These days the whole media is abuzz with the revelations in a national newspaper about a plot having been hatched by the former Army Chief to overthrow the State Government in 2010 by bribing a cabinet minister. Allegations and counter allegations are galore in this controversy. However, covert operations in Kashmir are not a big surprise or a new discovery. For last 65 years or so, Kashmir has been turned into a hotbed of conspiracies and covert operations. In fact, the very first covert operation has been the conversion of Muslim Conference into National Conference in 1938 and the subsequent motivating of the Lion of Kashmir to follow the Indian line of action by supporting the signing of the instrument of accession by the erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh. Many books have been written on the subject and some even deny the very existence of the said document!
The next most important covert operation has been the dethroning of the Lion and his long incarceration. B.N. Mullick, the then Director of the Intelligence Bureau says in his book that it took him two years to convince Pandit Nehru that it was essential to remove Sheikh Abdullah from the scene to allow complete integration of the State of Jammu & Kashmir in the Indian Union! The starting of the Parija Parishad agitation in Jammu called, “Ek Nishan, Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan”, for total integration of the state which turned Sheikh Abdullah against India giving the Indian Government an opportunity to detain him, was part of the same covert operation. Then happened what can be called the mystery of the century which no one has been able to unearth so far. That was the removal of the holy relic from the Hazratbal mosque in December, 1963.
This operation not only removed Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad and his entire dynasty who had completely overshadowed everything in Kashmir for almost 11 years, from the scene but also revived Kashmir’s movement for the right of self-determination. Kashmir suddenly popped up on the international radar once again. How and by whom the holy relic was removed and how it came back is the greatest puzzle of our times. Will this mystery be ever solved? That is a million dollar question! The other side too had started their covert operations right from 1947 with the first one being the tribal raid to thwart the Indian annexation of Kashmir. In fifties after the dethroning of the Lion of Kashmir, their covert operations were mostly confined to sending sacks full of currency notes to the leaders of the Kashmir’s popular movement and their families. One Jehangir used to be their king pin for these operations.
After the turmoil of nineties, such operations became a routine. In fact, everything turned murky and one could not distinguish between the real freedom fighters and the imposters roaming all over the valley. The security forces floated their own clandestine outfits and there were so many violent incidents and no one has been so far able to pin point the real perpetrators of these. The skeletons have now started tumbling from the Army cupboard and there must be dozens of such cupboards! One of the most talked about and notorious operation has been the “Al Farhan” story described in detail in the book “Meadows”! Tom Clancy has even written a novel about these covert operations in Kashmir. It is called the “Line of Control”! In this very interesting and exciting novel, an Indian agent of the paramilitary forces exposes the conspiracy to start an Indo-Pak war by attacking the Amarnath Pilgrims near the Tourist Centre in Srinagar! The possible Armageddon is averted by American intervention.
One is reminded about some interesting quotes of Kautilya in his treatise the Arthashastra. “A king shall have his agents in the courts of the enemy, the ally, the Middle and the Neutral kings to spy on the kings as well as their eighteen types of high officials”. “Miraculous results can be achieved by practising the methods of subversion”. “A single assassin can achieve, with weapons, fire or poison, more than a fully mobilised army”. In fact, it is said that Pandit Nehru used to keep a copy of this famous treatise, which is an equivalent of the Machiavelli’s Prince, by his bedside! His Kashmir strategy appears definitely to have been influenced by his minute study of the Arthashastra!
The Arthashastra is used as a text book in the Indian Military Academy from which General V.K.Singh has graduated. Thus, the covert operation conducted by the Technical Services Division of the Military Intelligence in 2010 is only the tip of the iceberg in regard to dozens of such clandestine activities being conducted in Kashmir by various agencies and outfits including the Armies from both the countries. In fact, the timing of the exposure of this operation itself may be another sophisticated operation to benefit certain quarters in view of the forthcoming elections?