Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Article 370 - a temporary provision

Article 370 has only 450 words.  It is a temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.  370(1)(a) provides a basis for article 370 as a temporary alternative for provisions of article 238.  But interestingly, Article 238 consisted of provisions dealing with the administration of states in Part B of the First Schedule of Indian constitution. In 1950,the Constitution contained a four fold classification of the states of Indian union - Part A ,Part B ,Part C, Part D states. The Article 238 was omitted from the constitution by the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act,1956 in the wake of reorganization of the states. The instrument of accession signed by Raja Harisingh and accepted by Lord Mountbatten on 26th October, 1947, was the same instrument signed by the other Kings of India.

Article 370 was included in the constitution to satisfy the demand of autonomy by Muslims represented by the Sheikh  Abdullah.  It reflected the contents of the Instrument of accession was applicable only to the Jammu and Kashmir state.  From this perspective, the article 370 can not be seen as a core provision of the Indian constitution as other princely states who have signed the instrument of accession have smoothly integrated into the Indian unitary state.

The article 370 admits superior power of the president of India to declare cessation of this article.  In normal circumstances, the article 370 would require consultation of the state assembly, through the governor of the state, by the president of India to issue orders related to Jammu and Kashmir.  For constitution of the constitution of state, constituent assembly to be convened and concurrence would be sought from the state government.  Irrespective of any other provision, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify.

Article 368 of the constitution lays down the procedure for amendment.  An amendment of the constitution may be initiated by introduction of a Bill in either house of Parliament.  The bill has to be passed in each house by a  majority of total membership of that house.  The attendance of the house during voting should not be less than two-thirds of the members of that house.  Then, the bill  would be presented to the President.  Upon his assent to the Bill, the constitution would be considered as amended.

For amending certain provisions a special procedure is  followed.  Along with voting in each house of the parliament, the bill would be notified by the legislatures of not less than one-half of the states before presented to the president for assent.

The provisions requiring this special procedure to be followed include- manner of the election of the President, matters relating to the executive power of the union and of the state, distribution of legislative powers between the union and the states, provisions of Article 368 relating to the procedure for amendment of the constitution among others. The provisions which require simple majority for amendments include formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing ones, laws regarding citizenship among others.

The proposal for amending the constitution can be initiated only in the House of the Union Legislature and the State Legislatures have no such power.  In case of ordinary legislation, if both houses of the Parliament disagree, a joint session is convened. But in case of amendment of bills, unless both the houses agree, it cannot materialize, as in such cases there is no provision for convening the joint session of both the Houses of the Parliament.

In view of these facts, the Indian Parliament could invoke its constituent powers under Article 368(1) to cease Article 370 from operation, which could then be brought into force by the President of India through an Order, after “consulting” the J&K Government.  The amendment  to the Indian constitution to abolish Article 370 would fall under the provision of the 370(1)(d) which deals with the matters specified in the instrument of accession.


It should be noted that in Indian constitution, the Part XXI, Articles 369-392, deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions.”  Provisions specified under Articles 379-391 are already deleted long back through constitutional amendment.  Article 370, in respect of Jammu and Kashmir, is classified under “Temporary provisions” whereas 371(A-I), on nine other States, are under “Special provisions.”   It is meaningless to continue with a “temporary” provision, even more than 60 years since Independence.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Interlocutors Report - Abridged Executive summary

Summary of the Executive summary

Interlocutors have met a wide cross section of the people of J&K and prepared a report "A new compact with the people of Jammu and Kashmir". Interlocutors claim to have avoided the pitfalls of viewing the myriad of issues from the prism of any one region or ethnic or religious community. They claim to have identified a list of consensual points among the stakeholders of Kashmir. To build on the consensus, a review by a constitutional committee (CC) on the applicability of all central acts and Articles of the constitution of India extended to the state after the signing of the 1952 Agreement is recommended. Interlocutor report provides guidelines for the operation of the CC which includes recognition of dual character of J&K as well as operating within the boundaries of article 370. To facilitate the work of CC, a list of CBM (confidence building measures) are recommended by the interlocutors on political, cultural and economic fronts. According to the interlocutors, the essence of these CBMs is political, economic and cultural freedom. To tread the path of this road map, a credible dialogue between GOI, Hurriyat and Pakistani governments is advocated. Interlocutors report recommends adoption of the CC by parliament with 2/3rd majority.

