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August 14, 1999
JK police betraying IB officials, says home ministry
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
The Jammu and Kashmir police's 'betrayal' of intelligence officials is the latest problem confronting the Union ministry of home affairs, which is battling foreign mercenaries in the border state.
The Centre focussed attention on this in the wake of the recent attacks on army camps. And its findings hold the police responsible for a lot of anti-India incidents.
"Intelligence Bureau officials posted in the valley run the risk of being stabbed in the back. They are betrayed by local administration officials," a home ministry source said.
On a number of occasions, newly posted IB officials narrowly escaped being "liquidated". In one particular incident, an officer informed state government officials that he was going home. However, he changed his plans and proceeded somewhere else. When he returned, he found his residence blown apart by crude bombs. The matter was immediately reported to the MHA and the officer is currently posted in Delhi.
Home ministry sources said the local administration takes practically no action when intelligence officers are attacked or, as had happened recently, even murdered. This has caused considerable disquiet in the IB circles and is responsible for the drying up of sources of information.
"The J&K police stations seldom attempt to apprehend the culprits fearing the brutality of terrorists and foreign mercenaries," the home ministry official said, "The photographs of terrorists put up in police stations disappear within hours and lame excuses are trotted out for their disappearance."
Former Jammu and Kashmir governor Jagmohan agrees. "The local administration has been so infiltrated (by Pakistani agents) that quite a part of it has become a hindrance and a drag. It will remain a headache for the Central government for a long, long time."
Jagmohan, who was replaced as governor during Rajiv Gandhi's government, said the problem cannot be sorted out in a hurry. He claimed that successive governments at the Centre had their own reasons for the continuation of militancy in the state.
The former governor said that it was common for terrorists to brutally kill Indian security personnel and government officials. Many have been hanged, strangulated, beheaded, skinned alive, had their throat slit and their body blown up by dynamite. But the so-called human rights groups have done precious little about it.
Kashmir analyst Ashok Kapur said that the Nawaz Sharief government in Pakistan was under relentless pressure by right wing forces after the Kargil defeat, and Islamabad was ensuring that the militancy pot was kept boiling. That is why foreign mercenaries had begun attacking the army in do-or-die fashion.
"India must be prepared to tackle stepped-up militancy in the valley now. There is little doubt that the militants will try everything in their power," Kapur warned.
He said there were indications that the Islamic hardliners in Pakistan were getting ready to unleash another bout of terrorism. He pointed out that the outfit Ikhwan-ul-Muslimeen had again commenced attacking the moderate Sufi-Islamic culture of Kashmir with extraordinary vehemence. Kapur warned that the militant Islam sought to be spread in Kashmir would open the gateway for mayhem in South Asia.
The foreign mercenaries in Kashmir considered themselves crusaders with a mission against the Sufi and Hindu cultural influences on Muslims. In this campaign, Pakistan-based fanatical groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba, Markaz-I-ul-Irshad and Harkat-ul- Mujahedin are in the forefront.
As for the audacious Hizb-ul-Islami and Harkat-ul-Jehad, the outfits suspected to have mastermind the recent attacks, they have restarted anti-India propaganda among the local population against "Indian excesses."
A home ministry official said that Hizb-ul-Islami sub-groups like Nassir-ul-Islam and Jamat-e-Mujahedeen are all set to intensify the terror campaign in the state.
"The Janbaz Mujahedeen, a special force raised by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence senior functionary Brigadier Imtiaz, is moving in the valley," he warned.
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