Declaration of Ceasefire in Kashmir During Ramzan and India’s Official Policy of Wilful Abdication of Sense
By Smita Mukerji
Pulwama, Friday, February 15, 2019: Another terrorist strike later and with apparently no lessons learnt for the Indian state, we re-visit an instance last year and repeat the exhortation to the Indian government which is as relevant today as it was then, and will be for all time to come: Islam, by that implication, Muslims as a community cannot be appeased. They can only be managed, with a clear eye on the political ideology of Islam and how it works, and by a model of alternate control and ruthlessness.
Following a suggestion of the Mehbooba Mufti government of Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Affairs at the centre had in May last year directed the Indian security forces to halt operations in J&K during Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, “to facilitate the peace-loving Muslims in the Valley state.” While the statement from the ministry clarified that “the forces shall reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people,” the reasoning for giving in to the request of the Jammu & Kashmir Government (GoJ&K) ought to be scrutinised.
Needless to say, Mehbooba wholeheartedly welcomed the ceasefire for the period she termed “Ramadan” (using the Arabic term, the Indian word being ‘Ramzan’) but did not reciprocate with any safeguards from her side that Muslims in her State too would eschew violence. And with good reasons. But before we go into those, let us explore what could possibly be the grounds for the government at the centre to yield to her wishes, just a couple of days after Defence Minister Sitaraman stressed on the “need to be firm with terrorists.”
Was the concession preceded by any positive gesture from the Kashmiri Muslims or GoJ&K? Not even ten days were past since an innocent Indian tourist had been killed by a stone-throwing mob of Kashmiri Muslims in Narbal, Budgam. Even if the scores of military personnel routinely killed and maimed each month by stone-pelters are nothing more than numbers for the decision makers of the country, did BJP at least ensure that the culprits who killed 22-year Thirumani were arrested and faced prosecution? On the contrary, the J&K CM promptly announced amnesty for them without a murmur from their coalition partners in power at the centre.
Barely had the shock died down over the exposé on the perfidious designs of the rogue Kashmiri administration that sought to implicate Hindu villagers of Rasna village in Kathua district of Jammu in a fabricated case of ‘rape’ of a tribal girl, and used it to terrorise the Hindu populace of the region to the extent of causing their exodus. The BJP government did not in the same manner demonstrate celerity in addressing the fate of these hapless Hindu citizens of Jammu (until it blew over to a massive international outrage created by the media in favour of the Kashmiri Muslims’ cause, to the detriment of Hindus and ‘Hindustan’) consistently ignoring the issue in talks with their coalition partners, in spite of months-long protests in the region led by their own MLAs, and this adequately demonstrates where their priorities and preferences lie, and it is not the human rights of the besieged, silent majority of India. Perhaps had the Hindus practiced the art of stone-throwing instead of hunger-strikes beseeching due treatment according to principles of justice, BJP would have been more inclined to heed their plight.
Did the central government try to secure an assurance from GoJ&K that Amarnath yatris will not be attacked by terrorists henceforth? After all, Mehbooba was representing on their behalf by asking for cessation of security operations, since it is the extremists who would have been affected by these and not the so-called “peace-loving Muslims of Kashmir”. Why does the Indian government persist with their blind spot in spite of repeated evidence that the stone-pelting mobs who kill security personnel, hinder security operations and provide cover to terrorists, shield them and help them escape are in fact from among these very “peace-loving Muslims of Kashmir”? Would similarly security operations against criminals have been halted at other places in India during festivals, say navratras, to avoid inconvenience to peaceful citizens?
Reportedly, security officials expressed apprehension about a ceasefire at that juncture as they had an upper hand against the militants and had killed almost all top militant commanders in Kashmir after launch of ‘Operation All Out’ against militants following a surge in last year’s militant violence. A security official had said, “if we stop anti-militancy operations this time, it will provide militants with an opportunity to regroup. It will ease pressure and give them a chance to plan future attacks on security forces and other major installations. This will undo all our gains.” He said all their operations against militants were “intelligence-based” and not random ones as was the case in the past. “It has taken a lot of efforts to strengthen our intelligence grid and we cannot lower our guard and allow militants a free run.”
Why should citizens of India not demand an explanation from the Government of India for this compromise of efficiencies of security forces forcing them into a defensive mode when this compunction does not weigh on terrorists or Muslims themselves, and indeed is not enjoined by their scripture? And this is the reference material to go back to, which determines the behaviour and provides justification and the basis for all acts of Muslims, including Mufti’s appeal for suspension of hostilities during the ‘holy month’, an agreement which however is not considered binding upon Muslims themselves.
