate campaign, carried forward through barbaric and inhuman means of violence, struck fear among the entire Kashmiri population to the extent that nobody was prepared to show even the slightest goodwill to the Pandits. Al Safa, a popular Urdu daily of Srinagar minced no words in telling the Pandits to leave the Valley within hours if they wanted to save their lives and honor. Loud speakers fixed on mosque tops blurred a profusion of warnings of similar type. More and more anti-India demonstrations were to be seen on the streets in which demonstrators were mad with anger, hate and revenge. Fear stricken Pandits did not find any source that could assure them at least the safety of life. In its evening news bulletin, Radio Kashmir took the name of the Kashmiri Pandits gunned down by terrorists. The gruesome stories of murder of hapless Pandits unnerved the community members. There was no sense of approaching majority community for protection and help because the neighbors, too, were in the grip of fear heightened by the collapse of law and order.     

The dynamics of secret and selective militancy so rigidly drilled into the heads of the actors, had reached a level that the son who returned after training never disclosed to his parents and family members where he had been and on what mission. Indoctrination was of the level that even parents began to fear their sons. This is best explained in the television interview which Bitta Karate gave to the security officials after he was arrested and interrogated by security agencies. Bitta Karate was one of the top JKLF gun wielders who had crossed over to Pakistan Administered Jammu and Kashmir in 1989, and received training and indoctrination in the camps there. In the interview, the journalist asks him on whose behest did he carry out the killing of the Pandits. He replied that he obeyed the orders of his senior Ashfaq Wani and Amanullah Khan. When asked if his senior told him to kill his parents would he do that as well, he emphatically said, “Yes”. This speaks of the type of barbarianism that was sucking the Valley into its vortex. Asked how many Kashmiri Pandits he had gunned down, Bitta replied, “I lost the count after killing 22 of them”. When asked who was the first victim of his bullets he took the name of one Satish Kumar Tiku, who was a friend (and perhaps also a class fellow) of Bitta Karate, and occasionally visited him in his Srinagar home. Bitta Karate had returned after undergoing training in terrorist camps and Satish, not knowing where his friend Bitta had disappeared for a while, went to see him in his home. He found Bitta cleaning a gun (AK 47). Surprised on seeing the weapon Satish asked him what it was. Bitta avoided the question and said that it was a toy he played with. Naïve as Satish was, he took it lightly and soon forgot the incident and left his friend. But Bitta was greatly disturbed and went to see the ‘commander’, related to him the story and asked for directions. The commander told him to finish Satish lest he discloses it to police. Bitta went to Satish’s house and called him to come out of his home. No sooner did Satish step out on the street, Bitta, in a flash of a moment, aimed his China made pistol at him and fired shots that pierced through Satish’s heart. He fell down dead in a pool of blood. Brandishing his pistol in the air in broad day light, Bitta scared the pedestrians and walked away in complete confidence. Today the killer of 22+ Pandits is roaming a freeman in Srinagar city. Yasin Malik, a terror comrade of Bitta was arrested in connection with the gunning down of six uniformed Indian Air Force personnel at Barzulla, Srinagar waiting at a bus stand. Yasin Malik riding the pillion of his friend’s bike opened fire at the standing airmen with an automatic weapon, killing all of them and the bike riders sped away.

Yasin Malik, later on became the chief of JKLF in Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir after the party split. Ms. Girija Tickoo, a Kashmiri Pandit teacher in a government school in Kupwara district was coming out of the school building after collecting her salary when she was accosted by gunmen who kidnapped her to some unknown place where she was gang raped. The assailants, fearing she might disclose their identity, forcibly put her under a machine saw and cut her body into pieces. Avtar Krishan Koul, Deputy Director Food Supplies was gunned down by masked terrorists in his office. He had enquired into the disappearance of some truckloads of food grain supplies reportedly taken away by JKLF activists at gun point. Lassa Kaul, Director Doordarshan (Television) Srinagar was gunned down outside his house in Bhan Mohalla. He was accused of relaying anti-militancy news.

