Kashmir Politics

Profile of Changing Situation - 1992

The year 1992 witnessed a sharp rise in the level of violence with militants increasingly targeting the security forces. The year began with militant groups and people at large, irrespective of differences amongst them, unitedly opposing the 'Ekta Yatra' (26 January 1992) of the BJP, which gave a setback to the process of normalisation in the State. Profile of changing situation (1992)On the eve (24 January 1992) of the 'Ekta Yatra', militants caused an explosion in the office of the Director General of Police, injuring him and 4 other senior police officers to express their determination to oppose it. The violence reached a peak level during the month of August when it was being speculated in the Valley that the Government of India was considering to hold elections in the State. There was a marked increase in arson incidents particularly burning of houses belonging to the minority community to deny security forces places of shelter in populated areas. Kidnapping of soft targets for extracting release of detained militants declined in the later half of the year with the Government taking a strong policy in this regard. The infiltration of new batches of Pakistan-trained militants continued, albeit at a slower rate. After the fall of the Najibullah Government in Afghanistan, a process of systematic propaganda was launched enxouraging infiltration of a large number of Afghan Mujahideen. By the end of the year, mercenaries had infiltrated into the state.

Sheer terrorism and criminality caused considerable change in the public mood and temper with people openly expressing resentment against militant actions including inter-group clashes, killing of innocent civilians, extortions, rape and mindless torching of property. The secessionist leaders namely SAS Gillani, A.G. Lone, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, Dr. Qazi Nisar and Prof. Abdul Ghani Butt, who were released in April 1992, made some efforts to give a political orientation to the 'movement'. Almost all militant outfits including HuM and JKLF were of the view that armed struggle should be continued along with the political 'movement'. Meanwhile, the Centre's initiatives in the form of the Union Home Minister's interaction (22/23 October) with opposition leaders at Delhi, visit of a Parliamentary delegation to Kashmir Valley (27/28 October) and holding of a conclave of former J&K legislators (7 November) in Delhi, created an impression that the Government of India was serious to initiate a political process in the State. In this scenario, an All Party Conference (27/28 December) at the instance of Maulvi Umar Farooq, Chairman, Awami Action Committee, was held to form a united political platform. The demolition of the disputed structure at Ayodhya (6 December) provided propaganda mileage to militant groups that Muslim interests were not safe in India.

Across the border, the JKLF (Amanullah) planned operations to cross the Line of Control (LoC) on 11 February and again on 30 March, which were aborted by Pakistani authorities. This brought about a strong indignation in the Valley and had resurrected JKLF, albeit temporarily. However, these events focussed international attention on Kashmir as a large number of foreign journalists reached POK to cover the events. The Pak/POK based JKLF subsequently decided to hold a 'Kashmir Conference' in POK on 1-3 July, which remained a non-starter as Pakistani authorities rejected permission to grant visa to Indian invitees. Similarly, the programme of major opposition political parties in POK to violate the LOC (24 October 1992) got all round support from different militant groups operating in the Valley. However, it passed off as a non event due to strict administrative measures taken by Pakistani authorities.