India Insight

Is Lashkar-e-Taiba behind Kashmir protests?

July 2, 2010

India has blamed the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group for violent anti-India demonstrations sweeping across the Muslim-majority valley in which 11 people have been killed so far.

Policemen stand guard in front of closed shops during a curfew in Srinagar July 2, 2010. REUTERS/Danish IsmailIn Indian Kashmir, authorities extended a curfew on Friday and deployed thousands of troops to quell fresh protests that have spread to other parts of the disputed region.

“We think it is the LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) which is active in Sopore (in north Kashmir),” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.

But Kashmir’s former chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, called the response from New Delhi to the present Kashmir crisis an “insult” to the people of Kashmir.

“Linking the genuine anger and anguish among people here with terrorism was nothing short of an assault on their self-respect and dignity,” Sayeed said.

Sayeed, chief and founder of the state’s main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was also India’s Home Minister when armed revolt against New Delhi’s rule broke out in 1989.

Omar Abdullah, Kashmir’s chief minister, also says ”anti-India forces” are creating trouble and has asked people to respect curfew and counsel their children.

PDP believes the disconnect between New Delhi and the Kashmir was deliberately being fuelled to push the  strife-weary people to the wall and justify the crackdown on unarmed people.

“We have been at the receiving end of the anti-national label for too long and dubbing an entire people as being vulnerable to inspired influences raises questions not just about this place but the whole idea of India,” Sayeed added.

Many locals believe anti-India protests are mostly spontaneous and say when Kashmir is mourning the deaths, such statements from New Delhi add insult to injury.

“Let government of India be clear. Does it mean that those kids who got killed in military and police action belong to Lashkar-e-Taiba?” Abdul Rasheed Sheikh, a lawmaker from north Kashmir said.

The home minister’s comment came after a meeting called on Wednesday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the spiralling violent protests.

Many Kashmiris, glued to their television sets, were expecting some sympathy with the families of slain civilians after the meeting.

Many of those killed were young protesters who died of  bullet wounds. One was beaten to death and another was hit by a tear-smoke shell.

“But ironically the outcome of the meeting suggested that Delhi is yet to come out of its stagnated mindset and continues to treat Kashmir as a law and order problem,” an angry Sheikh said.

Is New Delhi further alienating Kashmiris by such statements?

Is Lashkar behind the crisis in Kashmir valley, where according to a recent poll by think-tank Chatham House, between 75 percent and 95 percent support independence from both India and Pakistan?

Comments
19 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Am shocked at the way Indian home Minister Mr Chidabaram analyzed the Kashmir situation and blamed militants for the present violent protests, that has so far claimed 11 young innocent lives. And remember majority among those killed were minors from across the valley.

It is a tragedy with the Indian politicians and bureaucracy system that they have never understood the situation on ground zero in Kashmir despite the killing of thousands of people in past two decades. They see Kashmir through the prism of security angle only. They will continue to do so in future and I believe they will never get to know the hard reality of Kashmir.

by this the Indian system is befooling its own people. The reality in that the anger in Kashmir is boiling, alienation is increasing with every passing day.

Posted by Majid11 | Report as abusive
 

few days back indian army chief has said that GOI needs to take political initiatives in j&k as military has achieved its objectives…present political unrest what present state government with new delhi’s backing take as law & order problem only seem to be misdirected with lack of political will & vision……

Posted by waleekamil | Report as abusive
 

When it comes to solving Kashmir, we should never think that there are only three primary parties to the dispute- Kashmir, Pakistan and India. But another powerful party is Indian army who number around 700,000 and officially is fighting 245 militants inside valley plus 600-800 waiting to enter from Pakistan Administered Kashmir.
With such a huge militarization and no other alternative offered to civilians to express dissent, human rights violations and killings are bound to occur. Not only this, just recently we saw how a 70-year-old Kashmiri was killed and labeled as Pakistani infiltrator for promotions and medals triggering fears that more than 10,000 youths who disappeared during past 22 years of dispute might have met the same fate and are sleeping under six feet up in the mountains in mass graves.
Adding to the insult are ministers and bureaucrats who are either enjoying holidays at picnic spots or are participating in music programmes on the lake-side when the rest of city and major towns (10 districts) were curfewed this week. These things could only push youth to the wall who are seeking justice but are fired at on heads, abdomens, and torsos. Remember in 2008, almost 1200 youth had received injuries above waist, meaning that Hindu armed forces are directly trying to aim at bodies instead of thinning demonstrators, which a top cop , who was sacked after a youth died, also acknowledged to media as well. He said protests should have been allowed.
The real fear is that if armed forces try to corner cat (Kashmiri youth) it will try to pounce upon them. It is exactly what we have been seeing. The peaceful protests of 2008 were forced to become violent which led to killings of 65 youth and injury to more than 2500 youngsters.
In city and elsewhere armed forces have continued this trend and in the mountains where media hardly reach and villagers choose to remain silent, fake encounters continue happening which makes Kashmir a fitting case of UN intervention in forcing India to repeal draconian laws that protects its soldiers and push for a plebiscite to decide the fate of more than 10 million Kashmiris.

