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“Kashmir 2014: A Review and Prognosis”



The Internal Security Centre at IDSA conducted a talk by Lieutenant General Syed Ata Hasnain (retd) on 06 January 2014 on the topic “Kashmir 2014: A Review and a Prognosis”. Gen Hasnain provided a strategic review of the Kashmir situation through the 1990s and 2000-2013 followed by a prognosis for the period 2014-18. This involved analyzing key concerns like the effect of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) withdrawal on Kashmir, issues pertaining to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K and the need to take Operation Sadbhavna to the next level.

Followings are the key points brought out by the speaker in his talk:

Highlighting the strategic importance of Kashmir, Gen Hasnain argued that it is important to keep in mind the October 1947 ‘Instrument of Accession’ and the 1994 joint resolution of the two houses of the Parliament, asserting the idea that the whole of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) is an integral part of India. Having said that, he laid emphasis on changing the narrative for Kashmir against established narratives and then went on to analyze Kashmir’s current status and where is the situation heading.

After years of antipathy and anguish, many people claim victory in Kashmir today. But the question is, can a victory be declared when there isn’t even an articulated political and military aim? Gen Hasnain felt that while a military aim existed in vague terms, a political aim in Kashmir has been eluding for long possibly because of the unclear external and internal dynamics. . Militarily, infiltration has been taken care of and every year the numbers of successful infiltrators in the valley are dwindling – all thanks to the Line of Control (LoC) fence which was constructed in 2003-4 that changed the mathematics of terror; more terrorists being eliminated than the numbers that could successfully infiltrate. Politically, however, he stated that there is a long way to go and the Army would have to continue to be the lead agency in supporting and rebuilding efforts; this is because of the outreach that it has and the organizing will and zeal to bring normalcy in Kashmir. No other agency has the strength and capacity to pursue the agenda of simultaneously preventing terrorist revival and stabilization. However, the Army’s presence and lead status will always be exploited by inimical elements to question the Government’s intent and resolve to integrate Kashmir. Continuing antipathy towards the Indian establishment, disappointment in governance, unresolved issues of thousands of surrendered terrorists, failure to take stock of the youth, and most importantly the growth of radicalization in Jammu and Kashmir, will continue to add to the negativity surrounding the transition.

Therefore, it may be wrong to assume that the role of the Army is over. While the Army’s place at the remote LoC is well accepted its continuing presence in the urban hinterland is hotly contested by local political parties, ideologues, separatists, intellectuals and human rights activists. In this context, Gen Hasnain conveyed his perception that the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) (which largely manages the hinterland) was raised not only for a militaristic purpose but also for a larger national aim of integrating the Kashmiris with India politically, socially, economically and most importantly, psychologically. The demand for a drawdown of the RR is likely to gather strength in the near future but must not be accepted until completion of the full integration process is completed. He stated that thus far the Army has done its work well; however, it has been successful in eliminating the terrorists but not terrorism in J&K.

Further, while talking about Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Hasnain prompted at certain conditions that had first demanded its creation – Pakistan sponsored terrorism, protection of all communities (for instance the Kashmiri Pandits) and symbols of national pride. Highlighting the fact that most of these conditions have still not been met he did not see the logic of getting rid of AFSPA. Moreover, even the army can only expect its soldiers to function best once it guarantees legal protection in case of inadvertent mistakes and empowerment to co-conduct operations without reference. As far as the human rights issues are concerned, it would be important to keep in mind that in an active Counter Insurgency environment, a good number of cases can fall prey to manipulation, which only puts immense pressure on the Army, diverting its attention.

What should be done necessarily to avoid falling for these manipulative triggers? To begin with, the answer most importantly lies in perception management. The army needs to get its perceptions correct. It has to change its narrative and show every Kashmiri that the army is not the enemy of the people. Operation Sadbhavana has to move forward to build a more people-oriented approach where dignity and self-esteem of the average Kashmiri is accentuated. And this can be done, for instance, by managing the force ethos and keeping in mind the cultural sensitivities of the people. The Army therefore needs to pay much more attention towards cultural training of its rank and file so as to respect the sensitivities of the local population.

Overall, for Gen Hasnain, militarily the situation is under control. It is unlikely that 2014 will be a template similar to 1989 (when the Soviet Army withdrew from Afghanistan), and ISAF withdrawal is unlikely to lead to a major influx of foreign terrorists; the security forces just need to ensure that the overall terrorist counts do not rise. What is perhaps more dangerous is that there still is a potential for violence, which is constantly being fuelled by anti-India sentiments and cries of separatist radicalism amongst the people. However, the state can take stock of this situation, mainly by outreach and a greater connectivity between Delhi and Srinagar. True victory will only be achieved when every Kashmiri will start considering himself as an Indian.

Key points that were raised during the discussions:

One of the major factors furthering conflict in Kashmir is the huge amount of financial assistance from outside India for various radical and fundamentalist purposes.

