Kashmir: After another failed cease-fire, what next?

Analysis of the cease-fire for a month and what it accomplished in Kashmir

Analysis of the cease-fire for a month and what it accomplished in Kashmir
Analysis of the cease-fire for a month and what it accomplished in Kashmir

Thank God, the second cease-fire programme has failed. In just a day or two after the “sacred” day of Eid, our security forces will be fully released from State created “jail” and will not have to bend in their bullet-proof jeep to save themselves from a hail of stones from young hoodlums of the so-called Kashmiri culture.

What was common in both the cease-fires was the sentiment behind both was so very “secular”, so very “humane”.

Thank God, their State inflicted humiliation has ended. And thank God that the Modi government made it last just for a month.

In contrast, Prime Minister Vajpayee’s cease-fire began on November 28 and was extended three times — from December 28 to January 26, from January 27 to February 26, and from February 27 to March 20, 2001, this last extension continuing until May 30.

What was common in both the cease-fires was the sentiment behind both was so very “secular”, so very “humane”. Vajpayee’s announcement on November 19, 2000, said “The holy month of Ramzan… is soon approaching. The government has, therefore, instructed the security forces not to initiate combat operations against militants in Jammu & Kashmir during this most pious month in the Islamic calendar.” The ceasefire began on November 28 and was extended three times — from December 28 to January 26, from January 27 to February 26, and from February 27 to March 20, 2001, this last extension continuing until May 30 although hostilities continued, with over 800 persons killed, according to figures compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal. The Hizb, Laskhar, Jaish, and other groups dismissed the cease-fire as “drama” and “a trap” laid by the Indian government[1].

Vajpayee, you see, was not only a very tolerant and “sweet” person that he is often cited by Ms Mehbooba Mufti, the present Chief Minister of the J&K State who initiated this latest cease-fire “idea”. And remember, too, that he was often accused of being yearning for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In contrast, Narendra Modi is a hardened realist. He okayed Ms Mufti’s cease-fire proposal probably because he was being slammed far too often for the insistence of his view that “Talks and Terror” can’t go together’ with reference to Pakistan. He wanted to quash that. Further, Ms. Mufti’s proposal was reportedly backed by a State all-party delegation, had gained some traction in the policy community[2]. And, to prove that he was a true democrat, he approved it despite reports that Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, had already opposed Ms. Mufti’s proposal as had Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh and the State BJP unit. Like Vajpayee, Modi too was able to silence opponents within his party and alliance. (ibid)).

But, he proved himself as a pragmatist and as the country’s Prime Minister when he stopped the devastating effect on morale of our defence services by halting the cease-fire within a month from its commencement, whatever Home Minister and other seniors may have advised him to the contrary. Remember here that Narendra Modi loves his security forces as no other Prime Minister of the past is known to have had.

Incidentally, but importantly it must be admitted that the anguish of our security forces — and of the public at large — may well have been lessened considerably if we had correctly interpreted the phrase “cease fire” as it was meant to be.

For instance, Vajpayee didn’t seem to know that the entire media world was, right from November 27 last year, painting the world red with the ‘cease-fire’ word while he himself meant NICO — ‘non-initiation of combat operation.’ That NICO bombshell came in The Indian Express interview of February 15, 2001, with A K Suri, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police. Suri said there that “The PM has not used the word ‘cease-fire,’ it is the media which manufactured it. The PM has said ‘non-initiation of combat operations’.” (This writer’s rediff.cm column of March 6, 2001)

Even NICO, it seems, had two interpretations for Vajpayee & Co. On the day the cease-fire was extended by another three months, a correspondent of The Hindu learnt that the government had issued a directive to the security forces to conduct selective operations against groups of foreign terrorists but hold up offensive operations against local terrorists.

This time around, too, there seemed confusion on the correct meaning of “cease fire” For a day or two, the Home Ministry’s orders were reported as the security forces having the right to react and impart force on those who inflicted violence,  or those who were creating aggression against us. But our security forces behaved as though the Government had imposed ahimsa on them. For instance, just the other day, they were inactive when a jeep wagon was found itself under attack from a large group that was throwing stones and sticks and chairs at them from outside and were jumping on the footboards of their jeep. The security forces should, instead, have reacted with rubber bullets of their guns, if not with firing pellet guns. Why didn’t they do that? Was it because the Home Ministry orders (in English or Hindi) not explained to them by the commanders of various security forces?

