Kashmir Portal

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Army retreat from J&K will be suicidal

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

Army retreat from J&K will be suicidal

Ramesh Khazanchi Sunday June 14, 2009
The Times of India

Link – http://blogs. timesofindia. indiatimes. com/Hard- copy/entry/ it-s-a-war- keep

Kashmir, I admit, is my fixation, for I am a victim of its two-decade-long dalliance with death and destruction. The latest spark adding insult to injury is the reported acceptance by the Union home minister, P Chidambaram, of a proposal from the J&K state leadership seeking the suspension or revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA). However, even talk of its revocation could spell doom for the return of normalcy to the violence-ridden valley. Pakistan’s ruinous internecine battle within may have its ramifications across the LoC, not by chance but by design.

It was Chidambaram’s first visit to the valley after he became home minister. Let him lead by example. If he looks soft by the exterior, let it not be mistaken as a sign of weakness. Flexing the iron hand in the velvet glove, I believe, is the need of the hour. If financial wizardry is his forte, strategic planning ought to be his bible in his new role. It is far too pre-mature at this stage to even think of putting on hold the AFSPA let alone its revocation. In any case, the unified Command – which comprises the Army brass, the governor, the chief minister and the Cabinet Committee on Security – has to deliberate the issue before a decision in this regard is made.

Legend has it that Kashmir is the land of Kashyap rishi (seer), the eponymous saint who lent the ‘vahr’ (bowl-shaped) valley its name and identity, exterminated the ‘asuras’ (demons) who would devour the God-fearing aborigines. Mark, the first syllable is common to both – Kash-yap and Kash-mir. Born and brought up in the paradise-turned- cauldron, like tens of thousands of other Kashmiri Hindus – to be precise Kashmiri Pandits – I have been driven out of my motherland for no fault of mine by none other than the jihadis, brainwashed at a tender age by the scourge-on-earth – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s supra-constitutiona l ‘international- sabotage institution’.

Americans have realised it post 9/11 – much, much after we Indians fell victim to Pakistan’s machinations and the gory violence it unleashed in a bid to wrest control of the land which never was theirs. For 20 years we suffered at their hands in Punjab, and for the last two decades in Jammu & Kashmir in what is euphemistically termed a low-intensity conflict (LIC). What they failed to attain by outright aggression in 1947, ’65 and ’71, has been attempted by sowing the seeds of internal strife and secession.

Only the Cowboy has gone the whole hog after them as he has the wherewithal and the will to exterminate the scourge.

The grand old American democracy has introduced a plethora of all-encompassing legislation, including the Homeland Security Act and US Patriot Act, which permit the DNA profiling of people suspected of terrorist activity against the US or its interests and subjects abroad. That’s what nations are legitimately supposed to do to protect their territorial integrity and national sovereignty aimed at securing the life, liberty, business and property of its citizens and allies.

Alas, the weak-kneed Indian government has, unlike Americans, failed to stem the tide of home-grown militancy and Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in the state. India, under whichever political dispensation at the Centre, has abysmally failed to turn the adversity into opportunity on many an occasion. The high point being Pakistan’s Kargil misadventure, although a godsend for us, we missed the bus again for we failed the nation by not declaring a full-fledged war on all fronts, including the western front and the Karachi harbour. What do we maintain for the Naval behemoth in the Arabian sea? Are we content in letting it be an augmentation of the Coast Guard? There we failed, too, in the wake of the enemy’s cloak-and-dagger operation when so-called non-state actors surreptitiously sailed across the high seas to carry out the 26/11 terrorist mission in Mumbai under explicit directions and logistic support by their agent-provocateur across the Radcliffe Line.

On November 27, 1997, then Chief Justice of India J S Verma and four other judges of the Supreme Court on a review petition of the AFSPA (in the context of the north-east) observed, “The power to make a law providing for deployment of the armed forces of the Union in aid of the civil power of a State does not include within its ambit the power to enact a law which would enable the armed forces of the Union to supplant or act as a substitute for the civil power in the State. The armed forces of the Union would operate in the State concerned in cooperation with the civil administration so that the situation which has necessitated the deployment of armed forces is effectively dealt with and normalcy is restored.”

It is explicit in the judgment that the Army will act “in aid of the civil administration of the state”… until “normalcy is restored.” Keeping in view the recent successful bids by the battle-hardened militants to infiltrate into the valley under heavy arms fire-cover provided by the Pakistan army coupled with the melting snow at the high mountain passes, the situation does not warrant any lowering of guard by the armed forces which alone are trained and equipped to fight the Talibanized insurgents. However, Rashtriya Rifles, which has borne the brunt of militant attacks and in turn broken the backbone of the insurgency in J&K, does act hand in hand with the state police and the paramilitary forces. In any case, it is the local police and the paramilitary forces which maintain security in Srinagar and its outskirts. The Army, to all intents and purposes, has since been ordered to the barracks. But any inference that the situation is fast returning to normal and warrants the revocation of the AFSPA would indeed be a retrograde step fraught with dire consequences.

