Facade of Normalcy by Indian Army in IIOJK: An Investigative Article

Aatish-e-Chinar. Posted by Kashmir Life

The Indian researchers have made an attempt to draw scales between the armed freedom fight and the military occupation. These researchers have, however, rightly identified India as aliens to the Jammu and Kashmir land and recognized the division of ‘us and them’.

The more interesting part is how every act of normalcy is being pushed by the molesting force itself.

    • The pacifying efforts started back in 1990s with the Sadbhavana Operation wherein the military invested a lot in social development of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir on one hand while the local killings peaked during the era. However, Occupier Army invested a budget of 40 million INR which increased to 5500 million INR in 2020. Operation Sadbhavana, also referred to as Operation Goodwill has been launched in Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian Army under their Military Civic Action programmes, which are aimed at “Winning the Hearts and Minds” (WHAM) of the people in the region. Operation Sadbhavana was officially launched in 1998, especially in rural areas near the Line of Control (LOC) where there was a heightened sense of alienation among the people of Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of India. Welfare initiatives under Operation Sadbhavana included infrastructure development, medical care, women and youth empowerment, educational tours and sports tournaments among other initiatives.
    • Around 2000 schools were in one way or other run by the Army where “modern” courses were incorporated, videos of which have surfaced in which the girls are given dance classes or young children made to chant the Hindu hymns.

    In a 1.45-minute video clip from a school in south Kashmir emerging earlier in September this year, students were seen singing ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ in classes as part of the preparation for the upcoming Gandhi Jayanti, a deliberate plan to push our young generation through state-run educational institutions towards apostasy and to wean them away from Islamic beliefs and identity to speed their so-called ‘integration’ with the Hindutva idea of India.

    • The national integration plan by the army is even more subtle. The college students, both male and female are encouraged to go on a “guarded” excursion where the young minds are baffled by the grandeur of Army Officers life. They are taught as to how India is preserving Kashmir and therefore any anti-India element should be reported to the “friendly” army men.

    In a report published by The Economic Times, students and teachers from various schools were exposed to a large spectrum of activities under the theme ‘Know Your Army’ over a week long tour. They visited Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts, interacted with the army personnel and got to experience life in the army. As per Gen Nimbhorkar, General Officer Commanding 16 Corps of Indian Army, this experience showed the young minds how the Indian Army soldiers ‘braved tough conditions every day in their endeavor to keep “peace” in the region’.

    • Occupier army has also used the carrot and stick model where medical camps and vocational camps are set in farther areas of occupied land such as Gurez and Ladakh region.

    In October this year, Border Security Force organized a medical camp near LoC in Gurez area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. The camp was organized in collaboration with Gaurav Pradhan Foundation, New Delhi at Higher Secondary School Izmarg of Gurez. During the camp, 6 civilian specialist doctors and 7 medical officers of BSF provided medical assistance including a medical check-up and free medicines to the people in the Valley. DIG BSF R K Sharma alongwith other BSF officers of Kanzalwan, Izmarg, Bagtore and adjoining areas were also present in the camp.

    • With the passive failure of Sadbhavana primarily because the army got exposed and turned out to be mastermind of major massacres in valley, the occupier turned to other projects.
    • Mission Reach Out was another attempt after Aug 2019. It was aimed at making the masses think that the statehood abrogation has brought the colonizing army closer to people.

    In this regard, high level “Mission Reach Out” Conference was held in the Nagrota Military Station, chaired by White Knight Corps Commander Lt Gen Paramjit Singh and was attended by Jammu Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma, members of civil administration, representatives of J&K Police, CRPF, BSF and intelligence agencies. It was aimed at bringing absolute synergy between Indian Army, civil administration and other security establishments.

    With the supposed distribution of rations, medical supplies and arrangement of sports events, the Indian army tried to infiltrate in every common activity such as cricket matches for females at Ganderbal, lake excursion trips of college students and mobile units checking at every house for Covid-19. It also attempted at facilitating people to speak to their relatives through army exchange and creating guarded environment for banks, ATMs, and hospitals to function.

    • Operation All Out (OAO) was a clean sweep action by the Army. By their own sources, the armed resistance recruitment had increased to 167 in 2020 as compared to just 53 in 2014. Even the recent quoted figures take the active armed fighter at 81 with continuous induction. The Army revealed its true face by mass killings, fake encounters and extra-judicial killings in past 3 years.

    Operation All Out, a joint offensive launched by Indian security forces in 2017 to flush out armed fighters in Kashmir, included the Indian Army, CRPF, Jammu and Kashmir Police, BSF and IB. It was launched against numerous groups including Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen and Al-Badr. The operation was initiated with the consent of Ministry for Home Affairs, Government of India following the outrage in 2016 due to the death of Burhan Wani. On 14 January 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik, said that there was no such thing as Operation All Out and that the phrase was a ‘misnomer’.

    • Operation All Out was pacified by influencing families of the resistance figures. Ashraf Khan Sehrai, prominent Hurriyat leader, was sensitized to dissuade his son from fighting. Mostly any fighter cornered in Gunfight was made to converse with his family to surrender.

    Indian army used this tactic in mid 90s to create a force of army informers and goons who were power hungry, later called ‘Ikhwans’. Ikhwan force, popularly referred to as the Ikhwan and locally known as “naabedh“, was a pro-government militia composed in part by surrendered Kashmiri fighters.

