The fact that Kashmir has been in the throes of a covert and many a time overt war funded and sponsored by Islamic interests abroad (notably our neighbour) is indisputable. This is a reality since the first attempt in 1947 and the last attempt at Kargil in 1999. (Read, India Pakistan and the Secret Jihad by Praveen Swami.) The nature of this overt war has kept pace with the realities of the world. It was open terror in the late 80s and early 90s which resulted in the brutal forced exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits – a sordid episode unprecedented in independent India. Over time thanks to the patience and persistence of Indian authorities, the relative decline of the neighbour into the abyss of a terrorist state and its occupation with its other border, the worldwide recognition of the terror threat have contributed to the decline of the violent movement. The movement has sought to sustain itself on the basis of other means of outrage as seen in the stone throwing episodes couple of years back, which were proved to have been funded by interests inimical to India. A significant part of this is how with the Fai episode, we have seen how the ISI has cultivated the high and mighty in Indian society for the throwaway price of a few junkets and sought to keep the so called freedom movement alive in the media by saying the right things.
There is a long story to be told on this, which many other notable people have pointed out better, but the fact of the matter is this. Counter terrorism is not pretty. Wars have to be fought. As we have seen from Indias own experience – in Punjab or in the Naxal movement earlier – we have had to use all tactics in order to win this war. (After all, the terrorists and their funders do much worse and it is in the governments interest to protect its citizens by whatever means.)
And the Narasimha Rao Government in a way did many things that irreversibly changed the direction of India. And this is perhaps one of them. I don’t know – books typically sensationalize stories a lot for a variety of reasons. But, here is the point, if it were true, it is a feather in the cap of Indian authorities to have carried it out with such precision.
(Published as an oped in The Pioneer Today with some edits)