To The Left Of Jhelum
To The Right Of Jhelum
by Bisma Nazir
Analysis Of Development Indices, Law And Order Situation, Education And Employment Opportunities, Healthcare
Kashmir Central Observes Interesting Correlation Of Militancy And Extremist Ideology With Cannabis And Poppy Cultivation
Much has been written about the dimensions of the violent conflict in Kashmir. One thing that comes to the fore in the ultimate analysis is that Kashmir is not a homogeneous entity as far as the impact of the conflict on the thought processes is concerned.
Different connotations are attributed to the cause of violence in Kashmir. Indoctrination and radicalization, of course, are the central theme of the conflict and its analysis. There are, however, many other connotations to this violent conflict.
In one of our recent editions, we tried to give a fair idea of why the behaviour of the people of northern Kashmir is different from their southern counterparts. We elaborated that the conduct of the security forces, and equally the people’s deep-rooted perception of the conduct of the security forces has a direct bearing on the behaviour of the people of north Kashmir. Synergy is a two-way traffic.
That said, we are presenting a very thought provoking analysis here in this edition.
Study Of Varying Outlooks, Development Indices
It has been observed that people living alongside the Jammu-Srinagar national highway right from the Qazigund tunnel have different outlook as compared to the people living on the left of Jhelum river. Let us study this difference and the reasons for it.
People close to the national highway have a greater interaction with the commuters. This particularly includes visitors and tourists – the domestic and also the international tourism traffic. The interactions lead to long-term socio- economic impact
The development indices suggest that the people living along the national highway have greater opportunities for education, decent livelihood, better healthcare and also better employment opportunities. These people are far more stable economically, socially and educationally as compared to the people living on the left of river Jhelum.
There is more to it. The state and its agencies have a cordial connection and a working relationship with the people living along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway. The interaction between the two is amiable.
We also observe that along the national highway, people have largely opted for law-abiding sources of living. They display a modern scientific outlook to life. This pattern is quite obvious along the national highway. This is because of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious interactions with the commuters.
It is important to note that these interactions are beyond the bounds of religious belief. Hence, these people are seen to be more peaceful and also peace loving.
Classic relationship between radical ideologies, areas where drugs are cultivated
In contravention to the observations made above, the behaviour of the general populace is different for those living on the left of the river Jhelum. They are socially and economically lagging behind those who live along the national highway.
But this is not the only indicator. A very important observation is that the cultivation of cannabis, poppy and other plants used for drug extraction is more common in the habitation on the left of river Jhelum.
Here is an interesting and classic relationship between radical ideologies and the areas where drugs are cultivated. Religious extremists usually target socio-economically backward sections. These sections are desperate to make ends meet and go for a quick-fix solution for their problems. Legality and illegality hardly make any difference for the poor. Their major worry is the daily bread.
Narrative Of Purification, Funds Funneled Into Terror
In Kashmir valley, the economically weaker sections have been cultivating cannabis and poppy for years together. An interesting equation to be observed in these areas is that the extremist elements have latched on to the narrative of purification in these areas.
The constant harping of the extremist elements is on the narrative of purification of the people involved in the cultivation of cannabis and poppy. The extremist elements collect donations from these people in a sizable amount. This amount is then funneled for the funding of terror organizations.
Left Of The Jhelum – Volatile, Militancy-Dense
The belt which is into the cultivation of cannabis falls on the left of Jhelum river. These are the areas which are volatile and are dense in terms of militancy and militant activity.
Let us name some of these areas. Moving from Qaimoh area of Kulgam district, close to the river we go towards Redwini Frisal, Yaripora, Hassanpora, Subhanpora, Luktipora, Tulkhan, Nayna, Khelan, Melhora, Panzgam, Dogripora and many other similar locations.
Right Of The Jhelum River – More Harmonious, Peace-Loving
Areas on the right of Jhelum river close to the national highway are Qazigund, Vessu, Nepora, Mirbazar etc of Kulgam district
Sangam, Halamulla,Sethar etc of Anantnag district
Chechkot, Chursoo, Barsoo, Lethpora etc of Pulwama district
Case Study For Understanding The Dynamics
Left Of Jhelum And Vishav Rivers – Hotbeds Of Militancy
Let us produce here a study case for understanding these dynamics. On the left of Jhelum river and Vishav river, before the two rivers combine at Sangam, there is a belt which has been engaged in the cultivation of cannabis for decades.
In fact this is the major cannabis producing area in the entire Kashmir region. And these are the areas where orthodox religious organizations have established a strong base.
We can easily observe how drug trafficking has a relationship with militant activities in the area. This belt has major strategic and geographical significance. This is the belt where the administrative control of the four districts, viz Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama is demarcated.
This is the belt which over the years has remained the hot bed of militancy. This belt is also the den of narcotics.
Over recent times, the police and security forces have arrested a large number of people from this area who were engaged with the narcotics business. Interestingly, this same set of people was also affiliated with orthodox religious organizations.
Out Of Security Loop
Heavy Cultivation of Poppy, Cannabis
Here again, three factors come into play. These are poor development indices, influence of orthodox religious thought processes and narco terrorism
Many areas in Kashmir are somehow out of the security loop on account of their geographical location. The populace of these areas also engages in the cultivation of cannabis and poppy.
If we go towards the north, the same pattern is evident. The cultivation of cannabis and poppy can be seen alongside the banks of Nengli Nala, Frasthar Nala, Ferozpur Nala, Rushi Nala and many other streams passing through the districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.
It is interesting to see that the militants, after infiltrating across the border, traditionally use the same routes to reach Sopore for the forward journey towards central and south Kashmir.
Here again, three factors come into play. These are poor development indices, influence of orthodox religious thought processes and narco terrorism.
Again going back to the southern district of Shopian and Kulgam, the cultivation of cannabis and poppy is more along the banks of Rambi Nala, Vishav Nala and Tongri Nala.
Complex Dynamics Of Violence
Agitations of 2010, 2012, 2016
Mass uprisings had almost fizzled out in areas other than ones into cultivation of drugs
We can study the dynamics of the two historical areas in south Kashmir enroute to Pahalgam – Dachnipara and Khoripara.
Khoripara is the area situated alongside the Khanabal-Pahalgam road. Dachinapara is situated along the Bijbehara-Langanbal road.
The Khanabal-Pahalgam road is the main road used by tourists and yatris for Pahalgam and for the onward journey to Shri Amarnath Cave Shrine. On account of this, the area is comparatively developed and has witnessed the least number of untoward incidents, as compared to the Bijbehara-Langanbal road which is used for local commuting. The influence of radical organizations is more here. This area has also seen much bloodshed over the last 30 years. The cultivation of cannabis and poppy is common along this route.
The study of the agitations of 2010, 2012 and 2016 also provides us an insight into the complex dynamics of violence. The mass uprisings had almost fizzled out in areas other than the ones which are into the cultivation of drugs.
This analysis clearly shows that the response to violent ideologies is not homogeneous even within the administrative jurisdiction of one district. This also provides a sound argument that with high inter-cultural interaction, developmental indices are higher. This and many other factors have a direct bearing on the response and behaviour of the populace of a particular area.
(This analytical write-up has the inputs of a senior IPS officer)