There is a bleeding hearts story doing the rounds that Kashmiri youth have been alienated and they have “spontaneously”taken up Intifada to seek justice and may be Azadi.
Much against the common perceptions that the events in Kashmir are spontaneous (and labeling them as Intifada), the signatures of Pakistan-sponsored proxy operations have been revived at both the political level and on the insurgency front. There are strong signals that al Qaeda or the Taliban have found a ripe opportunity after the 2008 Amarnath protests to takeover the role of furthering the Kashmir issue for their cause. There are divergent views on this cause but the larger one appears to be to incite Muslims in India to take up the cause of spreading their agenda of Political Islam. This would also meet with their aspiration to bleed India through more than thousand cuts. If India gets pulled into the region’s war zone – it would serve their purpose to raise tensions between India and Pakistan.
As per Asia Times Online, two militant organizations – al-Badr led by Bakht Zameen Khan and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose resources were largely depleted up until 2008 – are involved in the unrest. They have sent people across the Line of Control that separates the Pakistan-administered and Indian-administered Kashmirs. According to them, al-Qaeda sees the unrest in Kashmir as a “god-gifted” opportunity to steal the Kashmiri insurgency from its Pakistani handlers and use it for its Ghazwa-e-Hind operations. These sources say the next operation will be in the Indian capital New Delhi in October during the Commonwealth Games.
Asia Times Online has further argued that al-Qaeda’s aim is to start a pattern of terror attacks that will initiate a low-intensity insurgency in India’s heartlands, including the Kashmir struggle, rather than stand-alone terror attacks. In the bigger picture, according to the sources, the goal is to sabotage all US efforts to create peace in the region (especially Afghanistan) and draw India and Pakistan into a crisis situation.
B Raman asserts this as a spontaneous uprising,calling it an Intifada and asks government to handle the situation deftly taking into consideration sentiments of the people. For the immediate short term that is a step that has to be taken to control the “cycle of violence”. Barkha Dutt in an interview with young Kashmiris also asks for an inclusive approach to assuage the feelings, sentiments and aspirations of the people, especially the young Kashmiris. In her essay dated 09 Jul she had argued:
What has gone unnoticed is that Kashmir is throwing up a new generation of increasingly radicalised young men who are beginning to see the dispute through a religious prism, instead of a political one. Moderate voices in the city — both civilian and political — are often too scared of countering them, and New Delhi hasn’t helped by giving them precious little to play with.
While there is substance to the argument of managing “popular anger”, the involvement, instigation and incitement theory can not be ruled out. Add to this the al Qaeda (which I presume has been leaked by ISI) and Lashkar efforts and the picture is complete. The 2008 Amarnath Yatra land dispute provided ideal opportunity to the detractors to start a rebellion which we see maturing now. The political mismanagement, bureaucratic malfeasance and an insensitive police have only helped the militant groups to strengthen their positions amongst the masses. That there are no terrorist strikes during these protests is a well structured policy to give credibility to the bleeding heart theory.
All this while the state and centre machinery looked askance at these signals of decadence. The political leadership made no efforts to reach out to the masses to assuage their feelings at various stages of the crisis. The opposition added fuel to the fire and as a result it was easy for the detractors to add fuel to the fire. There is a even a theory that PDP is fueling the protests with an eye on political mileage by discrediting the current government. Either way it shows poor political acumen on part of the Chief Minister.
There is an utter failure of intelligence machinery to keep a tab on the pulse of the people and gain information about involvement of Pakistan’s proxies. By the standards of the long-running conflict in Kashmir, the latest flare-up is relatively low key, involving mostly street protests, in contrast to the bloody militant attacks of previous years. It needs a multi dimensional and cohesive approach to handle the situation.This calls for a string of political, social and military initiatives launched simultaneously to stem the rot.
All organs of the State and Centre machinery have to galvanize their actions to see the larger picture and the game plan of Pakistan. If they have handed over or are sharing the cause with al Qaeda and its acolytes, there is a larger game plan.
Time we measured up to the nuances of this new game and learnt to play it well.