The grand old American democracy has introduced a plethora of all-encompassing legislation, including the Homeland Security Act and US Patriot Act, which permit the DNA profiling of people suspected of terrorist activity against the US or its interests and subjects abroad. That’s what nations are legitimately supposed to do to protect their territorial integrity and national sovereignty aimed at securing the life, liberty, business and property of its citizens and allies.

Kashmir, I admit, is my fixation, for I am a victim of its two-decade-long dalliance with death and destruction. The latest spark adding insult to injury is the reported acceptance by the Union home minister, P Chidambaram, of a proposal from the J&K state leadership seeking the suspension or revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA). However, even talk of its revocation could spell doom for the return of normalcy to the violence-ridden valley. Pakistan’s ruinous internecine battle within may have its ramifications across the LoC, not by chance but by design.

It was Chidambaram’s first visit to the valley after he became home minister. Let him lead by example. If he looks soft by the exterior, let it not be mistaken as a sign of weakness. Flexing the iron hand in the velvet glove, I believe, is the need of the hour. If financial wizardry is his forte, strategic planning ought to be his bible in his new role. It is far too pre-mature at this stage to even think of putting on hold the AFSPA let alone its revocation. In any case, the unified Command – which comprises the Army brass, the governor, the chief minister and the Cabinet Committee on Security – has to deliberate the issue before a decision in this regard is made.

Legend has it that Kashmir is the land of Kashyap rishi (seer), the eponymous saint who lent the ‘va
hr’ (bowl-shaped) valley its name and identity, exterminated the ‘asuras’ (demons) who would devour the God-fearing aborigines. Mark, the first syllable is common to both – Kash-yap and Kash-mir. Born and brought up in the paradise-turned- cauldron, like tens of thousands of other Kashmiri Hindus – to be precise Kashmiri Pandits – I have been driven out of my motherland for no fault of mine by none other than the jihadis, brainwashed at a tender age by the scourge-on-earth – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s supra-constitutiona l ‘international- sabotage institution’.

Americans have realised it post 9/11 – much, much after we Indians fell victim to Pakistan’s machinations and the gory violence it unleashed in a bid to wrest control of the land which never was theirs. For 20 years we suffered at their hands in Punjab, and for the last two decades in Jammu & Kashmir in what is euphemistically termed a low-intensity conflict (LIC). What they failed to attain by outright aggression in 1947, ’65 and ’71, has been attempted by sowing the seeds of internal strife and secession.

Only the Cowboy has gone the whole hog after them as he has the wherewithal and the will to exterminate the scourge.

Alas, the weak-kneed Indian government has, unlike Americans, failed to stem the tide of home-grown militancy and Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in the state. India, under whichever political dispensation at the Centre, has abysmally failed to turn the adversity into opportunity on many an occasion. The high point being Pakistan’s Kargil misadventure, although a godsend for us, we missed the bus again for we failed the nation by not declaring a full-fledged war on all fronts, including the western front and the Karachi harbour. What do we maintain for the Naval behemoth in the Arabian sea? Are we content in letting it be an augmentation of the Coast Guard? There we failed, too, in the wake of the enemy’s cloak-and-dagger operation when so-called non-state actors surreptitiously sailed across the high seas to carry out the 26/11 terrorist mission in Mumbai under explicit directions and logistic support by their agent-provocateur across the Radcliffe Line.

On November 27, 1997, then Chief Justice of India J S Verma and four other judges of the Supreme Court on a review petition of the AFSPA (in the context of the north-east) observed, “The power to make a law providing for deployment of the armed forces of the Union in aid of the civil power of a State does not include within its ambit the power to enact a law which would enable the armed forces of the Union to supplant or act as a substitute for the civil power in the State. The armed forces of the Union would operate in the State concerned in cooperation with the civil administration so that the situation which has necessitated the deployment of armed forces is effectively dealt with and normalcy is restored.”

It is explicit in the judgment that the Army will act “in aid of the civil administration of the state”… until “normalcy is restored.” Keeping in view the recent successful bids by the battle-hardened militants to infiltrate into the valley under heavy arms fire-cover provided by the Pakistan army coupled with the melting snow at the high mountain passes, the situation does not warrant any lowering of guard by the armed forces which alone are trained and equipped to fight the Talibanized insurgents. However, Rashtriya Rifles, which has borne the brunt of militant attacks and in turn broken the backbone of the insurgency in J&K, does act hand in hand with the state police and the paramilitary forces. In any case, it is the local police and the paramilitary forces which maintain security in Srinagar and its outskirts. The Army, to all intents and purposes, has since been ordered to the barracks. But any inference that the situation is fast returning to normal and warrants the revocation of the AFSPA would indeed be a retrograde step fraught with dire consequences.

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