Pandit Premnath Bhat of Anantnag was a lawyer by profession and a very popular social figure much liked by people of all communities. Masked Jihadis barged into his house, dragged him out and emptied on him their magazines of their guns. Professor Nilakanth Raina (Lala) of Jammu and Kashmir Government Higher Education Department, an eminent historian and researcher was called by masked and armed gunmen at about dusk at his home in Fateh Kadal locality in Srinagar and gunned down at point blank range. Professor Nilakanth was conducting researches into the Buddhist antiquity of Jam’a Masjid mosque in Nowhatta, Srinagar. In November 1989, Sheela Tikoo was gunned down near Habba Kadal. On 4th of March, 1990, Mrs. M.N Paul, the wife of an Inspector of BSF was kidnapped, raped and then murdered because she happened to be the wife of a government official. Also in March 1990, B.K. Ganjoo, an engineer in Telecommunication Department was brutally gunned down while he tried to hide himself in an empty drum used for storing rice. The assailants climbed the third floor of his house to catch hold of him. His wife begged the murderers to kill her too but only to receive the sadist remark, “there should be someone left to cry over his dead body”. In April 1990, a nurse named Sarla Bhat was kidnapped and continuously raped for several days before her dead body was thrown on the roadside. In May 1990, Mrs. Prana Ganjoo and her husband Prof. K.L. Ganjoo were kidnapped in Sopore where the woman was raped and then both of them were murdered. In June 1990, Mrs. J.L. Ganjoo, her husband and her sister-in-law (husband’s sister) were killed in their home in Ban Mohalla, Srinagar. In July 1990, a working woman, namely Teja Dhar was shot dead on the roadside in Ali Kadal, Srinagar. In July 1990, a Pandit lady named Nanaji was gunned down on the roadside in Batamaloo, Srinagar. In July 1990, Dr. Shani was locked up in her house in Karan Nagar and then the house was set on fire. Flames consumed her alive. In August 1990, Babli Raina was raped in front of her family members in her house and then shot dead. One particular case which literally butchered the tradition of tolerance and communal harmony as well as the tradition of humanism in the Valley of Kashmir happened on 30th of April 1990, when four armed persons forced entry into the house of Sarwanand Koul Premi in Anantnag district. They dragged him out of his house along with Virender Koul, his 27-year old son for ‘enquiry’ and in the nearby jungle, the father and son both were gunned down. Sarwanand Koul, a poet and scholar, was 64 years of age and had translated the Bhagwat Gita into Kashmiri. A copy of the Quran was preserved in his house which he used to read occasionally.

As disorder and lawlessness gripped the Valley, the Pandits shivered with fear. This was the atmosphere of fear and lawlessness in which the Pandits became homeless. In these circumstances it was but natural that the entire Pandit community stood fear-stricken and then followed the impulse of running away from this cauldron. The entire community had lost the confidence in the majority community. Members of a high ranking delegation of parliamentarians visiting Srinagar to assess the ground situation quarreled among themselves on seating arrangements in the meeting room. They showed scant understanding and interest in the critical situation in the Valley and the sword of death dangling on the head of the vulnerable minority.

The Pandits found that the Indian government, too, had written them off. Threatened and defenseless Pandits had no option but to leave their millennia old homeland, homes, hearths, properties, jobs, business, farms, orchards, temples, shrines, cremation grounds, Gods, deities, and the ashes of their forefathers. They engaged whatever means of transportation they could manage, took a bagful of clothing and headed out of the Valley to unknown and un-seen destinations. They left in trickles for fear of being captured en route and butchered in cold blood.

