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NSA crafted the Kashmir crackdown

NEW DELHI: Plans for the ongoing crackdown on secessionists in Jammu and Kashmir were finalised at a meeting chaired by National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan last week, government sources told The Hindu.

Mr. Narayanan and Intelligence Bureau Director P.C. Haldar had flown to Srinagar to meet with key police, Central Reserve Police Force and military officials on August 20, amidst signs of a meltdown of the State government’s authority across the Kashmir Valley.

Senior officials present at the meeting said Mr. Narayanan told the police and administrators that the country’s authority in Jammu and Kashmir had diminished to dangerous levels. He called for restoring order, and said New Delhi would offer whatever resources were needed.
However, enforcement of the crackdown was deferred until after a secessionist rally scheduled to be held at Sringar’s Eidgah on Friday. State government officials, the sources said, were confident that the rally would remain peaceful, on the basis of private assurances from the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Tehreek-i-Hurriyat leaders.

More important, the State government also believed that internal differences with the secessionist groups would lead to low turnout at the Eidgah protests.

In the event, over a quarter of million protesters turned out at the Eidgah, belying the State government’s claims that the secessionist protests in Jammu and Kashmir were diminishing.
In the wake of the murderous clashes, which followed a failed secessionist march to the Line of Control, the authorities in Jammu and Kashmir rolled out what was described as the decompression doctrine: the deliberate disengagement of police from protests in the city, in order to allow the supercharged protests to let off steam. But the tactics backfired, allowing Islamists to take control of Srinagar.

On August 13, for example, protesters hoisted Pakistani flags over the ruins of police and CRPF posts that were destroyed after the authorities ordered their vacation.

Protesters destroyed sandbagged positions at Bagh-e-Ali Mardan, Bagh-e-Mehtab, Bohri Kadal, Kawdara, Safa Kadal and Saraf Lada.

Among the targets was a CRPF bunker near the All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s home in Rajouri Kadal, which was first to guard the secessionist politician’s home after the assassination of his father.

Protesters burned down the office of National Conference leader Mohammad Syed Akhoon, again hoisting a Pakistani flag to mark their triumph.More attacks

Similar attacks were reported outside of Srinagar, too. Mobs set ablaze the Gulshanabad police station at Charar-e-Sharif, as well as the Sheeri police station in north Kashmir. Police posts at Kohum, Klangam and Nadihal were also attacked.

Matters came to a head on Independence Day, when the CRPF personnel at Srinagar’s historic Lal Chowk pulled down the Tricolour just two hours after it was hoisted, after learning that protesters were marching there.

Pakistan’s national flag was later hoisted on the clock tower at Lal Chowk, a debacle never seen even at the height of the jihadist ascendancy in Srinagar.Ugly scenes

Ugly scenes were again evident at Friday’s gathering of protesters at the Eidgah, though the rally itself remained peaceful.

Islamist-led mobs attempted to provoke confrontations with CRPF personnel in several areas.
Groups of motorcycle-borne activists made a point of slowing down outside the few surviving CRPF outposts in the city, and shouting provocative slogans. Slogans like “Bharat teri maut ayi,” “Lashkar ayi, Lahskar ayi” [India, you death is coming, the Lashkar-e-Taiba is coming] and “Ragda, Ragda, Tiranga Ragda” [we’ve torn up the Tricolour], as well as outright communal invective, were common.

“One of the major reasons the protests snowballed to the levels we’ve seen,” a senor CRPF officer told The Hindu, “is that we allowed hard-line Islamists to run of the city, allowing them to use mosques to broadcast appeals for people to come out on the streets. Our withdrawal also allowed them to pressure people otherwise unsympathetic to the secessionist cause to join the protests.

CRPF and police personnel have now begun to reassert their presence across towns and cities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials say all posts destroyed in recent weeks will be rebuilt. “We’re willing to sustain this crackdown for as long as it takes,” a senior police officer said.

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NSA crafted the Kashmir crackdown


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