Friday, September 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Grey areas in Kashmir policy: time for total war on terrorism

HARI JAISINGH'S observation (Frankly Speaking, Sept 6) that there is no clear cut Kashmir policy on the part of the Indian government is perfectly in order. Lack of a holistic strategy has always been visible in solving the Kashmir problem, which is becoming more and more complex and intricate with the passage of time.

No doubt the ceasefire announced unilaterally by the Prime Minister took many among the security forces by surprise. Before the ceasefire a cleansing operation was necessary. Flush out the militants first, carry out an all-out offensive against them prior to showing them an olive branch. A terrorist often misconstrues a peace overture as a sign of weakness. What had happened during the ceasefire was that terrorist channels had dried up because villagers were frightened.

There is an urgent need for enacting a new anti-terrorist law under which the Army should be given full powers to take whatever steps it deems fit to curb militancy in the valley.

There is an urgent need for giving free arms to the citizens who apprehend trouble from terrorists. The youths and other able-bodied persons should be given training for self-defence. So far New Delhi has been following a policy of appeasement and reconciliation, which has proved futile. There is a need for stern measures as stressed by the author. We should not forget that offence is the best defence. Deterrent measures are a must for successful combing operations against terrorism.


There is no reason to differ with the columnist that the people of Kashmir, both Hindus and Muslims, are fed up with terrorism. Instead of opening dialogue with the outlaws, let the armed forces take hold of the situation and deal with it in the best possible manner.


The ballet vs the bullet: Hari Jaisingh's article depicts the ground reality prevailing in the valley, especially with regard to his remarks about the role being played by the USA.

In fact, the war against terror declared by the USA after September 11 attacks is losing momentum day by day due to its ever-changing priorities. Why did the Bush Administration abandon the course it set for itself almost a year ago, when President Bush promised to fight war against terrorism around the globe? Now he is concentrating on invasion of Iraq.

A new UN study says that al-Qaeda is by all accounts "fit and well" and poised to strike again. Acting upon this latest threat perception, the USA should immediately strike their safe haven in occupied Kashmir and help India bring about peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by holding free and fair assembly elections. No doubt, Pakistan will make every effort to disrupt the election process by intensifying the infiltration and killing of innocent people on a mass scale, in order to keep them away from the elections. It is for America to ask Pakistan strongly to stop infiltration and shelling immediately in order to ensure the conduct of free and fair elections and "victory of the ballet over the bullet".


Demolish camps: Cross-border terrorism in Pakistan's game plan is to focus world attention on the Kashmir issue. True, Pakistan has trained terrorists and militants in a warfare that is of recent origin. They have been trained in the use of sophisticated weapons like AK-47 rifles and rockets etc to wage a proxy war in the valley. But India has left no stone unturned to contain terrorism.

India has never given importance to the outbursts of the separatists Hurriyat Conference leaders that any dialogue between India and Pakistan must include the Hurriyat Conference. There seems something hush-hush when Islamabad or the Hurriyat leaders talk about the "Kashmiris’ right to self-determination". Now the time is ripe to attack and demolish terrorists' training camps on the neighbour's soil. The utterances of the Hurriyat leaders smack of separatism and secessionism. The time has come to silence the pro-Pakistan voice of the Hurriyat Conference with an iron hand, once and for all.

IQBAL SINGH, Bijhari, Hamirpur

Shrewdness: Our leadership must follow the Machiavellian principle that the end justifies the means and that the ruler must combine qualities of the lion & the fox, which means mixing boldness with shrewdness. This is the only way to compel Pakistan to see reason. Now our Prime Minister is in America to urge Mr Bush to counsel Pakistan to behave and already we have told the US leaders that violence-free assembly poll in J&K is a litmus test of Pakistan’s intentions to deal with terrorism. I agree with Hari Jaisingh that the key to the Kashmir issue lies in Washington.

After sometimes we may negotiate with Musharraf. Any settlement must give Pakistan something without disabling India while providing comfort to Kashmiri people at the same time. Our own follies have ensured Pakistan a larger presence in J&K than would have been the case otherwise. The settlement could be the conversion of the LoC into an international border. Plebiscite has long ceased to be a viable option. Many surveys have revealed that the majority of the Kashmiris want to remain as Indian citizens.

K.L. BATRA, Yamunanagar

Displaced Kashmiris

While on the one hand we have failed to evolve a definite policy on Kashmir vis-a-vis Pakistan's nefarious support to the terrorist and separatist element in the valley, on the other we have given undue consideration to organisations like the Hizbul Mujahideen and the All Party Hurriyat Conference, which have been taking instructions from their mentors across the border. Instead of persuading the displaced Kashmiri people to return to their homes in an atmosphere of security and economic development, we have only tried to appease these terrorist organisations.

Whatever we may say or do, Kashmir will remain an open festering wound on our body politic, unless we take a determined stand to eliminate the terrorists and their camps in the valley with a firm and decisive resolve. Let us stop taking instructions from the USA, whose major concern is not to help India and Pakistan solve their disputes but to keep its presence felt in the region. Even with the latest bomb blast by the al-Qaeda to eliminate H. Karzai in Afghanistan, the USA may not realise that Pakistan is a rogue state & will never stop its support to international terrorism. It is time, now or never, as even the USA has rubbished Pak propaganda of calling Kashmir elections a farce, that we must ruthlessly wage a war against terrorism; persuade Kashmiri refugees to return to their homes and we should work for a fast & healthy economic growth in the region. We must learn that ad hoc measures and patch-work solutions only complicate the issue.



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