The process continued for the first two-three months of 1990. Despite the fact that thousands of soldiers were garrisoned in Badami Bagh Cantonment, Srinagar, not one soldier escorted the fleeing fugitives. In spite of the silence of the Kashmiri Muslims on the atrocities committed against the Kashmiri Pandits, the general masses of Kashmiri Muslims did not obstruct the exit of the Kashmiri Pandits and facilitated their safe journey out of the Kashmir Valley. The Pandits of Kashmir, who had braved numerous spells of forced conversions and destruction of their civilization symbols during six centuries in the past, were extirpated from their five thousand year-old homeland at a time when India was governed by a Democratic and Secular dispensation. Seeing the current rise in Islamic fundamentalism and radicalization of the youth of the Valley of Kashmir, it can be concluded that the Kashmir Valley’s ethnic cleansing is complete and everlasting. They have been banished from their birth place not for decades or centuries or millennia, but for all times to come.

The gathering of the storm September 14, 1989 was a sunny day when Pandit Tika Lal Taploo, President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kashmir Chapter and a lawyer by profession, came out of his home in Bhan Mohalla locality of Srinagar and headed to the High Court where he practised law. As he stepped out, he saw a small girl crying. On recognizing that the child was of his Muslim neighbour, he lifted her in his arms, turned round and went straight to his neighbour to ask why the child was crying. The mother of the child said that her daughter needed some items of writing material but she had no money to buy these. Tika Lal took out a five rupee note from his pocket and handed it over to the woman. To the child he said, “My child, school is the place for you”.

Tika Lal left them and turned to go to his work place. He had hardly walked 70 steps when three persons with faces wrapped in dark cloth appeared at the blind turn of the lane. Two of them kept standing while the third moved a few steps forward and came in line with Tika Lal. He took out a weapon, aimed at Tika Lal and said, “You are the BJP leader! Come then”. He pulled the trigger and bullets pierced the chest of Tika Lal, who fell down dead in a pool of blood. The Bar fraternity, mostly Muslims, organized a condolence meeting in the premises of the High Court and at Tika Lal’s residence, the one who cried and sobbed the loudest among a large number of mourners, was the mother of the child, Tika Lal had lifted in his arms just moments ago.

Barely three weeks after this murder in Srinagar, unknown gunmen shot and killed another Kashmiri Pandit (Kashmiri Hindu), retired Judge Nilakanth Ganjoo in broad day light in Maharaj Bazaar, Amira Kadal. He had flown in from New Delhi and was headed homewards. Obviously, someone was keeping track of him while in close contact with the gunmen. Justice Ganjoo, Sessions Judge in Srinagar had given a death sentence to Maqbool Bhat, the leader of Jammu & Kashmir National Liberation Front, whom he had found involved in the murder of Amar Chand, a CID Police Sub-Inspector of Jammu and Kashmir Police, resident of Nadihal village of Baramulla district. These two killings of Tika Lal and Nilakanth Ganjoo sent a shock wave down the spine of the Pandit minority community of the Kashmir Valley.

 Gunning down of two outstanding members of their community in the autumn of 1989 within a span of only three weeks was ominous for the Pandits. It made them skeptic towards the law and order situation in the State and they started to feel deeply concerned about security of life. What baffled them more was that two Muslim witnesses on whose deposition Judge Ganjoo had based the judgement roamed as freemen. That evening, Radio Kashmir announced the incident in just one sentence; “Unknown assailants gunned down a former Sessions Judge in Maharaj Bazaar, Srinagar”. Fear-stricken Pandits, with anguish written large on their face, huddled up in their homes to think over the seriousness of the threats to which they were exposed. Was death looming large over their heads? Their apprehensions were not unfounded.

This way a beautiful minority, an inclusive section of the Kashmiri society was attacked, and the only source of education was ruined. Hence, the gap we see today being filled had remained due to the crude past. Once again, as minorities are under threat, our duty is to protect them, respect them as they deserve to be. We have to continue the spirit of Kashmiriyat and turn again a peaceful state, where everyone- tourists, locals find solace with scenery and the people around.