Abridged version of the Executive summary of the Interlocutors report


[0001] Ground work

The contents of this report are primarily the outcome of the Group’s interactions with more than 700 delegations held in all the twenty two districts of Jammu and Kashmir and the three round-table conferences (RTCs) we organized since our appointment on 13 October, 2010. The three RTCs – two conducted in Srinagar and one in Jammu – brought together women, scholars/activists and cultural workers from all the three regions of the State, viz. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Several thousand ordinary citizens also turned up at three mass meetings. Furthermore, we met militants and stone-pelters lodged in the Central Jail in Srinagar, and the families of the victims of alleged human rights abuses. The report takes into account the vast literature on Jammu and Kashmir: scholarly studies and journalistic reportages; proposals for a political settlement contained in documents issued by mainstream and off-stream political formations; publications of think tanks; reports of various Commissions and working groups established by the Central or the State government over the past several decades; and official documents related to political and constitutional developments since Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to the Indian Union.
  
[0002] Philosophical approach of interlocutors

We have sought to avoid the pitfalls of viewing the myriad issues bedeviling the State from the prism of any one region or ethnic or religious community. Our interactions revealed a wide-spread desire of people to lead a life of dignity and honor. They sought from religious extremism, intimidation and violence that compel people to flee their habitat, freedom from pressures on media, RTI activists, civil rights groups and cultural organizations, harsh laws and opaque administration.

[0003] Belief of Interlocutors on consensual points

A political settlement must be achieved.
  1. Jammu and Kashmir should continue to function as a single entity within the Indian Union.
  2. The State’s distinctive status guaranteed by Article 370 must be upheld.
  3. People must be able to exercise their democratic rights without the strains and stresses of the past, both as State subjects and as Indian citizens.
  4. The diverse aspirations of the three regions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh – and of sub-regions, of various ethnic and religious groups, of people uprooted from their homes due to wars or endemic violence – must be addressed.
  5. To promote the State’s economic self-reliance, a fresh financial arrangement between the Centre and the State is required.
  6. A hassle-free movement of people, goods and services across the Line of Control and the International Border must be swiftly ensured leading to institutionalized cooperation between the two parts of the erstwhile princely State in all areas of mutual interest and concern.

[0004] Recommendation to support the consensual points
Setting up of a Constitutional Committee (CC) to review all Central Acts and Articles of the Constitution of India extended to the State after the signing of the 1952 Agreement.

[0005] Approach to be taken by CC
CC will bear in mind the dual character of Jammu and Kashmir, viz. that it is a constituent unit of the Indian Union and that it enjoys a special status in the said Union, enshrined in Article 370 of the Constitution of India; and the dual character of the people of the State, viz. that they are both State subjects and Indian citizens. The review will, therefore, have to determine whether – and to what extent – the Central Acts and Articles of the Constitution of India, extended with or without amendment to the State, have dented Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and abridged the State government’s powers to cater to the welfare of its people. The Constitutional Committee should be future-oriented in that it should conduct its review solely on the basis of the powers the State needs to address the political, economic, social and cultural interests, concerns, grievances and aspirations of the people in all the three regions of the State – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh – and all its sub-regions and communities.
The CC should propose a set of recommendations through consensus. The president should issue an order on the basis of Clause (1) and (3) of Article 370 of the Constitution approving the recommendation of CC. The order will need to be ratified by a Bill in both Houses of Parliament and by each House in the State Legislature by a margin of not less than two-thirds majority of the total membership present and voting in each House. It will then be presented to the President for assent. Once this process is over, Clauses (1) and (3) of Article 370 shall cease to be operative and no orders shall be made by the President hereafter under the said clauses as from the date of the final order.

