Image courtesy of medium.com
According to ‘The Edge of Violence’, a report by Jamie Bartlett, Jonathan Birdwell, Michael King, “there is a difference between terrorists and radicals. The path that some individuals take to a point at which they may be willing to kill others and themselves in the name of Islam is today’s most pressing security concern. Profile studies show that there is no such thing as a typical terrorist or a typical journey into terrorism. The journey into terrorism is often described as the process of radicalization.” However, to be radical is to reject the status quo — I consider myself a radical because of the drastic reforms I envision for the Muslim Community to get them out of the doldrums of the last few centuries. This means I am rejecting the status quo view of the majority of Muslims that there is nothing wrong with Islam.
So Bartlett, Birdwell, and King’s report continues to argue that radicalization or rejection of the status quo may not necessarily be in a violent or problematic manner. It is the radicalization that leads to violence and eventually to ‘al-Qaeda inspired terrorism’ which has many countries looking for ways to counter terrorism and deradicalize their youth. Building on their views, in my opinion, in the context of Kashmir, separating different types of radicalization is not an easy task, especially if the ideologies and goals overlap between radical groups — Islamist groups like the Hizb, LeT; religious conservative movements like the Wahabbis and Salafis; ultra-orthodox organizations like the Jamaat-e-Islam; and individuals like Zakir Naik, Brother Imran, Sharjeel Usmani. Umar Khalid types, etc.
Since it is a Western report, they believe that differentiating between the above-mentioned groups and individuals is important, otherwise tackling them with the same approach may end up alienating them and creating resentment for liberal democracies with its methods of tackling radicalization. It has been a long time strategy of Western countries dealing with the 9/11 tragedy, the London stabbings, Boston Marathon bombing, Madrid, USS Cole, Benghazi, etc to consider violent radicals as enemies but non-violent radicals as allies, an example being the Muslim Brotherhood and its fielded candidates like Linda Sarsour, Dalia Mogahed, Elhan Omar, etc.
But in my view, in Eastern countries, especially India under the siege of Pakistan-sponsored insurgencies and terrorism in Kashmir since 1989; in Punjab in the 80s; support to Maoist and Naxalite Movements; a border influx of illegal Rohingya; this doesn’t work because of the stretched anti-terrorism resources, and an already over-worked Army, Navy, Air Force. Repeated breaches of intelligence like the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks, Kargil War, the Kashmir insurgency, the Parliament Attack, Akshardham, Pathankot Airbase, Uri, Pulwama suicide-bombing, etc have also proven how easy it is to mobilize non-state actors like an army in the Digital Age and wage an Info-war, psyop-warfare and an asymmetrical war on a country surrounded by a nuclear nation and an expansionist “dragon”.
Non-violent radicals basically called Over-ground-workers (OWGs) serve as recruitment leaders who prey on impressionable minds with their Olympics of Oppression about Muslim victimhood, often targeting pubescent boys and girls, especially those from dysfunctional, poor families and those from elite families too with their smooth-talking orators, who have developed philosophical appearances and indulge in Muslim obscurantist techniques to lure the Ummah — an example being Anjem Chaudhary in London and the media-celebrated Jamia Millia -based or Aligarh -based alumni in India.
In their latest 2021 report, former Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice Madan B. Lokur and former Kashmir interlocutor Radha Kumar, who head the Forum for Human Rights in J&K, have warned that “human rights abuses will continue unchecked till J&K remains under a Lieutenant-Governor administration and without an elected government”. The report was released a day ahead of J&K completing two years as a Union Territory. It is common knowledge that on August 5, 2019, J&K’s special constitutional position was ended by the Centre and it was divided into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
The report says the counter-insurgency concerns continue to be given priority over the public, civilian, and human security. Why shouldn’t they be? Counter-insurgency is necessary to fight the ‘lashkars’ of men, either from Kashmir who crossed the border legally or illegally to get training in the PoK jihad camps; or Pakistan-origin ones, possibly some Afghan veterans of the Soviet-Afghan war too. This insurgency has long been planned by Pakistan since 1947, and “bleeding India with a thousand cuts” is the official foreign policy of the nuclear-armed ‘Army with a country’ to run by its selected political candidates. If we count the non-violent radicals and survey their views, they believe in the hard sharia laws about stoning for adultery, cutting off hands for thievery, lashings for blasphemy, and beheadings for apostasy (wajib-ul-qatl); the difference is they do not wield the AK-47s that the violent radicals do, but otherwise offer all sorts of assistance — logistical, moral, financial, etc, to them.
The report also alleged that the censorship on local media houses in coordination with security agencies had been institutionalized. Ironical that this observation came up a day before the security personnel apprehended Adil Farooq Bhat, a resident of Khrew, Pampore, a journalist working as sub-editor with CNS News Agency, for carrying 2 live grenades in his bag, which was meant for a terror activity before the Independence Day celebrations in the Union Territory. Since 1989, Kashmiri journalists have always sympathized with and eventually become the Intifada-factory — portraying the terrorists as militants, Mujahids, freedom fighters, resistance fighters, school-masters sons, austere, spiritual men waging war against an infidel country of ‘Endian banias’ who did not carry out the promised-plebiscite to the people.
