It has often been said that the struggle in Kashmir is because of ‘azaadi’ or independence that Kashmiris want. However, according to Indian Army, azaadi is no longer the sole reason for struggle in the valley. A top Indian Army official said the discourse in Jammu and Kashmir is shifting to “primacy of Islam” over azaadi, adding to complexities in dealing with sectarian faultlines in the border state.
“Jammu and Kashmir continues to be a challenge and it’s being dealt with; it’s getting a little more complex as slowly the discourse, as indeed the entire thrust, is taking a shift towards a primacy of Islam over azaadi. So that clearly adds a fairly complex dynamic to stabilising the nation as it were,” deputy chief of army staff (planning & systems), Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, said. Lieutenant General Subrata Saha has also served as general officer commanding 15 Corps, Srinagar. He was speaking at a seminar on ‘leveraging defence expenditure as a tool for nation building‘, organised by the college of defence management in Hyderabad where he said this. Of late, it has been often speculated that the discourse in the valley has shifted from ‘independence’ to supremacy of Islam, but it is the first time that a senior army official who has worked in the valley has said this clearly.
The call for violence and stone-pelting against security forces and government officers have been coming from Mosques with shouts and slogans calling for Islamic supremacy in the state. On quite a few occasions, flags of ISIS and radical Islamic groups have openly been waived in the valley calling for “Islamic armed jihad against the infidels.” It was this very ideology of Islamic primacy which culminated in the persecution of Kashmiri Pandits, who were selectively killed, females raped, houses looted & burned, due to which they had to escape from the valley. Any independence struggle for a particular geographical entity is fought by all the inhabitants. Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus of Kashmir were never in favour of aazaadi.
It is always said that the first step to solve a problem is to acknowledge it and diagnose the root cause of the problem. Indian Army has finally done a commendable job in speaking out the truth in open. An issue as serious as Kashmir can never be solved by political correctness. Hopefully, Indian Army and the central government take appropriate steps to address the problem.