Where do we go from here?

First there is Pakistan, obsessed with taking our Jammu & Kashmir State through a Plebiscite put on the table by the UN Security Council Resolution No. 47 of April 21, 1948. Despite the explanation of that Resolution as being impossible to implement  till the Pak army and its other forces withdrawing completely from that State, and the UN itself publicly announcing that Resolution as being buried long ago, as also declaring the issue of J&K being a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, our neighbour continues to behave like a broken record. It’s time, therefore, to tell Pakistan that there can be no talks with it till Pak too buries that broken record, once and for all.

Secondly, for “talks” with Pakistan, another condition to be insisted upon is that Pak should agree to return to us the area called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) which was seized by them in the 1947-48 war it fought with us. It should be bombarded with our line that it was the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir which was acceded by its then Maharaja to the Dominion of India after Partition. Millions and millions of copies of the Accession document signed by the then Maharaja of J&K State must be regularly dropped over Pak airspace.

  1. Free Trade agreement with Pakistan should be abolished benefits should be banned straight away with or without the WTO’s consent.
  2. The Indus Water Treaty benefits, presently given to Pak, should be stopped.
  3. As for cross-border terrorism in J&K being carried out by Pakistan for years and years, there is that excellent suggested recently made on TV by Dr Subramanian Swamy. He says that the Narendra Modi Government must immediately declare Governor’s Rule in J&K, ease out the existing Governor, and appoint a tough Army man instead in order to see that the State gets good governance at the earliest in order to ensure a State that is at least internally free from terrorist influences.

Good plan, what?

References:

[1] When Vajpayee announced cease-fire and what happened nextMay 14, 2018, Indian Express

[2] Towards a cease-fire in J & K? May 15, 2018, The Hindu

Arvind Lavakare has been a freelance writer since 1957. He has written and spoken on sports on radio and TV. He currently writes on political issues regularly. His writings include a book on Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

His freelancing career began in "The Times of India" with a sports article published when he was a month shy of 20 years of age. He was also a regular political affairs columnist first for rediff.com for five years or so and then shifted to sify.com. He also wrote extensively for niticentral.com "till it stopped publication."

8 COMMENTS

  1. I do not understand as how long the government is prolonging Kashmir problem. There is a limit to everything. Right from 1947 till today, we do not have a solution for Kashmir. I agree with most of the suggestions put forward by Arvind Lavakare and Mr. Jayasankar V. Concrete decisions is the need of the day. Today you are tackling stonepelters. Tomorrow it may be ISIS. Are going to wake up only if the ISIS which is well funded by Pakistan shows its might.

  2. This Kashmir problem cannot go away if India does not solve its inherent weakness. The young generation of India has been fed a wrong narrative of Indian history and heritage, that they have in many ways become India’s nemesis. Their self esteem is at the lowest without a reference point for their self image. One can take a cue from Martin Seligman’s theory on Learned Helplessness. Having carried out experiments on caged dogs subjected to electric shock, Mr. Seligman propounded his theory. In being subjected to adverse stimuli, either painful or otherwise unpleasant, one indeed becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they are escapable, presumably because it has learned that it cannot control the situation. Indians had the longest time, ever known, in historical subjugation that started more the a 1000 years ago. The Muslims came and plundered India and for 800 years put Indians through unheard of pain and suffering. Then came the western invaders such as the Portuguese in Goa, along with it came the inquisition, and then the British who again did nothing to uplift the Indian psyche, instead further eroded their already battered self esteem by breaking the remnants of Hindu India. The Indians were mentally colonised and brainwashed to become “white men” in brown skins. This subjugation never ended even after independence as Nehruvian secularism further enhanced this “Learned Helplessness” until Indians became their own worst enemy. Never could one imagine that an Italian can dictate terms to 1.3 billion Indians unless of course these Indians themselves have learned to become absolutely helpless like Seligman’s dogs. From this mindset emerged the likes of Kavitha Krishnamurthy, Zakir Naik, John Dayal, Sobha De, ….and so on and so forth, who destroy the slightest sign of an alternate viewpoint in support of Hindu heritage. As we struggle with this hurt, any exhibition of this pain is met with strong objections and get trampled, expecting one to remain with the battered self image. Such mindset have become prevalent in India as they impose their learned helplessness onto others who clearly want a change. Unfortunately, these Seligman type dogs, have gained control over the establishment that even people like Modiji, with all his good intent, have to be cautious in dealing with this, a self inflicted malaise. Neither Kashmir nor Pakistan, is a lost cause, but India must reinvent itself.