[0006] CBMs to facilitate the work of CC
To facilitate the work of the Constitutional Committee, we list below our own suggestions. We seek a New Compact with Jammu and Kashmir. It covers a wide range of issues – political, economic, social and cultural.
A. Political CBMS
B. Cultural CBMs
C. Economic and Social CBMs

[0007] Excerpts from Political CBMS
Retain many of the Central laws made applicable to the State over the past six decades. The national interest will not be adversely affected if certain subjects from List III of the Seventh Schedule are transferred to the State.
Recommendations on certain issues of contention are as follows:
I. Delete the word ‘Temporary’ from the heading of Article 370 and from the title of Part XXI of the constitution. Replace it with the word ‘Special’ as it has been used for other States under article 371 (Maharashtra and Gujarat); Article 371A (Nagaland); 371B (Assam); 371C (Manipur); 371D and E (Andhra Pradesh); 371F (Sikkim); 371G (Mizoram); 371H (Arunachal Pradesh); 371I (Goa).
II. The State Government, after consultations with Opposition parties, shall submit a list of three names to the President. The President can ask for more suggestions if required. The Governor will be appointed by the President and hold office at the pleasure of the President.
III. Article 356: the action of the Governor is now justiciable in the Supreme Court. The present arrangement should continue with the proviso that the Governor will keep the State legislature under suspended animation and hold fresh elections within three months.
IV. Article 312: The proportion of officers from the All India Services should be gradually reduced in favor of officers from the State civil service.
V. The nomenclatures in English of the Governor and the Chief Minister should continue as at present. Equivalent nomenclatures in Urdu may be used while referring to the two offices in Urdu.
VI. Create three Regional Councils, one each for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
VII. Parliament will make no laws applicable to the State unless it relates to the country’s internal and external security and its vital economic interest, especially in the areas of energy and access to water resources.
VIII. These changes should be harmonized in all parts of the former princely State. All opportunities for cross-LOC cooperation should be promoted. This will require substantial constitutional changes in Pakistan-administered Jammu and Kashmir
IX. Take all appropriate measures to regard Jammu and Kashmir as a bridge between South and Central Asia.
The subjects out of List II of the Seventh Schedule that could be transferred from the State Legislature to the Regional Councils are listed in detail in our report. Among the subjects from List III transferred to the State Legislature, the State Legislature could consider delegating some of those subjects to the Regional Councils. The subjects listed in ‘A’ and ‘B’ of the agreement reached on Gorkhaland can also be considered. Meanwhile, the financial and administrative powers to be delegated to Panchayati Raj institutions will be on the lines of the 73rd and 74th amendments of the Constitution of India.

[0008] The road map
The road map towards the Goal of political, economic and cultural freedoms to people of J&K as listed in section [0003].
The Roadmap depends on the credibility of the dialogue process, implementation of key CBMs and building a consensus amongst key stakeholders.
(a) Speeding Up Human Rights and Rule of Law Reforms

(b) Amendment of the PSA and Review of the DA and AFSPA:

(c) Improvement of police-community relations.

(d) Rationalization of security installations through reducing their spread to a few strategic locations and creating mobile units for rapid response.

(e) Fast-track implementation of the Recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Working Group on CBMs, in particular;

  • Making the return of all Kashmiris, mainly Pandits (Hindu minority) a part of State policy;
  • Providing better relief and rehabilitation for widows and orphans of violence in the State, including widows and orphans of militants; and
  • Facilitating the return of Kashmiris stranded across the LoC, many of whom had crossed over for arms training but now wish to return peacefully.

(f) Fast-track implementation of the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Working Group on Relations across the LoC.

(g) Establish a Judicial Commission to look into the unmarked graves, with an emphasis on identification of missing/ disappeared persons

(h) An empowered group to monitor CBMs to be established.


[0009] Dialogue Process

In order to take the political dialogue forward, the Group recommends:

(a) Resume the GOI-Hurriyat dialogue.

(b) Encourage Pakistan and Pakistani-administered Jammu and Kashmir to enter into dialogue on the recommendations as fine-tuned by the CC and points emerging from the GOI-Hurriyat dialogue.

(c) Agreement between India and Pakistan to promote civil society interactions for the Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control.


 [0010] Harmonization of Relations Across the LoC
 
There is a wide belief that no permanent or lasting solution can be achieved unless it applies also to the parts of the former princely State that are under Pakistani administration. 1994 Parliament Resolution sought a settlement for the whole of the former princely State. Any attempt of harmonization of Centre-State Relations and devolution of powers will necessitate wide-ranging constitutional change in Pakistan –administered Jammu & Kashmir.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Proxy war by Pakistan and Terrorism

The plan to take over J&K was drafted in the mid-80s. The blueprint was prepared by the Pakistan chief in 1984 to aid and abet militancy in Kashmir. Amanullah Khan, chairman of the J&K Liberation Front, was consulted, Mohammad Rauf Khan, senior vice-president of the JKLF a terrorist outfit since banned, was sent to the valley in 1978-88 to mobilize youth to join Pakistan camps across the Line of Control of arms training. Over 20,000 persons infiltrated into Pakistan.