    The following report was published on an Indian site on the assassination of the leader of this later disbanded organization defining it as “India’s forgotten army”:

    “In the summer of 1994, those listening in to radio-frequency conversations in Jammu and Kashmir began coming across a decidedly cryptic one. “This is Bulbul“, the message would almost invariably go, “ask the Koel what song it will sing tonight.”

    `Bulbul‘, the Urdu word for the Asian song bird, was a mid-ranking military intelligence official working with troops of the 5 Rashtriya Rifles in Sumbal, near Bandipora. `Koel‘, the dark-coloured Cuckoo bird, was Mohammad Yusuf Parrey, better known by his alias `Kuka’ Parrey, the folk singer-turned-terrorist-turned-pro-India-militia leader-turned-politician.

    `Song’ was a coded reference to details about anti-terrorist operations in the hard-hit Bandipora belt, in northern Kashmir.”

    • Mission Pehal has been the latest venture in the WHAM theory. The army sector commanders started interacting with the local youth in different districts in in-camera sessions where youth are supposedly encouraged to ask “tough” questions which are apparently welcomed with a smiling face. A look at how this was portrayed by the mouthpiece journalists of the occupation:

    “Throughout the interactive session, the GoC Victor Force Major General Rashim Bali, 12 Sector Commander Brigadier Ajay Katoch and other Army officers, who responded to questions of the youths, remained calm and composed. Besides, articulating the Army’s response to the issues flagged by the Kashmiri youth, Major General Bali even told the young people that they should treat him like their father or elder brother. He said his son is also 25 years old, and that he would be there to help and resolve the issues facing young people. He also ordered that mobile phones shouldn’t be retained for more than 20 minutes and that the problems and hassles for the general public during security operations should be minimized to every possible extent.”

    Indian army then uses UAPA, PSA and satanic agencies such as SIA in order to sieve the youth.

    • The Indian army has also kept several prominent names on their payrolls. Lately, Kashmir Fight exposed some journalists who promote the Army narrative of normalcy while unabated killings continue costing 14-18 civilian lives every month. Videos of jawaans giving flowers to locals or being served noon chaey by locals are deliberately floated about.

    However, such videos got debunked on several occasions, such as when National Security Advisor Ajit Doval interacted with locals post-2019 apparently sharing a biryani.

    Well-known political commentator Salil Tripathi’s observations on these visuals are worth mentioning here:

    “The Modi government produces a lot of material to reach out to people but has shown little by way of listening to or letting un-vetted ordinary citizens speak. This shows a desire to control communication — not only what’s said but also what others can’t say, unless scripted. Starting with Modi, his ministers too have followed that cue. Doval’s surreal encounter with Kashmiri men nodding their heads vigorously is part of that pattern – where the camera angle is in ‘portrait’ and not ‘landscape’ format, which would have permitted us to see how many security officials were guarding the encounter, or if there were any ordinary folks looking on.”

    Similarly, videos from outskirt Kashmir valley surfaced where people were seen protesting that they did not know the army was there to grab their agricultural land.

    • Indian attempts of cultural imperialism, women commodification with fashion shows involving Kashmiri youth and soft punishments on drugs and other social crimes in exchange of information about ideological youth, changing curricula thru NCERT are all the underlying practices.

    A report published in ‘The Greater Kashmir” in April 2022 described:

    “The National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 proposes the revision and revamping of all aspects of the education structure, including its regulation and governance, to create a new system that is aligned with the aspirational goals of 21st century education, including SDG4, while building upon India’s traditions and value systems.

    Notably, the NCERT in the past would prepare the curriculum without any consultative meetings but post NEP-2020, the government has adopted a bottom to top approach to frame the curriculum.”

    The IOJK administration has devised a new film policy and a single window system to further facilitate and incentivize the process under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Film Development Council (JKFDC). Another torpedo to demolish the cultural fabric of the occupied territory has been the opening of a grand multiplex near the headquarters of the Indian Army’s 15 corps in a manned zone in Srinagar, apparently the first in a chain to be continued.

    The Print remarks on this advancement allowing an insight into the settler mindset:

    “A cinema hall in Kashmir isn’t just about entertainment and viewing habits. It is a tug of war between the conflict ecosystem and that elusive Kashmiri fragrance called ‘normalcy’. If it sells tickets, the government and the cinema owner hope, viewers will be voting with their feet against years of cyclical violence.”

    • The Jammu and Kashmir police was awarded the highest number of awards by the Centre, 108 so-called gallantry awards. Such tactics have also been used in settler-colonialism whereby settlers are given incentives to relocate to Kashmir.

    As per The Times of India,

    “Union home minister Amit Shah said that the government has decided to resettle all Pandits in the Valley by 2022 along with creating 25,000 jobs for the people there and train connectivity to the region.

    The minister said that the government provides Rs. 13,000 per month to the families of 44,000 Kashmiri Pandits who have relief cards. The government also provides free ration and has plans to settle them back in their houses in the Valley by 2022.”

    History has proven that whatever “peace” there may be in Kashmir at the moment is volatile. It is the slightest flare-ups that have contributed to mass protests and stone-pelting in the past, and if any such tensions happen again, people shall always look out of the Indian constitution.