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Jun 19, 2006

Incoherent Response

The pattern and rising crescendo of the terrorist violence, witnessed during the past few months in and outside Kashmir, put Pakistan's larger game- plan in perspective. CrossBorder Terrorism, sponsored by Pakistan has travelled from Doda to Delhi and Varanasi to Bangalore. The ruling UPA establishment has been repeating ad nauseaum worn out clichés to explain the sharp intensity in terrorist strikes. It is being claimed that the violent acts were aimed at scuttling the Round Table Conference II and the 'peace' process and were actually the acts of desperation on the parts of terrorists.
The official assessment, which seeks to trivialize the grim situation only hides the govt. 's own incompetence in taking on the terrorists head on. Even the CPI(M),an alliance partner of the UPA govt. and a party not given to hard approach towards terrorists,has found urgency in asking the Central Govt. to take all effective steps to crush terrorism.
The pattern of terrorism, seen of late, indicates that Pakistan is pursuing multifold objectives through the instrumentality of sponsoring CrossBorderTerrorism. One, it wants to keep on the relentless attrition on the minorities in J&K and effect further religious cleansing. Secondly, it does not want civil society in Kashmir to evolve and seeks to keep it hostage to its jihadist objectives through coercion and lollipops. Thirdly,it wants to maintain the stranglehold of jihadist violence intact in all the regions. Lastly,it visualizes its fond dream of 'strategic parity' with India in latter's balkanization.
On May 1 last, 32 members of the minority community were massacred in Basantgarh region of Doda. A fortnight later Army foiled another attack on the minorities by eliminating four dreaded terrorists in Banihal region. The terrorists have been resorting to brutal killings of civilians and indulging in grenade attacks to create terror among Kashmiris and smother any dissent.
The terrorists have been indulging in high profile attacks to demonstrate their reach. 3 days before the RTC II was to began, there was a 'fedayeen' attack on a Congress rally in Srinagar, which was to be addressed by the Chief Minister. It left 7 killed and many, including IGP Kashmir critically wounded. There were two car-bomb attacks in Hyderpora and Padgampora, a place not far away from IAF Base at Awantipora. Another explosives- laden car was seized at Lethpora. Nearly 800 kgs. of RDX have been seized from different parts of the state, in one such recovery 400 kgs. alone were seized from a cowshed in Lulipora,Pattan. The J&K CM went on record saying that the Govt. foiled terrorist designs to create Iraq-like situation in Srinagar before and during RTC.
There are many new elements in ISI's strategy. The teenage boys and women are being hooked as the new elements for subversive activities. A woman was blown to pieces while handling an IED at Pampore. As a change in the strategy Pakistan is replenishing jihadist ranks in Kashmir by recruiting Muslim youth from fundamentalist seminaries in Maharashtra, Gujarat, etc. As per credible reports these youth are being given training in subversion in training camps in southern Kashmir.
To weaken India, Pakistan is pursuing a two-pronged approach---making economic infrastructure of the country as target of subversive acts and secondly, provoking communal conflict. Some of the jihadists arrested recently in Western India said they had orders to target Dams, power grids in AP,Kandla port, an oil pipeline in Gujarat,besides bridges and markets. The terrorists also targeted Varanasi, the spiritual and cultural centre of the majority community. Security forces foiled attempts to target such holy places like SomNath temple and Vaishno Devi shrine. Continued attacks on tourists in Kashmir and the attempts to target RSS and VHP hqs. are also attempts to create communal conflict
The Home Secretary GOI, the Army Chief and the Defence Minister have been unanimous in saying that terrorist infrastructure across the LOC was intact. What then is the logic in pursuing the so-called peace process with Pakistan? We are being told that Pakistan is a failed state and the extremist elements were outside the control of Gen. Musharraf. If Pakistan is a failed state with Musharraf having no authority then why should India deal with him? The reality is Pakistan has a strong state built around the army, which is in no danger of losing control. This state has pursued as a matter of political gain the instrumentalisation of religious extremism and terrorism. The challenge before the international community is how to wean the army away from this habit.
Incoherent response by the Govt. has led to spurt in terrorism. We reiterate our commitment to Zero-tolerance on terrorism and yet show willingness to talk to the terrorist state of Pakistan and their proxies in Kashmir. This duplicity must end. It undermines our credibility at the international level. Only a well-focused, sustained and strong policy vis-à-vis terrorism and Pakistan will deliver India from the monster of Islamist terrorism.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel, June 2006 issue

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