India Intelligence Report
 

Govt Not Banking on Separatist Vote

 

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan said that the ongoing roundtable discussions with Jammu & Kashmiri groups cannot be held hostage by group and that separatists do not have a “veto” on the “success or otherwise” of these talks. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will chair the second round on May 25 in Srinagar. The first round was held on Feb 25 and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) founder member Hashim Qureshi was the only separatist who turned up for that meeting.

However, Narayanan said that the Government will try to impress on the separatists to “recognize the validity and utility of participation.” Narayanan insists that they are in a minority and while the country would like their participation, it will not stop for them.

For the last decade, the state has had consecutive and successive elections. The Army has essentially moved out of the cities to the borders and the police and paramilitary deal with the terrorist elements from Pakistan. Infiltration has dropped marginally because of lack of popular support, better intelligence, anti-terrorist combing operations, and intensive patrolling of the border. Public informants have pointed to the presence of terrorists leading to arrests of senior and hardcore elements.

 

The state has a complicated ethnic mix. It has a marginal majority of Muslims with 50% Sunni and the rest Shia (craftsmen and farmers), Gujjars (shepherds), and Bakerwals (artisans). The other 50% is made up of Hindu majority in Jammu and Buddhist majority in Leh. The Srinagar Valley has a majority Sunni population while the Shias are in majority in Doda. While Jammu is larger in geography and Leh even larger, the Srinagar Valley gets most of the seats in the Assembly because of parochial district lining and doctoring by the National Conference. 

While India has always known about this problem, it aided and abetted this sleight of hand so it can manipulate the democracy in the state. State constituents are bitter about the past policy of manipulation by the Federal Government. However, they now recognize the sincerity of the empowered Election Commission and independent monitors have validated the clean democratic process in the last 10 years.