Politics in Kashmir as “filthy” as Dal lake: US cable
PTI Sep 05,2011
Srinagar, Sept 5 (PTI) Politics in Kashmir is “as filthy as Dal lake” and corruption cuts across party lines, according to leaked US diplomatic cables from India released by Wikileaks. David Mulford in a cable to Washington in 2006 when he was the US ambassador to India also alleged that corruption in Jammu and Kashmir was widespread and prevalent not only among mainstream politicians but separatists as well. “Corruption cuts across party lines and most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan,” Mulford said in the cable which was released by Wikileaks last week. The April 2006 cable, released by Wikileaks and titled “Kashmiri politics as filthy as Dal lake”, alleges that politicians — mainstream as well as separatists — amassed wealth within the country and abroad. Mulford observed that the spread of corruption undermined popular support of existing political parties and s eparatists. “Money from Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies and from Saudi and other foreign extremists has further distorted Kashmiri politics, incentivized leaders to perpetuate the conflict, and perverted state and central government institutions,” he added. In another US diplomatic cable, Mulford quoted JKLF chairman Yasin Malik as alleging that Kashmir is all a “money game”. “Kashmiri politics is no longer about ideology, it’s all a money game,” the US diplomatic cable dated April 2006 quotes Malik as saying. The cable further alleged that a “recurring theme” throughout the interactions with Kashmiris suggest how Indian and Pakistani money has made all Kashmiri political actors dependent on “handouts”. The cable said that state administration gets “rivers of money” for development but the streets in J and K are “appalling, even by Indian standards.” It however, believed that the funds to Kashmiri politicians from India and Pakistan will stop flowing once the Kashmir issue is resolved.
Kashmir is a money game: David Mulford
ET Bureau Sep 5, 2011
SRINAGAR: David Mulford, who was American Ambassador to India, cabled the US State Department in February 2006, “Kashmir politics is as filthy as Dal Lake”.
Scores of cables of whistleblower website WikiLeaks has several instances explaining the vested interest of ‘stakeholders’ in keeping the Kashmir pot boiling. “Corruption cuts across party lines and most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan,” a cable noted.
Giving an example, Mulford’s cable alleged that a Kashmiri businessman told embassy officials that Mirwaiz Umer Farooq had acquired property in Dubai and the Kashmir Valley from payoffs done by intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan.
The cable noted that some “security officers bribe their way into Kashmir assignments that give access to lucrative civil affairs and logistics contracts.” Mulford’s cable also referred to a newspaper report suggesting a “retired minister for Irrigation and Flood Control” embezzled funds to construct two large homes in Srinagar.
Money from Pakistani and Indian intelligence agencies and foreign extremists has distorted Kashmiri politics and incentivised leaders to perpetuate the conflict, another Mulford cable alleged.
“While this river of dirty money has led to a boom in Kashmiri household income and real estate prices, it also calls into question whether the Kashmiri elite truly want a settlement to their problems. The minute a deal is struck, some must surely worry that the funds will dry up,” the cable said.
An April 2006, a cable from Mulford alleged that when JKLF’s Yasin Malik asked people belonging to moderate separatist Bilal Lone’s area to refuse government compensation (paid for every innocent killing), the latter told US officials that “Yasin should give up ‘a month of his Pakistani salary’ to compensate families of boys killed”.
The cable was based on the US officials’ visit to Srinagar between April 3 and 5. In the same cable Mulford quotes PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti accusing New Delhi of reverting “to its customary bad old ways” before the April 24, 2006, by-elections.
The Intelligence Bureau, the cable quotes Ms Mufti alleging, had given Sajjad (Gani Lone) a crore of rupees to support an independent candidate secretly affiliated to him. Arecurring theme, Mulford informs his bosses in Washington, “throughout all of our interactions with Kashmiris” is “how Indian and Pakistani money has made all Kashmiri political actors dependent on handouts.”
He alleged: “Omar and Farooq Abdullah, descendants of the Sheikh who first figured out Delhi’s money game, live in fabulous houses in Srinagar and Delhi, wear matching Panerai watches, serve Blue Label to guests and travel all over the world first class courtesy the Indian government.”
The ambassador, who served in India for little over five years, was pained to see the lack of development work. “The state administration gets rivers of money for development but the streets in J&K are appalling, even by Indian standards.”
The cable quoted two leaders who admitting that there was money. “Sajjad lamented that the conflict remained lucrative to many, and he is right,” the cable reads.
“CPM legislator Yusuf Tarighami also told us too many people have a stake in the conflict’s perpetuation.” Even Yasin Malik said: “Kashmiri politics is no longer about ideology, it’s all a money game.”