In April 1988, General Zia-ul-Haq , as Pakistan President, devised a new plan for Kashmir, which was code named as Operation Topac. The official goal of Pakistan continued to be liberation of Kashmir from India. But since, the Pakistan could not win wars that it had initiated against India, insurgency against the Kashmiri government was conceived. Operation Topac was conceived with three phases and it had a slogan “bleed the enemy with thousand cuts”.

A low level military conflict at porous border was sustained by Pakistan army to facilitate infiltration of trained militants, army personnel and others into the Kashmir. This infiltration operation was codenamed as “Operation Gibraltar”. The plan to create unrest in Kashmir began with indoctrination and India-hate propaganda. There were innocuous signs of militancy on the street walls where the most timid graffiti read: "Indian Dogs Go Back". These graffiti were soon replaced by street bandhs and protest rallies.

The Pakistan proactively trained frustrated youth, bribed and funded the so-called political and society leaders and subverted the law and order system in the State so much that the Indian Government had to send in the Army. The Pakistan had achieved first of its objectives early in the '90s. Kashmir had become an international issue with terrorism taking a deep root in its streets and by lanes. Orchestrated propaganda within and outside the country kept the Kashmir issue alive in international for an objective which gave Pakistan a fake legitimacy of being the underdog.

After pushing in militants, initially under the banner of JKLF, Pakistan floated several organisations like Hizb-ul-Maujahideen, Hizb-ul-Islam, Allah Tigers, Al-Umar Mujahideen, Muslim Mujahideen, Harkat Ul Ansar and Jamaat Hurriyat Conference. Besides funding, the Pakistan supplied both assault rifles and other sophisticated arms to the militants which included Draganov sniper rifles, anti-aircraft missiles and remote explosives. It also flooded the Valley with Improvised Explosive Devices which, till this date, continue to take a heavy toll on security forces deployed for counter-insurgency operations.

Pakistan is making a systematic effort to create anti-India sentiment among the people of Kashmir by spreading false propaganda against India. Pakistani radio and television channels deliberately spread hate and venom against India, its armed forces and other institutions to alter Kashmiri opinion. Pakistan has also assisted in providing logistic and material support in coordinating terrorist attacks in Punjab, J&K and other parts of India.

Major incidents of terror attacks by Islamic militants include several bomb blasts in Mubai from 1993 onwards, 2005 Delhi bombings, Indian parliament attack in 2001, Attack on Ramjanmabhoomi in 2005, Varanasi bombings in 2006 and in 2010, attack on Indian Institute of Science- Bangalore, attack on Aksharadham temple in Gujarat among many other smaller terror attacks across India.

Pakistani provocation reached a dangerous point with the December 13, 2001 attack on the Parliament. Within the Kashmir, terror attacks on military posts, police and civilians who cooperate with security agencies has become a daily affair. Protests and Bandhs against India are frequently seen. Curfew becomes necessary to maintain law and order. Systematic killing of minority Hindus and other people are routinely taken up by militant organizations and both state and central governments are unable to halt this trend.

Yearly Amaranath Yatra is targeted by militants. The pilgrims who come from all parts of India to J&K state are exploited in many ways along the route to the Yatra. Security threat is increasing for the people who participate in the Yatra.

Very sophisticated weapons, explosives and Improvised Electronic Devices (IED) are used by militants in their attack against people and security personnel.

On May 14, 2002, terrorists attacked family lines of an army camp in Kaluchak, Jammu district, killing 32 civilians including 11 women and 11 children. On June 25 2002, the Hizbul Mujahideen targeted troops engaged in sanitising the area near Chandanwari, the first major halt on the climb towards the shrine. Three soldiers were killed in the explosion. Earlier, on June 15, a grenade attack on pilgrims preparing to leave Jammu for Pahalgam left two dead. On July 24, five days after the Yatra began, 24 pilgrims, security force personnel and bystanders were injured in a similar attack at Anantnag. On July 30, a grenade attack in Anantnag killed a pilgrim and a taxi driver, and caused injuries to three persons. As recently as on March 20, 2003, Kashmiri Hindus living in Nadimarg, Jammu were targeted in which 24 Pundits, including 11 women and 2 children were massacred in cold blood.