Posted by KashmirViews | Report as abusive
 

there is huge amount of funding for all this crisis which is cumming from across the border ….unemployment is the primary reason 80% youth are unemployed….the unemployed kids are paid RS 200 for stone throwing activities…. & there masters 1000 for organizing a set of 10 people. This is an active exercise from last 6 months in Kashmir….
media is not cumming with these facts….& all this information is through primary sources….

Posted by sanmattoo | Report as abusive
 

There is no way to construe the home ministers remarks but as soliciting an open-ended license to liquidate Kashmiris at the slightest murmur of dissatisfaction and dissent.
By blaming the spontaneous public outrage, over the killings at the hands of govt forces, to an armed outfit, is an absurd negation of the fundamental truth- that this is the manifestation of dissatisfaction and frustrations of outraged Kashmiri youth. The only signal that goes out is that New Delhi will keep on finding pretexts to spill Kashmiri blood to reassure itself that it is a world power in the making.

Posted by drshugufta | Report as abusive
 

It is the question of whether or not LET is involved that is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has followed Kashmir and has been there. The number of terrorist camps across the border has increased over the last year and unsurprisingly with aid from the Pakistani army these murderers cross over and sow violence and mayhem among the civilians primarily to set up the Indian army and authorities. Unfortunately, some of the local youngster incited by the terrorists fall victim to an attempt to restore law and order

Posted by nychotpilot | Report as abusive
 

its movement of the people of kashmir.One fails to understand how can nine year old boys who were killeed in different parts of the valley linked with any organization.They were school going children.These statements often come from delhi,to defame the peaceful movement of the kashmiri people and link it with some organizations

Posted by Adilmsw | Report as abusive
 

Obviously the trend in the comments here shows a mindset which does not support the Indian democracry. There is only one potential solution for the greater issue in Kashmir, which would be around providing greater autonomy within the realms of Indian constitution and also providing for some level of free access between both Indian & Pak side’s of Kashmir. This solution will also make the current Line of Control the de factor border. Any other solution is inplausible, and not going to happen not unless India ceases to exist as a nation, now that’s a notion which is far fetched by any standards. Last but not the least Indian Army is there for a purpose and will return to barracks in due course of time …

Posted by sovanrs | Report as abusive
 

I am still confused as to why people talk of Kashmir alone when in partition Punjab, Bengal, Kachh all were also divided? Please understand that the scares of division are visible everywhere? Forget about J&K, Indians even today maintain that PHK is territory of J&K by document of accession which is under illegal occupation of Pakistan. The poor linkages to valley from India and political interference of our neighboring country in the name of religion are playing with the minds of people. Otherwise, also Pakistan had never claimed PHK as its part in any international forum. I donot understand what

Posted by SatishChadha | Report as abusive
 

We fail to understand what the government of India wants by labeling the massive pro-freedom protests as LeT-sponsored protests. The statements of the Indian politicians are contardictory. J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah first blamed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and then separatists for these protests. His master in New Delhi accused LeT of sponsoring the protests. Omar then called it battle of ideologies. This is the time that India should acknowledege that people of India don’t want to be with it. For a minute, if Omar and Chidambaram are write that these are speratist-sponsored protests then they have no right to deny freedom to people of Kahsmir because the entire population of Kashmir is on roads and with them…

Posted by Omder | Report as abusive
 

problem here is people in subcontinent do not know about history of kashmir & peoples psychology;
even they have been subjugated for last four centuries but one way or other they have kept their identity alive…so it is in the interst of everyone in this region to understand the problem in this context and try to hammer out a just and lasting solution without outside interference…sorry to state indian home affairs manager(not a political minister)paints peoples aspiration as handiwork of LeT who have no existence in kashmir