In the early 1990s, when local recruits were not hard to motivate, the ISI relied on Pakistan trained terrorists for organizing ambushes of security forces convoys and patrols (using AK-47s and machine guns). For low-risk tasks such as the planting of anti-personnel land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and to act as couriers of arms, ammunition and messages, locally trained terrorists were generally employed. The ISI had declared 1994 as the year of ‘barood’ (explosives). Though a fairly large measure of autonomy was given to the area and district commanders of terrorist outfits such as Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and Harkat ul Ansar to conduct operations, overall control was retained by the ISI as it held the purse strings and was the single largest source of supplies of arms and ammunition. Orders to the various outfits used to be relayed over a clandestine radio station located in POK. However, the Kalashnikov culture that swept Kashmir Valley soon extracted a predictable toll. The power of the gun gradually corrupted the terrorists and they soon began to indulge in extortion, loot, rape and murder for petty jealousies.

The criminal activities of the terrorists soon alienated the Kashmiris. “Even political leaders aligned with terrorist groups have acknowledged that the abuses undermined the terrorists’ support in Kashmir.” At the same time, counter-insurgency operations by the security forces also gained momentum and a large number of terrorists were killed in action or apprehended. Kashmiri families soon became wary of sending their sons for what they realized was a futile JIHAD. The result was that, beginning around 1994-95, the ISI’s recruitment base in Kashmir Valley gradually dried up, though recruitment by force continued for some more time. The ISI then placed its reliance for further operations in Kashmir predominantly on foreign mercenaries. The ISI’s USP (unique selling point) was that Islam was in danger in India, in general, and in Kashmir, in particular. Mercenaries from POK, Pakistan, Afghanistan, several Gulf and West Asian countries including Saudi Arabia and Iraq and many African countries including Egypt, Libya and Algeria, were hired, trained and inducted into the Kashmir Valley. In addition, criminals undergoing long imprisonment sentences in Pakistani jails were also enticed into participating in the so-called Jihad. They were told that their sentences would be reprieved if they successfully completed a tenure of ISI ordained duty in J&K. Gradually, the presence of foreign mercenaries among the terrorists went up from 15 per cent in 1994 to 40 per cent in end-1998.

The modus operandi was to give the mercenaries some rudimentary military training and knowledge about using explosives, arm them with an AK-47 with four magazines of ammunition and give them a few thousand Rupees in Indian currency. At an opportune moment, they were infiltrated through the porous LoC with the support of the Pakistani Army. The PAK Army provided a safe passage through its own defences, guidance by hired Gujjars and Bakkarwals and covering fire from small arms, machine guns and even artillery, to draw away the attention of Indian troops on the LoC. The command and control set up was loose and flexible. The mercenaries were usually assigned to operate in specified areas and co-ordinated their operations with each other and the remnants of Kashmiri terrorists. Though the local population tolerated them as ‘guest terrorists’ the mercenaries did not get the promised support from the Kashmiri people, contrary to what they had been briefed by their masters in Pakistan. Food and shelter were hard to come by and the constant fight from the security forces was tiresome and most inconvenient. Also, they found that the security forces, particularly the Indian Army, were a tough force to reckon with and discovered that a terrorist’s life span in Kashmir was a maximum of four to six months before he was hounded out and killed or apprehended.

All this disillusioned the mercenaries very quickly. The story of extortion, loot, rape and murder was soon played out. While the people of Kashmir had initially actively participated in a struggle for azadi (independence) and had even encouraged their sons to join the movement, they were not willing to put up with the errant and domineering ways of the foreign mercenaries with whom they did not identify in any manner whatsoever. They soon began to give real-time intelligence—euphemistically called ‘actionable’ intelligence—about the whereabouts of the mercenaries to the security forces. From then onwards, the days of the foreign mercenary in Kashmir Valley were numbered. The tide finally turned around the summer months of 1996 when the ISI found that it was no longer profitable or even cost effective to persist with the induction of additional mercenaries in the Valley sector. At this stage, the ISI, in conjunction with the Pakistani Army, appears to have decided to shift the focus of its activities to the areas south of the Pir Panjal range. It was also apparently decided at this time to rely more on terror tactics to discredit the Indian administration, incite a communal and sectarian divide among the people and, by simultaneously raising the ante in Siachen glacier and along the LoC, project Kashmir as an international ‘flashpoint’.