The 2008 Mumbai attacks (often referred to as November 26 or 26/11) refers to simultaneous attack on various targets in Mumbai. Eight of the attacks occurred in South Mumbai at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Oberoi Trident, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital (a women and children's hospital), the Nariman House Jewish community centre, the Metro Cinema, and a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier's College. There was also an explosion at Mazagaon, in Mumbai's port area, and in a taxi at Vile Parle. By the early morning of 28 November, all sites except for the Taj hotel had been secured by Mumbai Police and security forces. An action by India's National Security Guards (NSG) on 29 November (the action is officially named Operation Black Tornado) resulted in the death of the last remaining attackers at the Taj hotel, ending all fighting in the attacks. Ajmal Kasab the only attacker who was captured alive, disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba

In recent years, new tactics have been adopted by militant organizations to sustain the lawlessness in J&K. Muslim community is provoked in a planned way with the help of Islamic clergy and huge protests are being organized. Youth and children are being paid to resort stone throwing against security personnel. Intention is to draw the international attention in support of Pakistan position on Kashmir along with increasing resentment among local population against India. Stress on security agencies is increasing beyond tolerable limits. Small kids are not punishable by the law. Their school bags are loaded with stones instead of lunch box and books. They throw stones at the security personnel and cause serious casualties. If retaliated, human right organization will point fingers towards government and security agencies.







Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kargil Incursions by Pakistan establishment

Introduction

Pakistan, in its continued effort to wrest Kashmir from India, initiated yet another military operation crossing the line of control and occupying several vacant military posts across Kargil hill. Indian resistance to this effort led to an armed conflict between india and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of control (LOC). The conflict is known as the Kargil War which is also referred to as Operation Vijay (Victory in Hindi) by the Indian armed forces.

Initially, Pakistan establishment in association with militants assisted infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC, which serves as the de facto border (Result of 1947-48 war) between the two states. During the initial stages of the war, Pakistan covertly blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces, led by General Ashraf Rashid. Indians could recapture positions infiltrated by the Pakistani troops and militants. With the consolidation of Indian forces on the ground, international diplomatic pressure increased on Pakistan and Pakistani establishment was forced to withdraw from the remaining Indian positions along the LOC.

Background

An Indian National Highway (NH 1D) connecting Srinagar to Leh cuts through Kargil. The area that witnessed the infiltration and fighting is a 160km long stretch of ridges overlooking this only road linking Srinagar and Leh. The military outposts on the ridges above the highway were generally around 5,000 metres (16,000ft) high, with a few as high as 5,485 metres (18,000ft). Apart from the district capital, Kargil, the populated areas near the front line in the conflict included the Mushko Valley and the town of Drass, southwest of Kargil, as well as the Batalik sector and other areas, northeast of Kargil.

One of the reasons why Kargil was targeted was that the terrain surrounding it, lent itself to Pre-emptive seizure of unoccupied military positions. With tactically vital features and well-prepared defensive posts atop the peaks, a defender of the high ground would enjoy advantages akin to a fortress. Any attack to dislodge a defender from high ground in mountain warfare requires a far higher ratio of attackers to defenders, and the difficulties would be exacerbated by the high altitude and freezing temperatures.

Kargil is just 173km (108mi) from the Pakistani-controlled town of Skardu, which was capable of providing logistical and artillery support to Pakistani combatants.

It is believed that the blueprint of attack was activated soon after Pervez Musharraf was appointed Chief of army staff in October 1998

As a practice patrolling would stop in February and Indian and Pakistani forces leave the glaciers as they are snow-capped and return in summer to their positions. In 1999 the pakistani forces not only occupied the abandoned positions but also occupied some of the indian positions.

Troops from the elite Special Services Group as well as four to seven battalions of the Northern Light Infantry (a paramilitary regiment not part of the regular Pakistani army at that time) covertly and overtly set up bases on the vantage points of the Indian-controlled region. According to some reports, these Pakistani forces were backed by Kashmiri guerillas and Afghan mercenaries.

