India’s Cognitive Failure
My first anti-imperialist (read ‘anti socio-political & economic terrorism’) rally was at the age of seven. When you start that young then politics is not just about smoke filled rooms or a hat in the ring; the growth and evolution in such cases is almost biological. My political thought defines me as much as my DNA does. I have worked hard to seek and surround myself with people of superior intelligence, advanced cerebral growth patterns and a keen sense of detecting and offsetting rhetoric at any given time. Therefore, on 9/24/2016, when a “FaceBook Friend” from India displayed clear signs of conceptual myopia by posting and signing a petition in support of HR6096, I cringed.
“Indeed terrorism has become a value-laden term”. (Ross, 2006, Political Terrorism: An Interdisciplinary Approach).
The line above carries extremely important information. We must always remember that terrorism is not just a word; it is a term. Terms are by nature relative and will therefore morph depending upon the context. That is precisely why they cannot be mathematized to conform to a given rule, law or standard. And that is precisely why they should not be used for labeling; not in casual conversations and most definitely not through political petitions riding on vested interest.
“All attempts to formulate the concept will be hopelessly compromised by essentially arbitrary personal or political bias. Consequently, any analysis based on such dubious conceptual foundations will be distorted and most likely vacuous”. (Sederberg, 1991, Conciliation as Counter-Terrorist Strategy)
HR6096 is the work of two Republicans congressmen, (R)Ted Poe of Texas and (R)Dana Rohrabacher of California. Both legislators have a personal and political history highlighted with bigotry, self-serving actions, political corruption, human rights violations and racist leanings. That is why HR6096 is everything (and more) that is stated in the quote above. It is hopelessly compromised and essentially arbitrary owing to the personal and political bias of the two petitioners. For anyone not identifying with the petitioners’ political thought (and there are many) the foundations of this petition are dubious and vacuous.
BUT Ted Poe or Dana Rohrabacher are not Indians; my Facebook friend is, and it is in that context that I cringe. My cringing comes from India’s blatant disregard of ground realities; the history, the geography, the politics and human rights violations being committed by the Indian army in the disputed state of Jammu & Kashmir. My cringing turns into anger at Sushma Swaraj’s desperately pathetic attempt to draw parallels between Baluchistan & Kashmir in her UNGA speech and my anger turns into disgust at every sinister, counter terrorism suggestion by Ajit Kumar Doval (here).
When Swaraj said, “The germ of evil has grown into a hydra-headed monster, backed by technological sophistication…” I wonder if she meant the “non-lethal" pellet cartridges being used by the Indian army in Indian Occupied Kashmir since 2010 and which we can see here embedded in the skull of twenty years old Amir Begh.
Swaraj said, “In our midst, there are nations that still speak the language of terrorism, that nurture it, peddle it, and export it. To shelter terrorists has become their calling card. We must identify these nations and hold them to account”. And I absolutely agree!
India’s many Gods and their stories might hold a certain charm for some, but for Indian people to have as many versions of facts, and for the Indian government to have as many yardsticks to measure them, is far from being charming… it is self-serving, bigoted, offensive, morally corrupt and by all means a crime against humanity.
FBI’s defines terrorism as:
The unlawful use of force or violence against a
person or property to intimidate or coerce a government,
the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance
of political or social objective.
Assuming that the Indians signing HR6096 by default agree with FBI’s definition of terrorism, please join me in taking stock of the past four months of Kashmir.
- · On July 19, 2016, Harinder Baveja of The Hindustan Times wrote, “The ground from under Kashmir’s feet had slipped last year when the tech-savvy new-age militants far outnumbered what security forces call ‘’foreign terrorists’’ or those who come from Pakistan”.
- · Neville Lazarus of Sky News reported on July 19th “The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) fired around 3,765 cartridges, each containing 450 metallic balls, between 9 July and 11 August - amounting to the discharge of almost 1.7 million pellets in total…. Pellet guns have injured more than 400 people in the valley, with many … suffering irreversible damage to their eyes”.
- · By July 21, 2016, children as young as five years old Zohra Zahoor and twelve years old Junaid had fallen victim to the indiscriminate use of ‘NON_LETHAL’ pellet cartridges by Indian security forces in their crackdown against the natives.
- · On 18th August, while taking responsibility for the murder of Shabir Mangoo,who was beaten to death by a group of Indian Army personnel who raided his house in the night, Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. D S Hooda admitted to unsanctioned rage based operations carried out by the soldiers at will. (here) & (here)
- · On 16th September, a senior member of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), Khurram Parvez was turned away from Delhi airport on Wednesday evening after trying to board a flight to Switzerland, where he planned to submit a “civil society stakeholder’s report” to the UN human rights council.
And this is just four months in 2016. A miniscule detail from the past sixty-nine years of struggle by Kashmiris demanding their legitimate right of plebiscite. Referring once again to FBI’s definition of terrorism (on which HR6096 is based) one must ask if this is not
· the unlawful use of force or violence
· against a person or property
· to intimidate or coerce the civilian population, (and) segment thereof
· in furtherance of political or social objective
I say it is!
Swaraj poignantly said,
“Therefore, if we want to defeat terrorism, there is only one way - that we unite across our differences, add steel to our resolve and inject urgency in our response. We need to forget our prejudices and join hands together to script an effective strategy against terror. This is not an impossible task provided we have the will. We can do it; we must do it. Otherwise our future generations will forever hold us to account. And if any nation refuses to join this global strategy, then we must isolate it.
I say, we must! Though I’m not sure that Sushma Swaraj, the government she represents and my FaceBook friend agree in all given context.
In the past seven years Pakistan has lost 35,932 lives to terrorism, which is more than five times of India's 7,026. (source). India has domestic terrorism in the form of Kashmir, Assam, Nagalim, Tripura and Khalistan movements. Pakistan has... well... if you must... Baluchistan. Even then, the numbers are too skewed to justify the Indian stance or HR6096.
PS. for comparative details on Baluchistan please feel free to Google it or ask the scribe to Google it for you, It'll be my pleasure!