The Jihadist Great Game in Kashmir
From stone-pelting to Fidayeen attacks, Pakistani terrorists have hijacked Kashmir issue down the path to perdition. It is a war, Not a struggle
The nation is slowly absorbing the shock of the Pulwama Terrorist Attack! The initial reaction of utter disgust, distress and high octane emotions, is being replaced with a more pragmatic thought process. The effort now is to understand the tragedy in its entirety and to see how the future course of action may be charted. The political leadership, intelligentsia and domain experts are seized of the gravity of the situation. A wide-ranging discussions and exchange of ideas are being carried out in public as well as behind closed doors. The Government is assimilating the views of a large section of society before firming up its response.

At the very core of the discussion is the attempt to define the cause of the incident! Is it yet another act of terrorism in a region that is infested with the foreign-sponsored violence or is it something more than that? There is a consensus emerging towards defining the incident as a fallout of the larger idea of “Jihad” against the Indian state that has roots in Pakistan. Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a Pakistan based Jihadi organisation, has claimed responsibility for the attack. Ideologically, the JeM does not restrict itself to Kashmir alone. Its stated objective it to wrest Kashmir from the Indian state as a first step to “liberate the Muslims of the whole of India.” This implies ridding the entire region of all non-Muslims. The organisation is aligned with other fundamentalist and Muslim Supremacist militant organisations like Al Queda and Taliban. It calls its cadre Mujahid (Islamic Guerilla fighting against non-Muslims) and assures them a place in heaven with the attendant benefit of 72 Houris (virgins) for waging jihad against infidels.
It is pertinent to note here that though a Kashmir Muslim boy, Adil Ahmed Dar, was used as a so-called Fidayeen (suicide bomber), the operational planning was done by Ghazi Rasheed, a Pakistani Jihadi infiltrated by JeM into Kashmir to launch terrorist activities there. He has been killed along with two accomplices by the Indian army.
It is very important for us to understand the “Jihadist Great Game” being played out in Kashmir. Kashmir is definitely not witnessing a people’s movement to gain independence for which Pakistan (like a Good Samaritan) is providing “moral support.” It is being made a scapegoat in a devious and vicious plan to break up the entire Indian nation. The Kashmiri local boys who are entering the fold of terrorism are being indoctrinated with false promises simply to keep the pressure on India. They are merely cannon fodder in their overall game plan.
Pakistan sponsored Jihad in Kashmir has witnessed many Fidayeen attacks over the years. Almost all of them were carried out by Jihadists of foreign origin. That is because preparing a Fidayeen terrorist takes a lot of effort including physical conditioning, indoctrination, excellent physical fitness, military training etc. Fidayeens, therefore, are trained and sent from Pakistan. In this instance, a Kashmir Muslim boy, Adil Ahmed Dar, is being projected as a Fidayeen to give an impression of the so-called Kashmiri struggle graduating from stone pelting to the level of Fidayeen attacks. It is possible the Dar was drugged and hypnotised into performing the act and it may be a one off case. Be that as it may, the Indian agencies cannot preclude the possibility of the local movement graduating to a higher scale. If such is the case then corrective action needs to be taken immediately.
The Government of Pakistan, as usual, is at great pains to wash its hands off all responsibility for the attack. Its response follows a well-known script - troops movement to the borders to give an indication of readiness to meet any “military misadventure” by the Indian Army and followed by a briefing of foreign diplomats. The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council were engaged specially and Indian “allegations” linking the attack to the country were strongly rejected. Pakistan’s sophisticated propaganda machinery was then put into overdrive to portray India as an “Occupation Force” against whom the Kashmiris are revolting. Other propaganda themes included terming the attack as “a conspiracy to help Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi win the general elections.” Prime Minister Modi was also called “the face of an internationally notorious terrorist organisation (RSS).”The list is long and perfidious. Finally, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan came on television to read out a doctored script that, as is usual, asked the Indian Government to ‘actionable’ proof.
It is quite obvious that Pakistan is not going to take it lying down nor is it going to admit to the existence of jihadist factories on its soil. ! It is, in fact, ready to fight back every inch of the way on all fronts including the economic, diplomatic and military options that India would be considering. India, therefore, needs to be ready for the long haul for which patience and confidence in her abilities need to remain intact.
India has to acknowledge that the existing status quo is not in her favour and some out-of-the-box thinking is required. There is no room for complacency or procrastination. The world is not blind, it sees and understands everything but is not ready to interfere beyond a point. This also implies that the world will look the other way if India takes some corrective action.
We simply have ti fight on our own and bring to an end to this situation. The first step is to set our own house in order! The back of the foreign sponsored Jihadist movement (terrorism) in Kashmir needs to be ruthlessly broken and that too fast. While the militant wing is eliminated, the supporters and Over Ground Workers (OGWs) also need to be contained. The writing on the wall should be, “If you are not with us then you are against us.” There is no scope for a middle path.
There is no need to shy away from a military action against Pakistan if considered appropriate; it can also be limited and specific to a smaller area. It would be worthwhile to call the Pakistan’s nuclear bogey! Let the country, for once, go running for support from the international community as India has been doing all these year.
Let it be clear once and for all that all of this is not about Kashmir alone! It is about the entire Indian nation which is on the radar of the evil fundamentalist forces. Kashmiris should also understand that they are a mere pawn in the Jihadist Great Game and they would be sacrificed without remorse when the job is over. Without protection from India it will be reduced to a medieval existence with the women being their first casualties. It simply needs to look at Afghanistan to understand what a future without India would hold for it. It would be best for the region to understand the writing on the wall and not be exploited for an evil purpose.
(Jaibans Singh is a reputed analyst, columnist and author)