Posted by waleekamil | Report as abusive
 

There are always two sides of the point and one sees the side one wants to see. That depends on one’s attitude, which again depends on one’s affiliation. Those who wants to point to the knowledge of history should first know the true history themselves. History is written by some intelligent fools wanting to project their own impressions once again in the same way as their attitudes. Hence one will need to consult a lot of of sources for a real truth.
God bless
Dr. O. P. Sudrania

Posted by opsudrania | Report as abusive
 

Just a thought:

Using the phrase stone-pelting gives the impression that it cannot and does not cause much damage to the victims. Please look at the pictures, its usually NOT stone-pelting its brick-pelting. One hit at the right place can cause great damage. The point is, just because its not being fired through a gun, it does not make it less lethal.

Peace.

Posted by Seth09 | Report as abusive
 

Just a thought:

Using the phrase stone-pelting gives the impression that it cannot and does not cause much damage to the victims. Please look at the pictures, its usually NOT stone-pelting its brick-pelting. One hit at the right place can cause great damage. The point is, just because its not being fired through a gun, it does not make it less lethal.

Posted by Seth09 | Report as abusive
 

If lashkar is behind protests then what are Indian forces doing in Kashmir. Why does not New Delhi blames its own gunmen who are commiting a geonacide in the valley and provoking unarmed people. The statement by home minister is rediculous and rightly Mufti Syed has said that such kind of reaction from central governmemnt is like adding salt to the injury.

Posted by haleema11 | Report as abusive
 

@sanammatoo…this is neither an employment problem nor financial. this is anger against india.these childen grew in twenty years of trouble and they want thier problem to be solved for ever.

Posted by haleema11 | Report as abusive
 

It is unfortunate that government of India is thinking on these lines that Lashkar Tioba is behind protests. This reflects new delhi’s biased policy against Kashmir. The protests are spontanous and if Lashkar is behind it then what is government of india doing in Kashmir. New Delhi seriously needs to thin about the problem and adress it politically…

Posted by Imititaz | Report as abusive
 

Haleema11

@sanammatoo…this is neither an employment problem nor financial. this is anger against india.these childen grew in twenty years of trouble and they want thier problem to be solved for ever.”

—Who r the parties in this and what would it take in your opinion for the peace to prevail in the region? There got to be mote than just saying Indian Army should leave. Kashmiris need to look at the larger picture for their own good.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive
 

Kashmir today is very different from Kashmir in 1947. A lot of water had flowed under the bridge. Today, it is an extremely geo-strategic location for India. Not an inch can be yielded there. India has been fighting Pakistan over the Siachien glacier for more than 25 years now. It is a barren landscape and the two militaries are engaged in a stalemate there. If that is the case, India has no reason to leave Kashmir. By siding with Pakistan because of religion, Kashmiris have made their condition worse. The first thing they need to do is to distance themselves from Pakistan and its support. That is the only thing that will reassure mainstream Indians that Kashmir’s needs should be addressed. We all know that Kashmir will never have its freedom. If India leaves, Kashmir will fall under the control of Pakistan immediately. It will be indirect first and Pakistan and Kashmir will live off their hatred for India for sometime. Then fissures will erupt turning Kashmiris against Pakistan as well. And Pakistan will not deal with Kashmir like India does. It will be brutal. Look at how they handled East Pakistan or Afghanistan or Balochistan. Or even ask Azad Kashmiris.

Kashmir, in today’s situation, will not be able to remain free. If it is not India, it will be Pakistan. Islamic unity will not work. It has already been proven in the case of Afghanistan and East Pakistan. Islamic unity only works against non-Muslims. And countries cannot live off of that for too long. So Kashmiris have only one path. Reconcile with India and move on. If they did that, India might not be this tight in its grip. For peace to return that, Kashmiris have to push back on Pakistan. They must realize that Pakistan is supporting them mostly for its hatred for India and nothing else. They have no special love for Kashmiris. Pakistan has already converted Azad Kashmir into a road for China. And China is famous for its invasion of Tibet and occupation. Pakistan will not say a word about that of course. They are friends. Chinese can slaughter Uighur Muslims and Pakistanis are fine with that. Only Kashmir matters because India can be irritated. Unfortunately India is growing stronger by the day. Not much is going to move there.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

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