India’s ‘amnesty’ to Pakistan-based Kashmiri rebels

February 12, 2010

The Indian government has for the first time offered amnesty to hundreds of Kashmiris who had crossed over to the Pakistani part of Kashmir and are now willing to surrender and return home.

Thousands of Kashmiris have slipped into Pakistan-administered Kashmir for arms training since an anti-India insurgency broke out twenty years ago.

A Kashmiri man rides a bicycle past a closed shop during a strike in Srinagar June 1, 2009. REUTERS/Fayaz KabliHundreds have returned and joined Muslim rebel groups, many died on a rugged military control line while sneaking into the Indian side and many more are still living in different parts of Pakistan or Pakistani Kashmir.

Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has said anyone willing to give up militancy and return is welcome home.

The amnesty for those who want to return home could be a major confidence-building measure in a bid to soothe anger in Kashmir, where recent civilian deaths, blamed on security forces, have fuelled anti-India sentiment.

BBC says there is no guarantee that the government of Pakistan would co-operate in any scheme to repatriate the Kashmiri militants.

But India may take up the amnesty issue with Pakistan at foreign secretary-level talks.

There was no comment from separatists but leading pro-India political parties in Kashmir have backed the initiative to help Kashmiri youth return.

Chidambaram’s statement comes a day after Indian troops, in a rare confession, said one of their soldiers had shot dead an innocent, a killing which triggered massive anti-India protests across Kashmir.

Human Rights Watch says the arrest of the soldier suspected of killing a teenager could be an important step by Indian forces to curtail abuses by security forces in the disputed region.

Amnesty for rebels and the arrest of the soldier could ease a recent spike in tensions in Kashmir, where hundreds of people have been injured in pitched street battles between government forces and rock-pelting crowds protesting “innocent killings.”

Is India, after a series of mistakes, trying to win back Kashmiris and heal scars of violence?


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Bharat’s illegitimate occupation continues to be a curse for Kashmir. We now have three generations of our youths decimated – – hundreds of thousands dead, four times as many injured, and a whole nation traumatized. Kashmir continues to see its parents grievously wounded, its children eternally orphaned, and the psyche of the entire peoples indelibly troubled. The Kashmiris continue to count their fallen, their injured, their tortured, their disappeared, and their raped. They continue to see their blooming tulips- – Wamiqs and Zahids – – smothered prematurely. They continue to see the violators of their roses- – Nelofer Jans and Asiya Jans- – go unpunished.

Kashmir’s prolonged agony is a saga of thousands of rapes, hundreds of disappearances, and countless extrajudicial killings. It is a saga of torture of individuals and collective punishments for the entire population through deceitful curfews and crippling restrictions. It is the saga of an entire population circumscribed by concertina wires.

It is a saga of highway blockades and communal onslaughts. It is a saga of terrorized Kashmiri students and businessmen in India. It is a saga of the military and police brutalities. It is a saga of treacherous fifth columnists of Kuka Parrey’s and Muma Kanna’s shame. It is a saga of electronic media clamp downs, and murderous assaults on the print journos. It is a saga of blinkered patriotism of the Indian media.

This entire despicable display of the India’s state sponsored terrorism against the rebellious population has occurred on the watches of the likes of the deceitful Abdullahs, the treacherous Bukshis and the serpentine Muftis. Kashmir has been converted into a fortress on directions of the brutal Jagmohans, shameless Saxenas and communal Sinhas. All this barbarity to Kashmiris has happened under the watchful eyes of our own lowly politicians- – the self-serving agents of NC, PDP and Congress.

And all this misfortune has been heaped upon Kashmiris with the singular aim of subduing them into submission, in the purported need of maintaining the territorial integrity of Bharat. It has been becoming increasingly clear to the Indians in the recent months, that Bharat has not won Kashmir, and it cannot retain it for long.

Although, India has worked hard to dehumanize and terrorize Kashmiris, it has effectively alienated even those few in Kashmir who are least interested in freedom. It has made no inroads into the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris. Since the Indians have not learned appropriate lessons from their Jalianwala Bagh, they are doomed to witness the consequences of this historical omission- – slowly but surely.

They have chosen to ignore the admonition of one of their foxiest- – Jawahar Lal Nehru, who on June 26, 1952 said in the Lok Sabha: “… it is the people of Kashmir who must decide. And I say with all respect to our Constitution that it just does not matter what your Constitution says; if the people of Kashmir do not want it, it will not go there….The alternative is compulsion and coercion… the decision… ultimately lies with…[the] people in Kashmir, not…with [the Indian] Parliament.”

Continuing to churn out his wisdom, this Machiavellian architect of Kashmir’s ongoing tragedy observed: “Do not think you are dealing with a part of U.P., Bihar or Gujarat. You are dealing with an area, historically and geographically, and in all manner of things [different]… We have to be men of vision and there has to be broad minded acceptance of facts… [that] real integration comes of the mind and the heart and not of some clause which you may impose on other people.”

Did you note the words “other people”? Nehru had quite rightly figured the ultimate fate of illegitimate occupation of Kashmir. More than sixty years on, India has not won the Kashmiri’s hearts, nor have the Kashmiris changed their minds. The Kashmiris continue to remain the ‘other people’ for India. Even to Nehru, Kashmir was not India.

The delusional political, bureaucratic and military Babus in New Delhi, and their equally dishonest representatives in Kashmir, continue to believe that India can retain Kashmir at gun point. And, the Kashmiris continue to resist- – with their life, limb and honour- – the occupier’s ill-conceived temptation.

Who will ultimately prevail is not debatable: The garden of our freedom has been watered by the blood of our sons and the honour of our daughters. This unfortunately mounting toll of our fallen tulips and tarnished roses will not go waste. No self-respecting people will allow the martyrs’ blood go waste.