Detection of Incursions

Indian patrol team led by Capt Saurabh Kalia, who acted on a tip-off by a local shepherd in the Batalik sector, led to the exposure of the infiltration. Subsequent discovery of infiltration elsewhere along the LOC, and the difference in tactics employed by the infiltrators, caused the Indian army to realize that the plan of attack was on a much bigger scale. The total area seized by the ingress was generally accepted to between 130 km² - 200 km².

Operation Vijay

The Government of India responded with Operation Vijay, a mobilisation of 200,000 Indian troops. AirForce supported with Operation Safed Sagar and the Navy blocked the pakistani ports and cut off the supply routs.

The number of infiltrators, including those providing logistical backup, has been put at approximately 5,000 at the height of the conflict. This figure includes troops from Pakistan-asministered Kashmir who provided additional artillery support.

As the Pakistani infiltrators has good sight of NH 1D they were inflicting. First thing was to capture lost indian positions and the peaks that had the clear view of the Highway.This resulted in Indian troops first targeting the Tiger Hill and Tololing complex in Dras, which dominated the Srinagar-Leh route. This was soon followed by the Batalik-Turtok sub-sector which provided access to Siachen Glacier. Some of the peaks that were of vital strategic importance to the Pakistani defensive troops were Point 4590 and Point 5353. While 4590 was the nearest point that had a view of NH 1D, point 5353 was the highest feature in the Dras sector, allowing the Pakistani troops to observe NH 1D. The recapture of Point 4590 by Indian troops on June 14 was significant, notwithstanding the fact that it resulted in the Indian Army suffering the most casualties in a single battle during the conflict (which operated in a temp of -11°C to −15 °C ). Though most of the posts in the vicinity of the highway were cleared by mid-June, some parts of the highway near Drass witnessed sporadic shelling until the end of the war.

Based on military tactics, much of the costly frontal assaults by the Indians could have been avoided if the Indian Military had chosen to blockade the supply route of the opposing force, virtually creating a siege . Such a move would have involved the Indian troops crossing the LoC as well as initiating aerial attacks on Pakistan soil, a manoeuvre India was not willing to exercise fearing an expansion of the threat of war and reducing international support for its cause.

Two months into the conflict, Indian troops had slowly retaken most of the ridges that were encroached by the infiltrators according to official count, an estimated 75%–80% of the intruded area and nearly all high ground was back under Indian control

With the possibility of India escalating the war from a “limited war” in Kargil and extending it to Pakistan proper, General Musharraf seemingly goaded the hapless Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to rush to Washington and enlist United States aid to pressurize India for a three-day ceasefire to enable Pakistani troops to withdraw to their side of the LOC.

Moreover, while the army had initially denied the involvement of its troops in the intrusion, two soldiers were awarded the Nishan-E-Haider (Pakistan's highest military honour). Another 90 soldiers were also given gallantry awards, most of them posthumously, confirming Pakistan's role in the episode. India also released taped phone conversations between the Army Chief and a senior Pakistani general where the latter is recorded saying: "the scruff of [the militants] necks is in our hands .

Benazir Bhutto an opposition leader and former prime minister, called the Kargil War "Pakistan's greatest blunder"

The spring and summer incursion of Pakistan-backed armed forces into territory on the Indian side of the line of control around Kargil in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian military campaign to repel the intrusion left 524 Indian soldiers dead and 1,363 wounded, Indian estimates stand at 1,042 Pakistani soldiers killed .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Kashmir - 1989 onwards

Introduction
After the end of 1989, over four lakh Kashmiri Pandits, constituting 99% of the total population of Hindus, living in Muslim majority areas of the Kashmir, was grudgingly pushed out of the valley by the Islamists.

Sequence of Events
The exodus took place on January 19th of I989. On that day the loudspeakers of mosques in Kashmir blasted out a message as a threat: “Pandits leave the valley, leaving behind your women. We want Pakistan, without Kashmiri Pandits”. Despite of some organizations, the entire country then stood like silent spectators of this brazen event.