It was on the ‘holy night’ of Laylat al-Qadr that “peace-loving Muslims” emerging from their devotions out of Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta, led by a Hizbul terrorist had lynched Dy. Sub-Inspector Mohammed Ayub Pandith. The violent mob mistook him for a Hindu from his last name since they could not make out his identity hidden in the initials on his badge. The J&K administration has till date not initiated prosecution in the case against the “peace-loving” Muslim mob. It was during Ramzan that Muslims went on a rampage in Deganga in West Bengal, rioting, arsoning, desecrating Hindu places of worship, attacking and looting properties of Hindus and killing scores of them. It was during Ramzan that Muslims carried out an unprovoked attack on Hindus in Nagla Mal area of Meerut injuring 12 people and killing 2, including women. In fact, statistics from world over indicate that violence by Muslims, against non-Muslims as well as other Muslims, actually escalates during Ramzan, and it turns out this traces right back to their central text, the Qur’an.
Interestingly, the Home Ministry’s announcement had come right after Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh, speaking to reporters in a function in Jammu, had rejected the proposal outright saying that, “those advocating for ceasefire during the fasting month of Ramzan must first ask terrorists who have picked up guns to practice the teachings of holy Quran in real sense which totally forbids violence and harming of fellow human beings during the sacred month” [emphasis added], and that “ceasefire cannot be unilateral, it is a bilateral process.” Indians have a right to know the compulsions that forced the centre to acquiesce to Mufti’s suggestion in spite of obvious strong misgivings within government circles as well as among security experts.
But it is not just the government’s lack of resolve and a sense of purpose which is betrayed in the above statement that is worrying. The contents of the statement itself expose an appalling lack of awareness about the nature and course of Islam. That after a millennium of interactions with Islam, there isn’t the remotest conception of the enemy we are faced with in the minds of those who are top decision makers for the country, is disquieting, to say the least.
Talking to an officer working with the deradicalisation wing of ATS Maharashtra some years ago, I was told that they ‘try to bring around “misguided” Muslim youths who had taken to terrorist activities by talking to them about how they had misconstrued the teachings of the Qur’an which actually stood for peace and humanity’ (the famous ‘misinterpretation’ prevarication employed by Muslims to conceal the intent of Islam). We see the same theme repeated in popular culture to protect the reputation of the Qur’an, and much worse, we hear our topmost leaders utter falsities about the benignity of Islam. With this depth of colossal collective delusion, how do we ever hope as a nation to combat Islamic terrorism?
The Qur’an contains concrete rules of conduct for Muslims and draws reference to situations in the life of their Prophet and Allah’s word on these received in the form of ‘revelations’, according to which bloodshed during the holy month is fully justified. The expedition against the Meccan pagans in Nakhla is one such clear template for Muslims, which took place during the holy month and during which Muslims killed a man. The Prophet justified it in Sura 2, Verse 217 of the Qur’an in the context of this war:
“They question thee [O Mohammad] with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great [transgression], but to turn [men] from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater [transgression] with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing.”
Another reference from the Qur’an which permits Muslims to unilaterally end any agreement or treaty with non-Muslims, is the treaty of peace with the Meccan pagans entered into by the Prophet following the retreat from Hudaibiya, which was spoken of as a tactical move and a promise in the future, of ‘manifest victory’ (48.1, 18-21, revealed in Medina). This became apparent just two years into the duration of the treaty meant to last ten years, as the Prophet released himself from the obligation of peace through an opportune revelation received in Ka’ba (Sura 9.1-5, 28-29) a declaration of immunity for Believers from Allah and his Messenger, to annul any indefinite pact with idolaters.
This is the example Muslims follow and it is entirely our fault if we surrender advantage with this mulish insistence on misplaced generosity towards the innately treacherous, nobility towards the unprincipled, humanity towards those who do not even consider us human. These verses from the sacred most text of Islam, which Muslims are indoctrinated with and programmed to emulate, clearly reveal that Muslims may propose peace accords with non-Muslims to gain advantages for themselves, but must not abide by its terms or feel contrition on account of any consideration of humanity that might come in the way of the purpose of Islam. It is plain cussed stupidity if we refuse to look at what is clearly laid down in the game plan against us.
Coming back to the question of the ceasefire: what does BJP expect to achieve from such overtures? Commitment of Kashmiri Muslims towards the Indian (read: kafir) nation? Gratefulness? Peace? Votes for themselves? It is nothing but lunacy to try and win over Kashmiri Muslims (Muslims anywhere) given the prescribed practice of their faith. The lot the Union Home Ministry refers to as the “peace-loving people of Kashmir”, are a hostile, subversive, Islamised population barely kept in check by the terribly constrained security forces of India, the ones that are handicapped with concerns of Indian government’s misplaced humanity which facilitates terrorists with such utterly foolhardy gestures of magnanimity.
In the Mahabharata in the episodes depicting the deaths of Karna and Duryodhan, we are advised to be ruthless with an unprincipled enemy and make no consideration for their vulnerability or sanctity of rules in slaying them, yet we abandon this commonsense maxim in dealing with the biggest ever civilisational challenge to our dharma. The least BJP could do, if they must ignore the clear message of Islamic texts, is: read the words of wisdom in their own:
रिपु पर कृपा परम कदराई
“To show consideration or kindness to the enemy in the midst of war is cowardice”
~ The Ramcharitmanas