  3. Mr. Lavakare

    Why do you call the Sindhu river- ” Indus” ?

    If you cannot use the proper names for or rivers, what are you claiming tom protect?

  4. Amongst his other failures Kashmir policy is one of the significant failures of NaMo govt. Post demo and then raids on Huriyat leaders one saw some hope where Gov’t would be speaking from a position of strength. Alas, these hopes were shortlived and separatists have regained the advantage. Gov’t is looking weaker and bereft of ideas.

    While it is was to blame Pakistan and other separatist forces the fact is the policy has failed. Now faced with dwindling electoral prospects Gov’t looks a lot more weaker!!

    The BJP must withdraw support to PDP . The kashmir govt is gas becoming a liability. Armed forces should be given lethal powers in handling cross border fire and respond with vigour. One indian dies ten pakis should die. Also stone pelters who provide cover for terrorists to escape should be dealt with strongly. Shoot them down if need be. Central govt cannot look weaker. J&K is costing the nation dearly, and each single death of security personnel is tiring an average indian physically and mentally. Enough is Enough should be our policy. Ten lives for one life should be our motto. There is nothing more to lose!!

  5. J&K issue was made a complex and intractable problem by idiot Nehru [ Certainly not Pandit ] and successive Governments. The successes achieved by our armed forces painstakingly since 1947 were wantonly & deliberately lost on the negotiating table by unpatriotic Jawahar & Indira gang. Even now, the problem is NOT insurmountable. The simple solutions are as follows :-
    1. Place the J&K State under Art 356 under Governor’s rule. Put Abdullahs, Muftis, Yasin, etal under detention under National Security Act.
    2. Abrogate Art 370 & 35-A through Presidential Order and bring it at par with other Indian States.
    3. Form a separate State of Jammu comprising Ladakh and make Kashmir Union Territory and have it approved by Indian Parliament.
    4. Settle retired armed forces personnel alongwith Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs, Buddhists in all border areas of J&K in good strength. Deport all Rohingaya Muslims back to Myanmar.
    5. How to do the above meticulously in sequence with minimum inconvenience – Consult with Dr Jagmohan, Prof. Hari Om – Retd Dean of Jammu University and Defence experts.
    6. Till complete re-organisation of J&K suggested on the above lines, the State should be under the DIRECT control of Central Government, that too under the constant monitoring of PMO.
    7. Create more Armed forces cantonments in Jammu, Ladakh & Kashmir
    8. Revamp the entire education system and THRUST in ample measure patriotic & progressive nationalist thinking currikulam in the academic system.
    Only Shri Narendra Modi alone with the active backing of RSS & Dr Subramanian Swamy, is capable of taking bold decisions on the lines suggested above.

  6. What all expressed reg. J&K is very sensible.
    1) Declare throughout world openly that J&K is an Integral part of India.
    2) Deploy regular army to push out n flush out Pak army n those jihadis.
    3) Demolish article 370.
    4) Ceasefire is normally between two warring nations n not with paid stone pelters. So attack them.
    5)Bring Governor rule and stop all nonsense shouting by Abdullah’s, Muftis n all those terrorists.
    6)Bring back all Kashmir pundits back
    7)Stop n evacuate all Rohingyas out of J&K.
    8) Increase Strength at Ladakh n stop chi ese incursions.
    THESE ARE POSSIBLE N DOABLES.

  7. The Pakistani military should be given multi-directional problems, internal & external, enough that each military wing (afghani, baluch, paki) should be independently handling their issues. THE MILITARY needs to be broken. Benefits – infighting, baluch side can be negotiated, political establishment gets more control, military less effective.

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