January 19, 1990, a Kashmiri Pandit nurse working at the Soura Medical College Hospital in Srinagar was raped and later killed by Pakistan-backed terrorists. The incident was preceded by massacres of Pandit families in the Telwani and Sangrama villages of Budgam district and other places in the Kashmir Valley. The terrorist intent was clearly to drive non-Muslim 'infidels' out of the State and establish Nizam-e-Mustafa (literally, the Order of the Prophet; government according to the Shariah). Accounts of Pandits from this traumatic period reveal that it was not unusual to see posters and announcements – including many articles and declarations in local newspapers – telling them to leave the Valley. Pandit properties were either destroyed or taken over by terrorists or by local Muslims, and there was a continuous succession of brutal killings, a trend that continues even today.

Ethnic cleansing was evidently a systematic component of the terrorists’ strategic agenda in J&K, and estimates suggest that, just between February and March 1990, 140,000 to 160,000 Pandits had fled the Kashmir Valley to Jammu, Delhi, or other parts of the country. Simultaneously, there were a number of high-profile killings of senior Hindu officials, intellectuals and prominent personalities. Eventually, an estimated 400,000 Pandits – over 95 per cent of their original population in the Valley – became part of the neglected statistic of 'internal refugees' who were pushed out of their homes as a result of this campaign of terror. Not only did the Indian state fail to protect them in their homes, successive governments have provided little more than minimal humanitarian relief, and this exiled community seldom features in the discourse on the ‘Kashmir issue’ and its resolution.

The massacre of 26 Pandits at Wandhama, a hamlet in the Ganderbal area of the Valley on the intervening night of January 25-26, 1998; the earlier killing of eight others at Sangrampora in Budgam district on March 22, 1997; the massacre of 26 Hindus at Prankote in Udhampur District on April 21, 1998; and the killing of 24 Kashmir Pandits at the Nadimarg Village, District Pulwama, on March 23, 2003; these are the worst of the many examples of the terrorists’ tactic to block any proposal for the return of migrants to the Valley. These massacres and a continuous succession of targeted individual killings have ensured the failure of every proposal to resolve the problem of the exiled Pandits. It was, again, this pervasive insecurity that led to the collapse of the proposal to create 13 clusters of residential houses in ‘secure zones’ in different parts of Anantnag for the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit migrants from outside the Valley in April 2001.

The massacres of Pandits were vicious, barbaric and inhuman. Killing of Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists evidently portrays zealous sadism. All victims have been subjected to extreme torture and terror.

Torture deaths have been brought about by such inhuman practices as strangulation by using steel wires, hanging, branding with hot irons, burning alive, lynching, bleeding to death. Besides these, terrorists have frequently coddled in barbaric acts like performing death dances after killing their target. Many a time, dead bodies were not even allowed to be properly cremated.

According to the Indian National Human Rights Commission, the Kashmiri Pandit population in Jammu and Kashmir dropped from 55 percent in 1941 to 0.1 percent as of 2001. In 2009, Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a resolution to recognize 14 September 2007, as Martyrs Day to acknowledge ethnic cleansing and campaigns of terror inflicted on non-Muslim minorities of Jummu and Kashmir by terrorists seeking to establish an Islamic State.

Failure of Human Rights
All human rights organizations across the globe made use of this incident to affront India in front of the world. But they never speak on the genocide, the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley; they have a culpable silence on the human rights violations executing by the Islamic terrorists tutored by PakistanV

International human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Asia Watch and others have yet to take proper cognizance of the genocide perpetrated on Kashmiri Pandits. Even the representatives of the United nations or other organizations have so far failed to visit the camps in Jammu, Delhi and other parts of India, where thousands of families are putting up for several years.

Panun Kashmir

Lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits have been driven out of their homes from Kashmir and they have become refugees in their own country. They are living in different parts of the country in very harsh environments. Continuing their struggle for survival as a cultural entity and as an ancient race, they are also sustaining PANUN KASHMIR, a movement for the political survival of over 700,000 Kashmiri Pandits in their birth land.
The community had hoped to return after the situation improved, but have not been able to do so till now because normalcy has yet to return to the valley and they fear a risk to their lives.