More often major focus from the security, political and development discourses have always been concentrated on Kashmir valley whereas the areas like Jammu and Ladakh are hardly attended. There is a need to address the issues in these areas as well.

Points were raised regarding the status of Kashmir Pandits and their return to the valley. This aspect necessarily puts a question mark on the inclusiveness of the Kashmiri society these days.

It has been felt that there rules a sense of victimization among the Kashmiris by the state of India in general and by the Army in particular. This perception, most of the time, over rules all the good intentions of the state establishment.

Many outside Kashmir have a feeling that the problem in Kashmir is a self-created one. There are vested interests of the power elite in the state, which as believed by many, tries to keep the conflict in continuity.

[Report Prepared by Husanjot Chahal]

Originally published by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (

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Karnataka’s Cong Government Seeks Separate Religion Status for Lingayats

Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion and seek approval from the Centre for the same. 



Karnataka’s Siddaramaiah-led Congress government has decided to recognise Lingayats as an independent religion (from Hinduism) and seek approval from the Centre for the same. The decision was taken after a cabinet meeting and consultation with Lingayat seers.

The Cabinet took the decision to accept recommendations of the Justice Nagamohan Das Committee, which had asked the state to accord a separate religion tag to the Lingayats.

If recognised as a minority religion, the Lingayats will be able to avail of benefits under Section 25, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

What makes the timing of the move particularly suspicious is that Karnataka is just about two months away from elections and Lingayats, who currently form 17% of Karnataka’s population, is a major vote bank for political parties.

In the recent decades, the Lingayats have emerged as strong supporters of the BJP. Experts suggest that if a separate religious status is granted to the community, the BJP will have a tough time explaining its ideological stance based on Hindu solidarity. Former Chief Minister and current CM candidate of the BJP, BS Yeddyurappa, is also from the Lingayat community.

The Congress, predictably, hopes to gain much from the desired branching.

The agitation is not a new one – and has forever revolved around a single core question viz., who are the Lingayats and what precisely is their religious identity?

Who are the Lingayats:

The tradition of Lingayatism is known to have been founded by social reformer and philosopher Basavanna in 12th century Karnataka. While there exists a debate around whether Basavanna founded the sect or if he merely reformed an existing order, there can be no doubt that under him the community acquired the form of a well-organised, structured mass movement. Followers of the sect continue to revere him as the founder and prime philosopher of their religion.

Social reformer and philosopher Basavanna (Wikimedia Commons)

Basava grew up in a Brahmin family with a tradition of Shaivism. As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.

Basavanna’s vision of a societal order was one based on human freedom, equality, rationality, and brotherhood. He and his followers spread their ideas through vachanas (prose-lyrics) and their prime target was the caste hierarchy which they rejected with full force. In one of his vachanas, Basavanna asserts that “the birthless has no caste distinctions, no ritual pollution.”

Lingayat sect first emerged within the larger trend of Bhakti movements that had swept across South India from the 8th century AD onwards.

The Bhakti tradition was a social reform movement that took birth within Hinduism but strove to rectify what the followers saw as the unjust practices within the tradition.

But, historians like K Ishrawaran say that while the conventional Bhakti movements remained adjacent to the Hindu system, Lingayatism challenged the system in its most basic form and became a highly structured movement.

Other historians say that the most striking feature of this institutionalisation was that unlike other Bhakti movements, Lingayat status was hereditary in nature!

The desired differences aside, however, the one aspect that indicates the association of Lingayatism with Hinduism is the former’s relationship with Veerashaivism.

Veerashaivism is also a Shaiva sect within Hinduism and is predominantly located in Karnataka. It’s supporters claim that Basavanna was not the founder of the Lingayat tradition, but rather a reformer of an already existing religious tradition called Veerashaivism.

The Veerashaivas accept the Vedic texts and almost all Hindu practices.

Moreover, despite insisting upon the contrary, Lingayatism, quite like Jainism, does assimilate many aspects of Hinduism that are influenced by or drawn from the Upanishads and the Vedic traditions.

The close associations that the Lingayat followers share with Hinduism, both sociologically and historically, thus make it a complicated case of to be or not be Hindu.

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NIA Files Charge Sheet Against ISI Agent for Blackmailing Indian Army Lady Officer



Today (12th of March 2018) NIA filed a charge sheet before the NIA Special Court, Patiala House, New Delhi against accused Mohd Parvez in case no. RC-21/2017/NIA/DLI.

The allegations are that accused had sent obscene and morphed WhatsApp images and messages from a mobile phone and Facebook ID with a veiled threat to circulate them on social media, to the complainant (a woman), thereby causing mental harassment to her as well as threatening to ruin her reputation.

The woman, a colonel in the Indian Army posted in Delhi, complained to the Delhi Police. The case was handed over to the NIA.

