Considered to be most apolitical army across the world, Indian Army is faced with a piquant situation in a theatre where its jawans and officers have offered innumerable sacrifices since Independence and creation of theocratic Pakistan. Shockingly, Kashmir, the Karambhoomi of the most valiant army, is unfolding itself as a most uncivilized turf on this planet with radicals dominating in different guises. They are visible in the form of stone-pelters on the streets and invisible in the so-called political leeches, which turn nationalists in power and saboteurs once out of it. This chameleon character of Kashmiri politicians has been promoted by New Delhi. And in pursuit of placating opportunistic Kashmir centric politicians, the rulers in New Delhi are forgetting that no government can run or function without a robust army. It is not now only; it has been during the times of monarchs centuries ago. The rulers have never ever let down their armies, which embrace death valiantly but never compromise with their honour. The robes the armies wear reflect their dignity and those trying to trample with these are actually belittling their self esteem. This is unfortunately what is happening in the Kashmir Valley.
Indian Army and the security forces are working in a most difficult and hostile environment in the Valley. Dying for them on border to defend the sovereignty of nation is certainly an honour but helplessly falling prey to pampered brutes in full public gaze is a humiliation, which they may not perhaps withstand anymore. The forces are not incapable of braving the difficult and hostile atmosphere but vision-less and spineless rulers in New Delhi have made them fodder of their lust for power by tying their hands.
How come, the Indian rulers show 56-inch chest when outside the precincts of North and South Blocks but once inside they turn out just paper tigers. On 11th August 2013, Narendra Modi, then chief election campaigner and Prime Ministerial face of the BJP, reacted strongly to beheading of Naik Hemraj on Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. In a much publicized rally, he addressed to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and said, “Shame, shame, shame on you. Shame on you, who are running the government of India, you are spraying acid on the wounds of 125 crore Indians (by allowing the perpetrators of Indian soldiers’ beheading let go)”. He was very happy to see the applause of the audience who clapped when he dared Dr Manmohan Singh, saying, “Now when the Pakistani Army, this week, shot dead our jawans, I want to ask the Prime Minister…he had made the promise that we will not tolerate such things. What is the reason that a country of 125 crore is silently tolerating when Pakistan is doing all this?”
Now, the same Narendra Modi, has gone mute as Prime Minister over successive attempts of belittling Indian soldiers in Kashmir, forgetting that beheading of a martyred soldier may bleed our hearts but kicking their headgears bows our heads with shame. Why didn’t the Prime Minister demonstrate similar bravado to deal with die-hard, radicalised and politically pampered cowards heckling a CRPF jawan in Kralpora area in the Chadoora assembly segment in Budgam district. This is not the isolated incident wherein personnel of the forces were humiliated. They are being booed, jeered, stoned, slapped and humiliated on regular basis, especially after the BJP led government took over in New Delhi. The situation has further deteriorated with PDP-BJP government in place in Jammu and Kashmir.
Lately, the stone-pelters and terror sympathizers in Kashmir have got emboldened to the extent of hampering anti-militancy operations by engaging security forces in clashes so that holed up terrorists flee from their hideouts. Realising the gravity of this alarming trend, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had on 16th February 2017 warned stone-pelters,+ who try to disrupt anti-terror operations in J&K that they will be treated as “overground workers of terrorists” and can be fired on. He had said, “Those who obstruct our operations during encounters and aren’t supportive will be treated as over-ground workers of terrorists. He had also warned that people waving ISIS and Pakistan flags will be treated as anti-nationals. The Army chief had also said that soldiers would not hesitate to fire on stone-pelting youths if they tried to thwart anti-terror operations.
What was wrong in the statement of the Army Chief that annoyed sickulirists of India, who went whole-hog against Rawat. For appeasing terror mongers, the so-called secularists ignored the increasing trend of flash mobs trying to prevent security forces from cornering terrorists during counter-insurgency operations in J&K over the last couple of years. They also forgot the instances wherein holed up terrorists escaped the security dragnet, while leading to higher casualties among the forces. There has been a well-crafted policy, fuelled from across the border, to put pressure on the security forces by getting stone-pelting civilians to give cover to terrorists during encounters.
Unfortunately, instead of backing the Army, the Narendra Modi government preferred to look to the other side. The consequences are before all of us. Now the security forces convoys are Gheraoed, stoned and made to flee amid hysteric jeering of crowds. Insults on daily basis by anti-national elements and continued appeasement policy of the New Delhi rulers have potential of provoking the apolitical forces who may lose their cool some day. That will be unfortunate day for Indian democracy in general and the politicians in particular, who are enjoying loaves of power at the sacrifices of soldiers. They cannot make them a spectacle of ridicule. This will boomerang. The most disciplined and apolitical army of India may find pushed to the wall with a severe dent to its morale, if the apathy of the insensitive rulers continues. How long shall they be at receiving end? The valiant forces can turn rebels and revolt if their pride continues to get hurt and bruised. How long can the rulers avert, what is unknown in Indian polity, coup? Is New Delhi waiting for such an exigency?
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper