Kashmir: The Crazy Years – Terrorists Ruled Over Appointments

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Naedi wael chhi laed khemaetch 

He Who Had The Arm Snatched The House

The insurgency that erupted in Kashmir in 1990 could broadly be categorized as adventure terrorism. It was an over-excitement of the youth having no realization of the consequences and implications of violent conflict. Kashmir had all along been a peaceful place, and the society was by and large calm and composed.

The era of the 1990s was witness to some undercurrents in Kashmir society. One, the provocation by a handful of youth activists like Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Yaseen Malik, Ishfaq Majid, Hamid Sheikh, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, Ghulam Ahmad Naik alias Azam Inqilabi. Second, Jamat e Islami’s ideological commitment to the Pakistanisation of Kashmir. The majority of Kashmir’s population was still untouched by these undercurrents. But this was set to change. The moles of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence had been planted many years before – much earlier than perceived. They facilitated this radical change in the name of religion.

Soon, the situation took an ugly turn. Herds of Kashmiri youth would go to Pakistan to receive arms training in complete excitement, looking upon it as an adventure. Back with guns and grenades, they held sway in every nook and corner of Kashmir valley. Their mere presence in streets, particularly in the countryside, led to increased lawlessness and the rapid deterioration of Kashmir.

Government institutions collapsed. Cutting across organizational and ideological affiliations – if any – the militants had a singular focus. This was to create chaos and fear among the Kashmiris – particularly among those holding significant positions in the administrative hierarchy. The most visible short term goal of all militant groups was to humiliate those respected by the society – especially the elders. The threat was real. The power of the gun made the system capitulate. Soon militants started extortion killings of political activists. Those in mainstream political parties became fearful of miliants.

Militants, Separatists Ordered Govt Recruitments

Since the recruitment process was still decentralized, the flood gates opened for militants to recruit their favorites in government departments. Going by some realistic assessments, about 30,000 people were appointed on the recommendations of militant groups and individuals.

The fear of the uncontrolled and directionless gun loomed large. The appointing authorities had no option but to oblige the unbridled gunmen. From about 1990-1994, Kashmir had no space for the meritorious and the deserving. Those in power started appointing their own kith and kin under the grab of militant threat.

The situation soon became that the militants would recommend two, and the appointing officer would appoint four. Tha jo nakhoob, betadreej wahi khoob hua.

Kashmir has suffered the conflict and also an unstable political atmosphere. The mainstream politicians, who were the stakeholders in peace, always betrayed the common masses. Instead of focusing on public good, they used their power to grab more and more, and accommodate their favourites in the government.

Separatist Sway Over Kashmir Administration

About 1994 onwards, all the known separatists leaders would recommend people for recruitment in various government department. The highest numbers of recommendations came from Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirvaiz Umer Farooq and Yaseen Malik.

The fear of the gun led to further deterioration of administrative systems in Kashmir. Heads of government institutions and departments started seeking the blessings of hawkish separatists, especially Syed Ali Geelani. In blatant abuse of their official position, they started showering favours upon the separatists.

This phenomenon continued till August 2019.

A senior citizen from Kokernag in South Kashmir recently narrated the following story to a senior police officer. “My wife was working in the Education Department and was posted in north Kashmir. I made several representations and pleaded before senior officers in the Education Department to transfer her to our district. Peerzada Mohammad Syed was the Education Minister in the NC-Congress coalition government. The authorities showed no interest in my pleas. After several months, I visited Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his residence in Peerbagh residence and told him of my problem. On a small piece of paper, Geelani wrote this. Cardholder is a dear friend whose wife will be transferred immediately. This note was addressed to the Secretary, Department of Education. My problem was resolved and my wife was transferred to Anantnag in no time.”
Such capitulation of the government systems had a ripple effect upon Kashmir.

Driven by fear or for political reasons, scores of relatives of separatist leaders were given plum government positions.

Rules were bent to accommodate relatives of the separatists. Former RAW chief AS Dulat had made major revelations in his book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years. Even sons of the most wanted terrorist commander Syed Salahudin were provided government jobs

Jamat and Geelani – Silent Partners in Mufti Sayeed’s Government

Kashmir has traditionally been marked by the dominance of the Mullah clan over its social, political and economic structures. By the mid-80s, the nexus between politicians of the Mullah clan on either side of political divide (mainstream and separatists) was visible. The unholy nexus was legitimized with the formation of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 1999. Mufti, with the tacit support of Jamat-e-Islami, became the chief minister in 2002. Jamat and Syed Ali Geelani had high stakes in the Mufti-led coalition government. Jamat and Geelani were the silent partners in Mufti’s government. Hene 2002 marks a significant transition in the political governance of Jammu and Kashmir. The underground forces would now communicate with the political system, and the security and intelligence agencies would watch this from a distance. Soon after Mufti took over as Chief Minister, his daughter Mehbooba Mufti addressed a public meeting at Ganderbal in Central Kashmir. She told the militants to rest assured because their representatives were in the government.

Mufti’s collaboration with Jamat-e-Islami and militant groups changed the dynamics of both the permanent and the political bureaucracy in Kashmir. It was another big jolt to the democratic systems in Kashmir. Post 2002, rules were bent to accommodate the kith and kin of separatists in the administration. A typical case of study is the appointment of Anees ul Islam, the grandson of Syed Ali Geelani, who was accommodated as Research Officer in Kashmir International Convention Centre (KICC), formerly known as SKICC. The post was especially created for Geelani’s grandson.

After the abrogation of article 370, the government took the initiative to nail employees with anti-state credentials. But the identification of backdoor entries in various departments under the cult of the gun is continuing at a very slow pace. The government must constitute a special team to identify, investigate and analyze these employees. Has their ideology changed to support the democratic process in Kashmir? Do they continue to follow the separatist ideology? The identification and investigation processes should focus on their militant background. In addition, their role in fueling unrest and promoting the narrative that favours killing and the Pakistanisation of Kashmir must also be examined.

Terrorists Kept Guns on DM’s Desk, Asked Him to Appoint Select Persons

Militants became brazen in their rule over Kashmir. They were dictating recruitment in every department, be it Education, Agriculture, Irrigation, PWD, Health, Revenue, Food and Supplies etc. Once Manzoor Darzi, commander of Hizbul Mujahideen Anantnag with another Hizbul terrorist from Dialgam, Anantnag, jumped over the fence of Higher Secondary School, Anantnag and entered the District Magistrate’s office. They kept their guns on the desk of the District Magistrate and handed him the list of candidates to be appointed in various departments. At least 265 persons were appointed in the Education Department in Anantnag district alone. Similar numbers were appointed in other departments also.

Terrorists Get Government Jobs

In the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department, two terrorists were appointed. Both were district commanders for Hizbul Mujahideen. One of them was Abdul Qayoom Beigh, son of Ghulam Rasool Beigh, a resident of Chana Mohalla in Chattabal, Srinagar.

The Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department at Shaheed Gunj in Srinagar was deeply under the the influence of Hizbul Mujahidin. Beigh was a close confidante of then Hizbul Mujahideen district commander known as Papa. Beigh was simultaneously both a terrorist and a government employee. After Papa was killed, Beigh was appointed as the District Commander of Hizbul Mujahideen for Srinagar. He remained active for about five years. Beigh was arrested in 1994 and released a year later. Beigh killed many innocent Kashmiris in the early 90s on the mere suspicion that they were police informers. He also ruthlessly killed Kashmiris who were affiliated with mainstream political parties, particularly National Conference.

Another typical example is that of Noor Mohammad Bhat, son of Abdul Gani Bhat, working in the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Department as Assistant Store Keeper. Bhat was originally from Shaheed Gunj, and was currently living in Natipora. Bhat was appointed as a daily wager. His services were regularized in 1994. He was an active terrorist associated with Jamiyat-ul-Mujahideen. He was known for his brutality, and had killed many innocent unarmed civilians. When he was arrested, about a dozen guns were recovered from his possession. He was charged under the Public Safety Act and was jailed for two years.

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