Both, the time-honoured verdicts of history, as well as the long ignored Nehruvian realization, continue to be valid for Kashmir: No people can be occupied against their wishes for long, no matter what the strength or the nature of the onslaught by the occupier.

Posted by shazeb2010 | Report as abusive

there is long way to go for India before it starts winning back Kashmiris. Of course India in past has committed series of blunders but if New Delhi thinks by granting amnesty to militants who in Azad Kashmir, they will strengthen their rule in Jammu and Kashmir, this will be their another blunder. India will have to address the problem and solve dispute over Kashmir.

Posted by drshugufta | Report as abusive

Amnesty to militant and arrest of soldier are welcome steps but what about the resolution of the dispute. India and Pakistan are on logger heads and the reason is Kashmir. If India realty wants to win back kashmiris they should respect their aspirations and give an honorable exit from the current crisis. Kashmiris have paid heavily in past 20 years and New Delhi should seriously think about giving them a face saving.

Posted by bhat1234 | Report as abusive

In the coming talks between India and Pakistan, Pakistan has made it clear that Kashmir dispute will definitely be up for discussion. Nothing will work unless the dispute is settled between India and Pakistan. The threat of renewed insurgency will always remain unless the problem is solved according to the wishes of Kashmiri muslims who have suffered at the hands of Indian Army.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Another Hit n Trial applied. Now wait for the results. It has been an ever ending tryst of GOI to apply these trial methods in Kashmir. But its too late for the government to appease the people with policies. People want results to settle the dispute not controversial policies.

Posted by emm99 | Report as abusive

Its a good thing. At least those people who want to return to normal life will not have to fear
the government provided the government don’t make it necessary for them to join mumma kana gang.

Posted by osman98 | Report as abusive

Well something good from MHA. Shri P.C really seems to be a promising minister of India who actually wants to see resolution of Kashmir and NE problems. Taking some bold and positive steps although he knows that opposition parties will oppose anything. Taking a complete advantage of its near majority. But at the same time i would like Shri P.C to know that although he may help these people to return back but he will have to answer those mothers also who’s son have disappeared in custody.

Posted by ahtishaan11 | Report as abusive

I believe its a positive and good step towards helping some of the families of kashmir. but what about the core issues? what about rest of the people, their sacrifices? should we forget that? will we have to live our life on CBM or we actually will get some solution?

Posted by moon55 | Report as abusive

NOTHING ELSE WILL DO…….. just give us our freedom and we will make our own policies. we need freedom not policies… we need to answer our martyrs what we did.

Posted by shanny | Report as abusive

I appreciate Home minister for such a quick response to J&K CM’s request. just took him couple of days unlike years for others. But here i get confused, will pakistan agree that kashmiri youth are on its soil getting training in arms but willing to return to home. this will strengthen indian claims of pakistan running millitant camps on its soil. anyways i always hope n pray that some or the other ways people live happily in peace. people really need a pat of confidence and support of government to live happy life again.

Posted by ushiee | Report as abusive

You know, it seems almost as though, Pakistani’s can’t bear the though of living along side non-muslims. Anywhere, there are non-muslims, it seems that by default, the coin phrase is “Muslims are suffering”..that almost seems like a Euphemism for “non-muslims are alive and among us”.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

i think this could be one of the best efforts to ease Indo Pak tension.Pakistan should support this leaving aside all the other affairs it is worried about.I hope Kashmiri youth living in Pak return back to their homeland and live a peaceful life here InshaAllah.

Posted by shanuzhat | Report as abusive

see all kashmiries should return to their homes & live in peace but it is possible only if the move is linked with the just & final political settlement of J & K state so that generation next will not suffer as did previous generations due to instability & uncertainty of the region

Posted by walee | Report as abusive

Sorry, We don’t want more traitors in our country, We have enough of them already.

Posted by rcv | Report as abusive

I just wanna say “Hats off Mr Shazeb “. Wow, what a piece of comment you wrote. So honest painful and eye opener !.

Yes, I completely agree with what ever you said. I’m a Indian to the core but I support you and I hope there are lot of other Indian youth who feel the same. In the past I did scream abuses to my Kashmiri friends, with a single minded objective to save India’s unity, but now I have grown wiser, I know how to respect humanity irrespective of nationality, race or religion.

Again Hat’s off Brother, I will pray for your peace happiness and freedom !. Aadab !

Posted by NaveenReddy | Report as abusive

It is a very good thing. everyone has a right to live at home. some people might have been led astray earlier on. some might have chosen wrong path in childhood. but there is a word realisation. when somebody has certain realisation and wants to renew his life we must help them. to err is human, to forgive is divine. its a good step

Posted by urmi51 | Report as abusive

When was the last time spilling blood solved anything? All it does it causes more blood. It is idiotic way to say the least and shows the state of bankrupt minds—state or anti-state crowd.

Policies which allow youth to reject violence and join the mainstream for political solution are welcome and must be recognized. Pakistan, if sincere, would reciprocate.

Kashmiris need to realize that the best chance to seek their goals is through non-violent ways and making an environment for engaging the concerned parties. I do not see Kashmiris showing any intent to have India and Pakistan talk.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

When was the last time spilling blood solved anything? All it does it causes more blood. It is idiotic way to say the least and shows the state of bankrupt minds—state or anti-state crowd.

Policies which allow youth to reject violence and join the mainstream for political solution are welcome and must be recognized. Pakistan, if sincere, would reciprocate.

Kashmiris need to realize that the best chance to seek their goals is through non-violent ways and making an environment for engaging the concerned parties. I do not see Kashmiri people showing any intent to have India and Pakistan talk.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive