Meadows of 1995 - where the terror began

By Prof. Ali Sukhanver   

The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 - Where the terror began is a book recently released. Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark are the authors of this book. The authors say they spent a long time on doing research and investigations and finally succeeded in finding out the reality that the Indian government itself was behind the long story of human rights violations in Kashmir.

Commenting upon the kidnapping of six western tourists in 1995 from Anantnag, the authors say, “It appeared that there were some in the Indian establishment who did not want this never-ending bad news story of Pakistani cruelty and Kashmiri inhumanity to end, even when the perpetrators themselves were finished.”

The writers claim kidnapping of six western tourists in 1995 including two Britons, two Americans, one German and one Norwegian tourist in Anantnag district was carried out by a group of Kashmiri militants who worked for the Indian Army.

The tourists were kidnapped by a terrorist organization “Al-Faran”, which initially demanded the release of 21 persons including Harkat chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Omar Sheikh. Later, Azad Nabi, a pro-govt. militant bought four of these abductees from Al Faran for 4 lakh rupees and shot them dead on 24 Dec 1995.

In all this story of abduction and cold-blooded murder, the most interesting thing is the demand of the release of Harkat chief Maulana Masood Azhar, who in fact had nothing to do with Al-Faran. His name was included in the demand list just to drag Pakistan into the affair and to give the world a false impression that Pakistan was behind this abduction. Indian authorities are still projecting the thought that Al-Faran, which claimed responsibility for the abductions, was part of the Harkat-ul-Ansar militant group but Harkat denies any ties with “Al-Faran”.

The Indian government is in a habit of using its own militants to kidnap and kill foreign tourists and blame Pakistan for this heinous act of terrorism particularly in a paradise like Valley of Kashmir. For more than half a century, Kashmiris have been suffering a lot due to the extremely brutal Indian policies.

Since 1988, over 80,000 civilians including women and children have died, mostly at the hands of the Indian army and paramilitary forces. The people of Kashmir are being punished for their desire for freedom. This is their crime.

More pathetic is the fact that their basic human right of freedom is always being neglected and ignored by the world peace-makers and even by the UN.

The people of Kashmir are entangled into the unseen strings of politics of terrorism. The government of India which claims to be the care-taker of their basic human rights, is itself involved in the violation of these rights. High ranking military officers posted there are busy planning how to make the lives of the Kashmiri people more painful whereas the lower military officials are doing all their best to act upon their plans.

To counter the struggle for freedom in Kashmir, the government of India has introduced different terrorist groups in the garb of “Islamist” extremist organizations like Ikhwan which is made of surrendered militants who work for the Indian security forces. These fake organizations not only defame the preaching and teaching of Islam but also generate hatred against those who are actually busy in the real fight for freedom.

The story of kidnapping of six western tourists in 1995 as exposed by Adrian Levy & Catherine Scott-Clark is this kind of story. By adopting such immoral and unethical tactics, Indian forces kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, they  crush the freedom movement and on the other hand they shift the blame to Pakistan. Such tactics are surely not the new ones. India has been firing all her blame-shots towards Pakistan since 1947.

According to a recently issued report, India has erected an impenetrable wire along its border with Pakistan and the Line of Control in Kashmir. Yet, for each security failure of seven lakh strong Indian military force in Kashmir, India finds an easy scapegoat in form of “cross-border terrorism”.

Instead of wasting all her zeal and zest in playing blame game against Pakistan, India could have made situation far better by concentrating upon the remedy of actual issues which compel the people to revolt against the government.

Naxilite movement and the uprising for freedom in seven north-eastern states is no more a hidden story. Even Dr. Manmohan Singh, the honourable prime minister of India, once admitted in 2009 talking to mediamen that India is facing the worst threat from the Naxilite movement.

He said with severe distress and anguish, “Naxilite movement is the biggest internal security threat for India.” The seven north-eastern states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are also the worst example of India’s home-grown terrorism.

These states cover an area of about 250,000 km2 which amounts to 7 percent of India’s total area and about 3.8 percent of India’s total population. A continuous state of disturbance and disorder in such a vast area could never be a negligible reality.

Instead of targeting Pakistan, India must pay attention to this ‘biggest internal security threat’. Indian authorities must also be aware of the nexus between the Indian security forces personnel and the so-called militants they claim to fight against; with the passage of time this coordination is getting stronger.