Scenes from Drabiyar locality, Srinagar
Scenes from Sathoo Bar-Bar Shah locality, Srinagar

Scenes from Ganpatyar locality, Srinagar

Mrs. Roopawati - Pulwama


Prem Nath Bhat - Anantnag


Victims of a massacre

Mrs Ganju Banamohalla Srinagar

Sushil Kotru - Rainawari, Srinagar

Friday, July 16, 2010

Origin of the Kashmir Dispute

The Kashmir dispute began in 1947 immediately after the creation of new independent states of India and Pakistan. Pakistan allowed armed Islamic invaders to attack the princely state from its soil. Pakistan was claiming Kashmir on the ground that it had Muslim-majority. The King of the princely state, Raja HariSingh decided to accede to India. India accepted the accession and protected the Kashmir from the aggression. Pakistan objected to this and the resulting Indo-Pakistani war of 1947-48 divided the state, reflecting the status of forces on the ground. Since then, Pakistan has controlled “Azad” (Free) Kashmir and the adjacent Northern Areas, while India remained in control of two-thirds of the former princely state. The Karachi Agreement, signed by India and Pakistan in July 1949, formally established this cease-fire line (CFL) in Kashmir, which was supervised by a modest number of UN observers. In 1971, hostilities again broke out between India and Pakistan over the fate of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In July 1972, India and Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement to end the third Indo-Pakistani war. Simla defined a Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir which, with minor deviations, followed the same path as the Karachi Agreement’s CFL. The Simla Agreement also called on both sides to respect the LoC “without prejudice to the recognized position of either side,” prohibited either side from unilaterally altering the LoC, and bound both countries “to refrain from threat or the use of force in violation of this Line.” The LoC is 720 kilometers long, running in a non-linear way over rugged terrain near Jammu in the southwest up to glacial heights of the Himalayas near China’s Sinkiang province in the northeast.


The total area of the former princely state of Kashmir is 86,023 square miles, or about the size of the Korean Peninsula, Kansas or Great Britain. The territory is divided by a loc established in 1972 following the 1971 conflict between India and Pakistan. The Line of Control (LoC) replaced the former cease-fire line of 1949. India administers 53,665 square miles and Pakistan 32,358 square miles. The loc stretches approximately 450 miles from grid reference NW 605 550, at the termination of the international border thirty five miles west of Jammu, to NJ 980 420 in the Karakoram Range sixty-five miles southeast of Mount K2 and twelve miles north of the Shyok River.1 There is no definition of the LoC from that point northward toward Chinese territory. The terrain varies from flatland, hills and semi-tropical growth in the south, through increasingly steeper areas and the temperate vegetation of the Pir Panjal Range (with occupied military positions up to 14,000 feet) until, north of the Jhelum River, the higher ranges begin. The west-east section of the Line lies along and across mountain ridges, some over 18,000 feet, where any kind of movement is difficult and dangerous.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Muslim Rule in Kashmir

In the beginning of 14th century, when Raja Sahadev was ruling, a ferocious Mongol, Dulucha, invaded the valley through its northern side Zojila Pass, with an army of 60,000 men. Dulucha carried sword and fire, destroyed towns and villages and slaughtered thousands. His savage attack practically ended the Hindu rule in Kashmir. After the King, Shams-ud-Din Shah Mir Swati was the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir and the founder of the Shah Miri dynasty named after him. He came from Swat, the then (Tribal) territory on the borders of Afghanistan and played a notable role in subsequentive political history of the valley. Shahmir became the ruler of Kashmir and reigned for three years.He was the first ruler of Swati dynasty, which had established in 1339. Shah Mir was succeeded by his eldest son Jamshid, but he was deposed by his brother Ali Sher probably within few months, who ascended the throne under the name of Alauddin. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin who was popularly known as Baadshah (the King) (r.1423-1474), is said to be relatively more tolerant of all religions. Most of the Muslim rulers of Kashmir were intolerant of other religions. Sult├ún Sikandar Butshikan of Kashmir (AD 1389-1413) is often considered the worst of these. Historians have recorded many of his atrocities. The Tarikh-i-Firishta records that Sikandar persecuted the Hindus and issued orders proscribing the residence of any other than Muslims in Kashmir. He also ordered the breaking of all "golden and silver images". The Tarikh-i-Firishta further states: "Many of the Brahmins, rather than abandon their religion or their country, poisoned themselves; some emigrated from their native homes, while a few escaped. After the emigration of the Brahmins, Sikandar ordered all the temples in Kashmir to be thrown down. Having broken all the images in Kashmir, (Sikandar) acquired the title of ‘Destroyer of Idols’." In 1588, Akbar invaded Kashmir establishing the Mughal rule.