Monday, August 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Hizb ceasefire: why this euphoria?

ABDUL Majid Dar, the so-called operations commander of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in the Kashmir valley, announced a ceasefire a few days back. It appears from media reports that everybody in this country has gone euphoric, specially the media analysts, opinion makers and various political leaders. There are statements galore welcoming the ceasefire decision.

It is a fact that till about five years ago the Hizb was a dreaded militant outfit. It was created in 1989 by the ISI of Pakistan to counter the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a militant outfit which stood for complete independence of J&K. The Hizb-ul-Mujahideen wanted complete merger of J&K with Pakistan.

The ISI at a certain stage started building up the Hizb and weakening the JKLF. The Hizb militant cadre began growing at a very fast pace. Arms and funds were generously supplied to the Hizb, and the JKLF was totally ignored.

The JKLF gradually became bereft of cadres, arms and money. Our security forces fell into the trap of the ISI and the Hizb. Cadres of the Hizb became the sources of our security forces and they got the JKLF cadres eliminated in a big way. Our commanders in the field, just to show results, took this bait and went the whole hog against the JKLF and spared the Hizb totally. With the result that the JKLF had to announce a unilateral ceasefire and later joined the Hurriyat Conference.


During this period I was the seniormost BSF officer in J&K.

Before the ceasefire the Hizb was placed in a more or less similar situation. This militant outfit is still for the merger of J&K with Pakistan. But it was never a group of fanatic warriors. Since the Hizb totally consisted of Kashmiri youth it continued to have some kind of an emotional attachment to this land. In our operations against them, they would surrender when overpowered.

The situation changed when foreign mercenaries started entering the valley, from 1991 onwards. They were inveterate and totally committed jehadis. They started engaging security forces in encounters and inflicting casualties.

Even if they were outnumbered and overpowered, they would prefer to get killed rather than surrender. It was so because they had left their homeland and there was no possibility of their going back to their own country. Moreover, they were jehadis who had come to the Kashmir valley “for the liberation of a Muslim land from kafirs”.

These jehadis started having reservations about Hizb-ul-Mujahideen activists, who were all Kashmiris. Earlier these foreign mercenaries were operating under the Hizb operational commanders. Slowly and slowly, these jehadis took over the operational command, and Hizb militants were left to work as their guides and carriers of weapons. The Hizb ceased to be a force to reckon with. As we all know, militant outfits like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and the Jaish-e-Mohammed are calling the shots these days.

It is in such a situation that the Hizb jumped at the idea of a unilateral ceasefire. It is a golden opportunity given by someone to the Hizb to occupy the centrestage and hog the limelight in India and in the rest of the world. What better thing could have happened to the Hizb? It has gained in stature.

The Hizb has no clout with any other militant outfit as has been amply proved by the recent unprecedented spate of killings perpetrated by other Pakistan-sponsored terrorist outfits.

My point is not that we should have outrightly rejected the ceasefire offer. But there was no need to go gaga. It should have been a low-key affair and dealt with from a position of strength.

formerly, Director-General of Police, Punjab

Of Unified Command

The series of massacres of innocent civilians in Jammu and Kashmir by militants has shocked not only India but also the rest of the world, and everyone excepting Pakistan, which is behind all this, has condemned these killings.

It is not only surprising but also shocking that the government has not taken measures to strengthen the Unified Command of the security forces. The police and the paramilitary forces are neither trained nor equipped, nor motivated to tackle insurgency, which is assuming the proportions of a guerrilla war. There can be more massacres of poor civilians if the Unified Command is not strengthened.

The Centre wants civilian control over Kashmir to boost the elected government’s morale. Meetings of the Unified Command are presided over by the Chief Minister. However, in his absence, no one knows who should preside over the Unified Command. The Army Corps commander rightfully makes his claim, but the police and paramilitary Director-General feels that it is his right. Then there is one more confusion: the state government wants its Chief Secretary to preside over the Unified Command. In this confusion, Pakistan will obviously have the last laugh.

The solution lies in the Army being given independent control of the counter-insurgency operations in the valley and the Rashtriya Rifles expanded. The police and the paramilitary forces should be put under the Army command when it comes to carrying out internal security duties for which they are trained and well equipped. Unified Command Headquarters must be revived by putting a senior Army commander in charge and accountable. Better coordination between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs is required urgently. One does not know what our Home Minister or the Defence Minister talk or do.

Col P. K. VASUDEVA (retd)

How to tame Pakistan

One of the important lessons that we can learn from the Kargil episode is that so far we do not have any pro-active policy which can deter Pakistan from following its terrorist activities; defeating its army in the three wars has failed to be effective.

On Kargil Day I tried in vain through the statements of our leaders and the commentaries in our newspapers to find out if there was enough of awareness about this shortcoming. Even the Subrahmanyam Committee report does not suggest the adoption of any such policy.

The only way to avoid Kargil-II is to keep ready a tunnel connecting the Chenab and the Ravi somewhere in Himachal Pradesh.The idea is not to grab Pakistani water but only to make it behave properly.

The importance of this novel and non-violent weapon is to be viewed in the perspective of the happenings in the last 50 years and the likely trend in the next 100 years. All said and done, what does India lose by adding this weapon to its armoury. On the positive side, it has the potential to be as effective for India as the Great Wall of China was for China.

It is for the media of the country to popularise it by educating the masses and the government about its advantages. If it is brought to the notice of the Subrahmanyam Committee or such other bodies, it is sure to gain acceptance by the government.


Veerappan threat

Veerappan, the sandalwood smuggler and brigand, has quietly taken away Kannada cine actor Rajkumar. Senior police officers of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have said that they have halted the operation to arrest Veerappan. This is a big joke because the all-out efforts by these states’ police forces have not been able to reach near Veerappan during the last several years.

A killer of dozens of alleged police informers, policemen and hundreds of tuskers has been calling the shots unchallenged. The governments during the past 50 years have been prostrating before the hijackers and kidnappers. No government thought it desirable to train our men in the methods which are needed to fight terrorists in a befitting manner.

Only a force of dedicated volunteers, if put through a specialised training under well-known instructors in anti-terrorist operations, can deal with terrorists effectively. Our Army, which have been put on this duty, is the least conversant with the war tactics needed to deal effectively with terrorists.

About the paramilitary forces and the state police it can be safely said that they should not be deployed on such sensitive duties. Intelligence agencies of any country can play a very useful role in tackling terrorism, but unfortunately our intelligence networks have repeatedly failed the nation.

The long and successful rule of the British in India was possible because of their effective network of the Indian Political Intelligence (IPI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).



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