This Intifada factory not only glamourized the terrorists but also demonized the pro-India individuals who understood the whole game plan of Pakistan, and its Non-resident Kashmiri network collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood abroad for anti-India sentiments on the ground of the Valley.; making it difficult for them to carry on with their lives. The majority of them got killed by terrorists with an epitaph of ‘mukhbir’ (informer), a number that Human Rights Violation ‘rudalis’ count as those killed by security forces, hence misleading the International Committees and the people of India too. Violations by the terrorists never count for the Interlocutor gangs, who are given the usual atrocity tourism tours, fed the Kashmiri cuisine, and sent packing with the manipulative and fudged up numbers to present India as an Occupying State rather than a Protective one focusing on the very “public, civilian and human security”.
The report recommended the release of all remaining political detainees and repeal of the PSA and other preventive detention legislation. All very well to say that in the protective confines of an atrocity tourism vehicle, surrounded by security, and then flown to the NCR and writing in an air-conditioned office to present before the people. Completely neglecting the fact that the political detainees are separatists-sponsored by Pakistan and its other Middle-Eastern allies, and political dynastic politicians and their minions who kept manipulating people — sometimes with their pro-India stance, then their half-separatism like Autonomy and then outright pro-Pakistan view opposing the nullification of Article 370 and 35A. Not to mention the political detainees, indulging in anti-terrorist activities like the charge sheet on PDP leader Wahid Parra.
It also called for the involvement of local communities in facilitating the return of Kashmiri Pandits. This part was almost like a rhetorical addition, knowing well that conditions are not conducive for the return of Kashmiri Pandits, and that local communities cannot guarantee the safety of those returning. The killing of Sarpanch Ajay Pandita “Bharti” in 2020; the assassination of Rakesh Pandita, Municipal Council Chairman and member of the BJP, Tral constituency, exactly one year later; the murder of Srinagar’s long-running Krishna Dhaba’s Aakash Mehra; and just this Monday the killing of a 68-year-old BJP leader Ghulam Rasool Dar and his 60-year-old wife Jawahira Bano, gunned down inside their own home. I doubt if these cases will figure in the Interlocutor gang’s report.
The thing is the liberal democracy of India has provided a safe space for Liberal-Leftists, conscientious citizens such as the ones on the Interlocutor’s team to be contrarian and develop followings and an academic status amidst the masses. They have not had to bear the brunt of living in a border state for decades where the neighboring country has sworn to break it up even if it takes a thousand years — targeting the Jammu border-area people and using the Kashmiri people as cannon fodder for their global narrative to create the Islamic Republic of Kashmir first and then India. These Interlocutors believe in the Western concept of non-violent radicals allies; overlooking their complicity and hand in the murder of native Kashmiris by violent radicals of the Hizbul-Mujahideen, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, The Resistance Front (TRF); currently claiming the killing of the couple in Anantnag district on 9 August.
Have the Interlocutors documented the cease-fire violations and the people killed, maimed, traumatized by the constant shelling on those people? Just because India doesn’t have an Iron Dome technology in its arsenal, it seems to have developed an Iron Dome on the heads of these so-called intellectuals drawn from law, military, activism, academia, and what not to speak for the Kashmiri people and contribute to the Intifada factory’s narrative of repression of the civil liberties of the Kashmiri public, compromising on their civilian and human security. The truth is the common Kashmiri relies on the security provided by the JKP, the CRPF, and the Army (jackboots on the ground, according to the Intifada factory and Pakistan DGISPR) for protection from the violent radicals (terrorists) and non-violent radicals (overground workers OWG) who threaten and coerce them into closing their shops to display manufactured consent for Azadi, or rejection of the nullification of Article 370.
Interlocutors should stay out of the conflict zone where the military and the police are involved in maintaining law and order and fighting terrorism. They best be debating violence, conflict, strife, ethnic cleansing, genocide, war, immigration, displacement, refugees, trauma, etc in their academic bastions, where they can merge facts to suit their theories, for the realities of a proxy war doesn’t suit their agenda and they end up misleading, misinforming, disinforming the young impressionable minds who end up as Urban-Naxals as one sycophant, much-celebrated, much-hated film director coined.
‘Al-Qaeda inspired’ terrorism
Under intense pressure since 2001, al-Qaeda no longer possesses a global organizational network. Its role is, instead, as ‘inciter in chief’ — al talia al ummah — the vanguard of the ummah. Bartlett, Birdwell, and King report, therefore, uses the phrase ‘al-Qaeda inspired’ to describe the various cases of terrorism that may have had negligible or no logistical or tactical interaction with al-Qaeda, but which have, nonetheless, bought into al-Qaeda’s narrative of global jihad, and affiliated themselves with al-Qaeda’s strategic objectives.