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DEMYSTIFYING KASHMIR

by Navnita Chadha Behera

Excerpts:

p. 36
Nehru knew that a substantial number of locals from Poonch, the Jhelum Valley around Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, and adjoining Swat and Hunza were actively involved with the irregulars fighting the Indian army, and he was not keen to bring these people into India against their wishes. Since Sheikh Abdullah's influence did not extend to these areas, Nehru was willing to sacrifice them in order to strengthen Abdullah's position.

p. 61
One reason the Hurriyat had shied away from seeking political legitimacy in the electoral arena was that it lacked a mass base of support. It was also afraid of being purged by militants and was not sure it could win a majority.

p. 65
Why India did not take the war into Pakistan remains unclear. Some say that Mountbatten and his British army commanders, especially India's commander-in-chief, General M.C. Roy Bucher, were responsisble, and that to protect British strategic interests in Pakistan, they made sure India did not extend operations up to the Pakistan border in the Poonch and Mirpur districts. Bucher is said to have leaked the military plans to his colleagues in Pakistan, assuring them that he would not advance beyond specified positions and restraining India's army commanders from taking offensive military action against the adversary. Mountbatten and General Bucher foiled the Indian government's instructions for preparing contingency plans for a counterstrike across the Pakistani border, while prevailing upon Nehru to take the Kashmir issue to the United Nations. Bucher had insisted that a military stalemate was inevitable . . .

p. 96
The bottom line is that if the Musharaff regime had made up its mind to foreclose the jihad option of any kind, as it seems to have done in the case of al Qaeda and that organization's remnants in Pakistan, it would have moved to disarm extremist groups, block their sources of funding, and reduce their potential recruitment to marginalize them in the politcal process.

p. 126
Successive state governments were also accused of gerrymandering constituences to deny the Pandits due representation in the state assembly. For instance, the Pandit-majority localities of Rainawari, Habbakadal, and Karan Nagar in Srinagar city were fragmented, reducing them to insignificant parts of the contiguous Muslim-dominated constituencies.

p. 149
A favorite tactic [of militants] was to shoot security personnel in corded areas, provoking retaliation and the killing of innocent civilians.

p. 157
The Lashkar-e-Taiba declares: "We have taken an oath! . . . Be it Israel or India, America or Russia, U.K. or Serbia, we shall fight against the infidels."

p. 185
Many observers consider Sheikh Abdullah's dismissal by the Nehru government a prime factor in the alienation of Kashmir valley from the Indian State, little knowing that across the cease-fire line such events were almost a fact of everyday life.

p. 248
Beyond this public posture, however, most constituents in Azad Kashmir do not aspire to unite Kashmir because they have very negative memories of Valley-centric rule and also because their ethnocultural, linguistic, and religious lineage is very different from that of the Valley-based Kashmiri Muslims. Even those who demand a sovereign Kashmir do so because they resent Pakistan's exploitative policies and not because they consider themselves to be part and parcel of a unique Kashmiri identity.

p. 264
Just as Washington does not negotiate with al Qaeda, India cannot reason with the jihadis, who must be brought to justice.

 

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