In J&K, the ISI provides comprehensive support to five major terrorist groups. These include Hizbul Mujahideen (approximate strength 1,000 terrorists), Harkat ul Ansar (350), Lashkar-e-Toiba (300), Al Barq (200) and Al Jihad (150). In all, about 2,500 terrorists, mostly foreign mercenaries, belonging to these and other smaller terrorist groups are operating in J&K at present. The ISI spends about 60 to 80 crores every year for prosecuting Pakistan’s proxy war against India in J&K alone, that is 5 to 6.5 crores per month. It is quite obvious that Pakistan’s doddering economy can ill afford such expenditure. As the ISI’s links with the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and the agency’s active participation in the illegal arms trade flourishing in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province are well known, it can only be assumed that funding for its nefarious activities in India is being generated by the ISI itself, with the active connivance of the Pakistan government and the Army.

Inayat Farooq, 21, a two times senior national player in Hockey . Sports journey is my Best journey. Inayat Farooq belongs to Kralpora Central Kashmir Srinagar. 2016, was the year when she  played her first senior Nationals in Banglore .After that in 2017, Inayat got selected for certificate course  through prime minister special package in health and fitness sports authority of India NS,NIS Patiala India. After completing the course J&K state sports council of J&K appointed her as a fitness trainer in Bakshi stadium Srinagar on contractual basis.

In2018, Inayat Farooq played second senior national in hockey held in Ranchi, Jharkhand . She played much more hockey tournaments 7-A side, 5-A side in Kashmir and always  won. Moreover she also remained an all time captain of the team . She played snow festival ice hockey in Gulmarg. One national in ball hockey at Chandigarh and become a runner up in nationals.

Inayat Farooq has also played All India Inter-university Judo Championship in Chandigardh through university of Kashmir.

Inayat had already taken part in many sports disciplines like Kho Kho, Martial Art, Yoga, shooting ball, floor ball, ball hockey etc.

Inayat farooq is equally proud of her father, who despite all odds and societal pressures provided all possible facilities and supported her daughter.

Besides her mother, the whole family is being very supportive throughout her journey.

Inayat farooq said;
“One thing I love in sports is discipline. our brain dumps everything, once you are in the game,” she adds.

‘I live in the central kashmir and during turmoil it becomes difficult to Me to go outside,but i always make it a point not to miss my practice,’ says inayat farooq despite performing well in her field.

Inayat farooq argues that there are no such facilities or coaches to improve our skills or during harsh winter we miss our practice and if state sport councils conducts a coaching camps in Jammu in winter we improve more our skills. She gives the credit to her coach,” Mr. JS Mehta who is HOD of physical department in Womens Collage M.A road srinagar also Miss Nuzhat Ara she is the DSO divisional sports officer in Kashmir, Satinder Singh who is a chief hockey coach in J&K. She is also very thankful to JK Hockey’s Association that they guided her.

Inayat Farooq further goes on saying that it wouldn’t have been possible for her to win these awards or to learn the game without his guidance or practice.

Her family is superbly supporting her. She aims to represent India and wants to be the first female coach of J&K and a best player of J&K.

Ever since Pakistani raiders and razakars invaded J&K in October 1947 and the state acceded to India, Pakistan has been unable to accept what it perceives as a wrongful loss. The state remains a bone of contention between the two countries even after over 50 years of independence. The Pakistan Government calls it the ‘core’ issue and says that the eventual merger of J&K with Pakistan is the only acceptable solution to the problem and that it is the ‘unfinished agenda of partition’. Having failed to annex J&K by force in the several wars initiated by it against India over the last 50 years, and emboldened by its acquisition of nuclear weapons in 1987, Pakistan hatched a new conspiracy for the annexation of J&K by waging a covert ‘proxy war’ against India through a strategy of ‘bleeding India by a thousand cuts’.

