Ter­ror­ists will gain through a Kash­mir cease­fire

Ter­ror groups would get time to re­plen­ish stocks of per­son­nel, weaponry and cash, all of which would be run­ning low af­ter set­backs against se­cu­rity forces.

The Sunday Guardian - - World -

When­ever ter­ror or­gan­i­sa­tions go on the de­fen­sive as a con­se­quence of ef­fec­tive ac­tion against them by the uni­formed forces, those sym­pa­thetic to their cause call for an im­me­di­ate cease­fire by the se­cu­rity forces. This would give the ter­ror groups time to re­plen­ish stocks of per­son­nel, weaponry and cash, all three of which would be run­ning low af­ter sus­tained set­backs against se­cu­rity forces. The LTTE in Sri Lanka was ex­pert in such tac­tics. Each time the Tamil Tigers were on a los­ing tra­jec­tory against the Sri Lankan mili­tary, their in­ter­na­tional sup­port­ers would lobby Colombo to de­clare a ces­sa­tion of hos­til­i­ties, al­ways suc­ceed­ing in such a quest un­til Mahinda Ra­japaksa took over as Pres­i­dent of Sri Lanka and de­feated and de­stroyed the LTTE, de­fy­ing global calls to give the or­gan­i­sa­tion an ex­tra life through a cease­fire. Ra­japaksa was dif­fer­ent from other South Asians, who hav­ing emerged from three cen­turies of Euro­pean dom­i­na­tion, took ad­vice com­ing from that cor­ner as gospel, even when it was dam­ag­ing. This South Asian propen­sity to swal­low with­out re­straint sug­ges­tions from the con­ti­nent which colonised them ap­plies also to guid­ance given by those in North Amer­ica. Talk within the Lu­tyens Zone is that it was hy­per-bil­lion­aire Bill Gates who took upon him­self the cause of per­suad­ing the Naren­dra Modi gov­ern­ment to make 1.26 bil­lion In­di­ans go cash­less through a shock de­mon­eti­sa­tion. If it was Gates who first sounded the DeMo bu­gle, the re­frain was soon picked up by some in the most con­se­quen­tial posts within the Modi gov­ern­ment, all of whom cham­pi­oned the mea­sure to the Prime Min­is­ter. The con­se­quence was the 8 Novem­ber 2016 de­mon­eti­sa­tion that set back growth in In­dia through its af­ter­shocks. Bill Gates is not re­ported as hav­ing weighed in on the is­sue of a Ramzan cease­fire, so hope­fully there will not be a rush within the Lu­tyens Zone to urge the Prime Min­is­ter that such a mea­sure be im­ple­mented, as in­deed it was dur­ing the pe­riod when A. B. Va­j­payee was Prime Min­is­ter. Va­j­payee’s cease­fire in Kash­mir gave ter­ror­ist groups there a wel­come pause in ac­tions against them by the mili­tary. This was used to re­coup their strength. De­spite or be­cause of such a show of gov­ern­men­tal re­straint, the Pa­hal­gam and other mas­sacres took place dur­ing Va­j­payee’s ten­ure.

Later, PM Va­j­payee cre­ated a per­cep­tion within the proPak­istan lobby of be­ing ready to move be­yond the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia. He promised to set­tle the Kash­mir prob­lem not wholly through law but via the dif­fuse con­cepts of “jamhooriyat” and “in­saniyat”. These terms were in­ter­preted by Pak­istan- con­trolled el­e­ments as code in­di­cat­ing that Va­j­payee would ac­cept a change in the sta­tus quo that would get cre­ated through an in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion of the “Azaadi from In­dia” move­ment. What the then Prime Min­is­ter ought to have done was to make it clear to each and ev­ery in­di­vid­ual in Kash­mir that its ac­ces­sion to In­dia was fi­nal and ir­re­versible, and that the Con­sti­tu­tion of In­dia was the in­escapable ba­sis of any ne­go­ti­a­tion, rather than po­etic phrases such as those used by Va­j­payee. Not sur­pris­ingly, the first BJP Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia failed to over­come the prob­lem of in­sur­gency, which re­mained se­vere through­out his six years in of­fice. As for Va­j­payee’s La­hore jour­ney of 1999, this show of one-sided good­will was met with the per­fidy of Kargil, be­sides count­less other thrusts by the ISI and its prox­ies in In­dia. Given that the cen­tral mis­sion of the Pak­istan army is the at­tempted dis­in­te­gra­tion of the Union of In­dia, ef­forts to cast the po­ten­tial for In­di­aPak­istan re­la­tions in dreamy poetry rather than harsh prose is an er­rand doomed to fail­ure from the start. In such a con­text, Chief Min­is­ter Me­hbooba Mufti’s con­stant ef­forts to show gen­eros­ity and for­give­ness to Pak­istan- di­rected groups have pre­dictably made them even more in­tran­si­gent and de­ter­mined to delink Kash­mir from the rest of the coun­try. Given the fail­ure of Va­j­payee’s numer­ous peace ini­tia­tives, it is a mys­tery as to why the lady be­lieves that sim­i­lar ges­tures on PM Modi’s part will cre­ate out­comes dif­fer­ent from those that faced Va­j­payee. The Kash­mir CM ap­pears to be fix­ated on a pol­icy of ap­pease­ment of anti-In­dia groups, a line of ac­tion that has been di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for the sub­stan­tial de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in the in­ter­nal sit­u­a­tion in Jammu & Kash­mir since the BJP in­stalled her as the Chief Min­is­ter of the state through its in­com­pre­hen­si­ble al­liance with the PDP.

Re­spon­si­bil­ity for the mur­der of a tourist from Tamil Nadu in Kash­mir by stone pel­ters can be di­rectly as­cribed to the pol­icy of amnesty for such el­e­ments that was—sur­pris­ingly for a party claim­ing to take a tough line on na­tional se­cu­rity—meekly ac­qui­esced in by the BJP. If the Union Home Min­istry is in any way con­cerned by the tango be­ing danced by the PDP in as­so­ci­a­tion with pro-Pak­istan el­e­ments, that ven­er­a­ble if hardly ven­er­ated in­sti­tu­tion has kept such feel­ings to it­self, bar­ring a few in­ef­fec­tive dis­ap­prov­ing clucks from Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh. Those who voted for Naren­dra Modi in 2014 did not ex­pect just words from his gov­ern­ment, but ac­tion. How­ever, in Kash­mir, the BJP seems to be a pas­sive spec­ta­tor to the sys­tem­atic way in which the PDP is giv­ing oxy­gen to pro-Pak­istan el­e­ments by its per­mis­sive poli­cies to­wards those seek­ing to once again drag the state into the same caul­dron of hate and vi­o­lence into which it was thrown dur­ing the pe­riod when Mufti Mo­ham­mad Say­eed was Home Min­is­ter of In­dia. Let it be ad­mit­ted that on Kash­mir, Man­mo­han Singh’s record was stel­lar when com­pared with the fol­lies of the present gov­ern­ment in han­dling the state. It is time for those in thrall to the Va­j­payee years to re­mem­ber that vot­ers threw out his gov­ern­ment in 2004, and that the BJP won in 1999 only be­cause the coun­try had just re­cently been at war. A war that was caused by the ne­glect of the Va­j­payee gov­ern­ment in pro­tect­ing the coun­try’s bor­ders from nib­bling by the Pak­istan army, but which its su­pe­rior PR skills passed off as a great vic­tory. In­dia needs real vic­to­ries, not make-be­lieve ones. And these can come only when re­al­ism re­places ro­man­ti­cism in pol­icy.

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