This was done in pursuance of a deep-rooted conspiracy hatched by Pakistani Intelligence officials and the arrested accused with a view to compromise an officer of the Indian Army into divulging national security secrets.

The incident was reported in mid-September. By the end of the year, the case came to the NIA. In less than three months, the charge sheet has been filed. The woman officer told investigators that the man approached her with the alias Ikta Sharma.

Parvez, who lived in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, was known to frequent Pakistan and had multiple SIM cards.

The charge sheet has been filed against accused MOHD PARVEZ, 43 years, a resident of 1867,
Gali Patte Wali, Sui Walan, Chandni Mahal, Delhi-110006 under section 120B read with sections 123, 354D, 417, 418, 420, 468, 471, 506 and 507 of IPC and sections 66E and section 67 of IT Act and substantive offences under sections 123, 354D, 417, 418, 420, 468, 471, 506 and 507 of IPC, sections 66E and 67 of IT Act 2000 and section 18 of UA(P) Act 1967.

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Maoists Deploying Pressure Mines

On February 7, 2018, one personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was injured in a pressure mine blast.



Pressure mines may not be lethal, but can certainly decapitate a person. On February 7, 2018, one personnel of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was injured in a pressure mine blast in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, near Dhanora.

For over more than a decade, Naxalites of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Maoists in short, have been widely deploying pressure mines, especially in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, as well as in other parts where they operate.

Speaking on May 16, 2006, the then district police chief of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, said: “These mines will kill anyone who steps on them. The mine doesn’t distinguish between a policeman and a civilian. It is also for the first time in the country that the Visakhapatnam police have unearthed pressure mines.”

The intended target is security force personnel on patrol. While on duty, the fear of a blast constantly lurks in his mind and he has to be very cautious while walking; this is a distraction. If he is careless, he might get injured and lose a limb permanently; occasionally he may also die. An injured security force personnel is more expensive for the state as it raises the cost of fighting the rebels; the injured person has to be tended to and a replacement found.

Besides, innocent civilians and cattle have also been victims of pressure mines. During a visit to Bastar some years ago, this author met a school teacher, Triveni Devangana, in Narayanpur who had been injured by a pressure mine. The teacher was riding her moped very near the school when a pressure mine got triggered a mere three feet away from her. The mine had been planted adjacent to a bore well with a view to target security forces personnel who normally halt there to quench their thirst. But a young cattle-herd had found the device and it exploded when he began fiddling with it. Devangana lost sight in the right eye, suffered partial damage in the left eye and received severe burn injuries in the face.

A mother of two children and a Sahitya Ratna in Hindi, her family of modest economic means spent Rs 1.1 lakh for her treatment. The Maoists did not even care to ‘apologise’, which they do occasionally when innocent civilians fall victim to their violence.

It is sad and abhorring that the unintended targets of Maoist violence have often been civilians and innocent, speechless, animals. On a number of occasions, cattle grazing in the forest have been killed or injured in pressure mine blasts. There is no count of the number of cattle killed in these incidents.

Typically, a pressure mine is made by placing TNT or other explosives in a small, spherical container and attaching a blasting cap at the top of the container. The size of the blast depends upon the size of the container and the amount of explosive material packed inside. Pressure bombs are made with readily available materials and can be simple or complex; it all depends on the fabricator’s choice. “These bombs are easy to conceal. They are planted just below the surface of the earth. The pressure that a person would exert when he or she steps on it accidentally while walking normally is all that is needed to trigger-off an explosion.”, a senior Superintendent of Police told this author during an interview in July 2007.

The Maoists have gone a long way in indigenously and ingeniously fabricating weapons. Lately, they have developed crude rocket launchers that are not accurate but have “nuisance value”. Their arsenal now consists of a melange of weapons – 4,000 regular and another 6,000 country-made. These include sophisticated weapons such as SLRs, AK series rifles, INSAS rifles looted from the security forces, and weapons such as tapanchas that they have fabricated in their production units.

While the Maoists have beaten a tactical retreat, they are still a formidable force with an estimated 4,000 armed underground cadre spread across 106 districts in 10 States. The core is still intact. While some members of the apex and all-powerful Central Committee have been arrested, killed in encounters, or surrendered, the Central Military Commission, presently consisting of six members, which guides all armed activity, is intact. (A seventh member Jinugu Narasimha Reddy alias Jampanna surrendered to the police on December 22, 2017).

Therefore, there can be no room for complacency. The government’s four-pronged approach of security, development, public perception management and ensuring the rights and entitlement of local communities needs to be implemented earnestly and, more importantly, its monitoring has to be rigorous.

Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of League of India or of any of its partners.

Originally published by Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses ( here

P. V. Ramana

P V Ramana is Research Fellow at IDSA. A student of South Asian studies, he works on the Naxalite-Maoist movement in India. He is the editor of a book entitled The Naxal Challenge (2008), and author of the book Understanding India’s Maoists: Select Documents (2014).

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