ISI’s evil game plan After the humiliating defeat of Pakistan at Geneva in the UNHRC meeting on the issue of the “human rights situation in Kashmir” in 1994, Pakistan and its spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and their agents in Kashmir came to the conclusion that if J&K was to be de-linked from India and merged with Pakistan, Kashmir-like situation had to be created in Jammu province by changing its demography. This writer warned the powers-that-be through his article in The Hindu on February 25, 1995, but with no result. It was captioned “Jammu, the ISI target”. No wonder then that, the enemies within and outside unleashed demographic invasion on Jammu.
After October 9, 1996, Farooq Abdullah took over as J&K CM for the third time and the ongoing demographic invasion assumed a dangerous proportion. The most dangerous aspect of the whole situation was that CM Farooq Abdullah himself looted a big chunk of state/ forest land in Jammu’s highly strategic Bathindi and built on it a palatial house. The occupation of the state land by Farooq Abdullah and the construction of a vast mansion on it was destined to induce his co-religionists to do what he did and it happened. The result was the loot and plunder of state/ forest land at Bathindi and other areas of Jammu city and around it and the construction of houses and business establishments on a massive scale.
J&K BJP sought Vajpayee’s intervention
On March 29, 1999, top J&K BJP leaders, including the party president Daya Kishan Kotwal, Chaman Lal Gupta (MP), Bhagwat Saroop (General secretary, organization) and Ashok Khajuria, Bali Bhagat, Prem Lal, Piara Singh, Hans Raj Dogra (all MLAs), met PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and HM L K Advani in New Delhi and discussed with them the prevailing situation in J&K in general and Jammu province in particular. They warned that “Jammu could go the Kashmir way if immediate steps were not taken to restructure the state political system in such a way that empowers the people of Jammu to decide their own aspirations”.
As a matter of fact, the state BJP leadership submitted a memorandum to the PM which, inter-alia, said: “Concerted efforts are being made by the National Conference (NC) government to change the demography of Jammu as thousands of Kashmiri Muslims from the Valley have constructed their houses in and around Jammu City. This construction is going on non-stop with the active connivance of the state government. Almost all the NC ministers have raised their bungalows. Even the chief minister (Farooq Abdullah) has constructed a massive bungalow after encroaching 19 kanals of forest land…”
The memorandum further read like this: “Jammu has always worked as our battle-front against the onslaught of anti-India forces active in the Valley or across the border. More than 50 years have elapsed since the beginning of this struggle. Our two generations have sacrificed their legitimate interests to keep the Indian Flag hoisting in the whole of J&K. Now, Jammu is being sand-witched between Pak-abetted militancy and the worst type of exploitation by the NC leadership”.
“Saying enough is enough”, the memorandum said, and added that “the people of Jammu are slowly loosing vigour to fight against anti-national forces”. “Now is the time to hold them. And, only BJP has the understanding, will, and the required power to do so,” it also said.
Jammu-based NC ministers pounced upon BJP
The BJP memorandum evoked a very sharp reaction from the NC government. Farooq Abdullah fielded all the eight Jammu-based NC ministers, including Bodh Raj Bali, (Karan Singh’s son) Ajat Shatru Singh, M S Tariq, Nissar Ahmad Khan, Bashir Ahmad Kitchloo, Ajay Sadhota, and Govind Ram, and the Jammu-based office-bearers of the NC, including Harbans Singh, Rattan Lal Gupta, Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, Jugal Mahajan, Brij Mohan Sharma and Darshan Lal, against the BJP. They termed the BJP’s memorandum as a document of “communalism”. Condemning in downright language the BJP and its memorandum, these NC ministers and party office-bearers accused the BJP of “engineering dissensions on communal lines in Jammu and warned that their (BJP’s) campaign on communal lines would only strengthen the hands of anti-national and communal force in the state”.
Referring to the BJP’s statement on the change in the demographic character of Jammu, the NC ministers and other party leaders from Jammu said: “The people of Jammu had exhibited remarkable political maturity, amity, and tolerance and gave shelter to thousands of victims of Pak-abetted militancy (read terrorism) in all these years. While giving shelter to migrants, nobody raised even an eyebrow about the religious faith or the caste of the migrants. But the BJP is questioning the right of the state subjects to buy property anywhere in the state (overlooking the fact) that there is no legal or constitutional bar on this right”.
In other words, the NC ministers and party leaders, instead of opposing demographic changes in Jammu in their own interest and in the interest of their own province, gave their unstinted and unflinching support to Farooq Abdullah and his government. And the manner in which they supported the demographic invasion speaks for itself and I need not reflect on their attitude and the damage they caused by saying what they said.
DGP Gurbachan Jagat vindicated BJP
Exactly a month later (April 29), the then J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Gurbachan Jagat publicly said that the ISI was changing the demographic character of Jammu. Speaking at a function organized by the J&K Institute of Public Opinion on “The state of militancy and the role of J&K police in tackling it”, the DGP, among other things, said: “Militants executed heinous massacres of Hindus in (Jammu’s) Poonch, Rajouri, Budhal, Mahore, Prankot and other higher reaches just to force migration of the Hindus from these areas…As the enemy failed to execute the migration of Hindus despite repeated massacres, the ISI with the help of its agents started purchasing land from Hindus in these areas to change the demographic character of the entire Pir Panjal (Mountain) range…To accomplish its new game plan ISI has pumped a lot of money through fake and genuine currency and asked its agents to purchase land from the minority (Hindu) community at any cost. The entire Pir Panjal range of Sunderbani, Nowshera, Poonch, Rajouri, Budhal, and Mahore is strategically important as it connects with the Anantnag district of Kashmir secondly, due to its geographical condition, it is an easy point of infiltration…Police have detected such a game plan in the Nowshera sector where an ISI agent at the direction of its mentor from across the border has purchased land from Hindus at very high prices…The police with the help of locals of the region was making every possible effort to frustrate the new game plan of the ISI”.
Farooq snubbed prominent citizens
Earlier on September 7, 1997, Farooq Abdullah snubbed prominent citizens of Jammu when they raised the issue of demographic changes. A report in this regard read like this: “addressing a meeting of prominent citizens here (Jammu) today, CM Farooq Abdullah ‘categorically’ denied that there was any attempt to change the demographic character of Jammu City. Reacting to the issue, he said that the state government will not spare anyone trying to change the demographic position. This is propaganda (unleashed) to create a wedge between people on communal lines”.
New Delhi’s indifference
It is a matter of grave concern that the BJP’s memorandum to PM Vajpayee and J&K DGP Gurbachan Jagat’s revelations didn’t move the Vajpayee government and other governments at the centre. As a result, the enemies within and outside changed the face of Jammu city beyond recognition. There are reports to the effect that those involved in the change-Jammu-demography game plan have established almost four dozen colonies and huge business establishments in Jammu City and around it.
Matter of satisfaction?
Indeed, it’s a matter of satisfaction that the Comptroller and Auditor-General (C&AG), J&K High Court, Supreme Court, public-spirited citizens like Prof S K Bhalla and Advocate Ankur Sharma, and the Narendra Modi government have taken note of what happened in J&K during the misrule of Farooq Abdullah, Mufti Sayeed, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti. It is hoped that the anti-encroachment drive (or official jihad against zameen jihadis) recently started by the J&K government would produce the desired results and bring to justice the former CMs and others involved in the demographic invasion.