Operation ‘Topac’, under which Pakistan launched its proxy war against India, was brilliantly conceived and skillfully executed. Pakistan’s President, General Zia ul Haq’s concept was to exploit the religious sentiments of the Kashmiri people, whip up passions on communal and sectarian lines, fan the flames of religious fundamentalism and, in the process, gradually create conditions for waging a Jihad. Before launching its proxy war in Kashmir, Pakistan also initiated measures to exploit the disgruntled elements among the youth of Punjab to fight for the creation of an independent Sikh state of Khalistan. The intention was to destabilize India by creating conditions of insecurity in two contiguous front-line Indian states and to tie down the Indian security forces, particularly the Indian Army, in internal security duties. It was expected that prolonged employment in internal security duties would weaken the Indian Army and degrade its conventional superiority over the Pakistan Army. All this was to be achieved through a low-cost option, without getting directly involved.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate of Pakistan was entrusted with the responsibility of executing the plan. The ISI had gained immense experience in organizing guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan, with sabotage and terrorism as the weapons of choice, while working together with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The ISI had also surreptitiously siphoned off nearly 60 per cent of the small arms, light weapons, ammunition and explosives supplied to it by the CIA for onward dispatch to the Afghan mujahideen.  It has been reported that arms and ammunition worth US $5 billion had been pumped into Afghanistan by the US and its allies. In addition, the erstwhile Soviet Union had supplied arms and ammunition worth US $5.7 billion. Large numbers of these weapons became available to the ISI for equipping Kashmiri terrorists when the Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. Profits from the clandestine sale of freely available narcotics from Afghanistan, “donations from Muslim zealots in other countries”  and profits from large-scale smuggling activities across the Indian border, provided adequate funds to finance an uprising in J&K. Massive rigging of elections to the J&K Assembly in March 1987,  and the Kashmiri people’s disillusionment with Mr. Farooq Abdullah’s allegedly corrupt and inefficient administration, led to spontaneous protest and a call for azadi (independence). Thus the situation was ripe for exploitation and the ISI, which was ready and waiting, stepped in to fan the flames.

The strategic design of Operation Topac was to launch a proxy war against India in a phased manner. The salient aspects of Pakistan’s plan were as under :-  

  • Initiate a low-level insurgency to interdict communications networks and subvert the police and financial institutions.
  • Subsequently, exert direct pressure along the Line of Control (LoC) by large-scale sabotage and infiltrate mercenaries and Special Forces to attack vital targets in rear areas.
  • At an appropriate stage, using religion as a motivating and binding factor, give a nudge to the Jihad to peak and, if necessary, be prepared to exercise the military option to liberate J&K.

While J&K was to remain the focus of all ISI activities, Operation Topac also envisaged the provision of support and encouragement to insurgent and terrorist groups in the north-eastern states of India and the spread of terrorism progressively to other parts of India, in keeping with the strategy of bleeding the country through a thousand cuts. It is axiomatic that for the Pakistanis, a continuing crisis in Kashmir and tensions along the LoC with India provide an excellent diversion from frustrations at home. These are time-tested methods for mobilising the masses, for gaining the support of fundamentalist Islamic parties and the mullahs within Pakistan and in other Islamic states. It also enables the civilian rulers and the bureaucracy to keep the Pakistani Army gainfully employed in directing and supporting the slickly packaged ‘just cause’ of the Muslim brethren of Kashmir and, as a corollary, away from harbouring thoughts of another military coup. Another major aim is to internationalize the Kashmir issue, contrary to the spirit of the 1972 Shimla Agreement, by raising the bogey of the denial of the Kashmiri people’s right of self-determination. It is conveniently ignored that Pakistan itself had impeded the process of the holding of a plebiscite in J&K by not vacating its illegal occupation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), which is called Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. The playing up and highlighting of trumped up human rights violations in the international media is also part of a well-orchestrated campaign.

Pakistan’s proxy war campaign is carefully calibrated to ensure that India’s perceived ‘threshold of tolerance’ is not transgressed. Though Pakistan would prefer to avoid escalation of the present low intensity conflict (LIC) situation to conventional war, it has apparently vectored in the risks involved in pursuing its proxy war strategy into its operational plans. Yossef Bodansky writes that, “Pakistan knows that the active pursuit of the current Kashmir strategy may lead to an escalation of the faceoff with India. Islamabad is ready to deal with this eventuality while increasing its all out support for the Kashmiris.” In mid-February 1995, a Foreign Ministry spokesman warned that ‘if India carries out another aggression and war breaks out between Pakistan and India, it would not be a war of a thousand years or even a thousand hours, but only a few minutes and India should not be oblivious to the potential destruction.’ Pakistani officials add that “Pakistan is really in a position to strike a heavy blow against India through its nuclear capability.” Pakistan also believes that its nuclear weapons and missiles provide the cheapest option for peace. Gen Mirza Aslam Beg writes: “The nuclear and missile deterrence have helped maintain peace in the sub-continent for over two decades.”

However, it is self-evident that a foreign power can sow the seeds of insurgency only when discontentment and dissent are already widespread among the people and the situation is ripe for exploitation. Due to decades of poor governance, and neglect, compounded by rampant corruption, cynical nepotism, alienation from the national mainstream and political mismanagement, the situation in J&K was as bad as it could possibly have been in 1988-89. It is only belatedly that true realization has dawned regarding the various sins of omission and commission with which the post-independence history of J&K is replete. J&K Governor, Mr. Girish Chandra Saxena, recently told Prakash Nanda in an interview that, “We are considering the situation on the political, administrative and democratic fronts. We realize that maladministration, corruption and unemployment have also been responsible for the growth of terrorism in the past.”

Rejecting Gun culture, Owais Yaqoob won 11 gold medals at national, 17 at state level

Owais yaqoob, instead of romanticism with gun culture chose to bring laurels to his state and set an inspirational tale for the youth of Kashmir. Owais brought numerous medals at the state and national level, a youth from South Kashmir was recently declared as the second-best mixed martial art player in the country by All India Mixed Martial Art Federation (AIMMAF).

Owais Yaqoob, 22, belongs to Murran village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. He had so far won 11 gold medals at a national level, six silver medals at the national level besides 17 gold medals at the state level in different forms of martial art.

Owais was passionate about martial art since childhood and from 2013 he started taking part in competitions.

In year 2013, in a very first competition, Owais managed to bag gold medal, on basis of which he got opportunity to represent J&K at national level where he brought laurels by winning dozens of medals.

“After playing at national level at various places, I joined mixed martial arts camping with different coaches in different states of India,” he said, adding that, after attending camps, he started taking parts in mixed martial arts fights.

“So far I have won 11 gold medals at national level, six silver medals and 17 gold medals at state level and officials at All India Mixed Martial Art Federation declared me as the second best mixed martial art player of India,” he said.

Besides medals, based on my performance, I have received titles like ‘Best Fighter Boy’ in 28 states besides ‘Champion of Champions’ in 2018 in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

Owais says since 2015 he has taught over 200 youth the different forms of martial arts and among them many have represented J&K at the national level and even won gold medals.

Owais said that to stay away from drug and anti-social activities, there is a need to get involved in sports and martial arts and in order to teach the youth of Pulwama district and keep them away from drugs, he has come with academy namely Lion’s Den.

He said that youth of J&K aren’t so much interested in martial arts like he saw outside J&K due to lack of infrastructure, however, new centres are coming up and new forms of martial arts like Juijitsu are being taught at these centres.

Owais claims that Juijitsu and other forms of martial art are only being taught at his centre and people interested in martial arts must work hard and show consistency and one day they will be champions.