New Delhi, Apr. 29 (ANI): There is a tacit albeit distinct pattern in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir, a method to the madness, which can be discerned only through deep analysis and research.
The Army Chief, General V K Singh, on assuming his appointment stated that he was not in favour of revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) since this would adversely impact conduct of operations in the state.
As if on cue, the unfortunate death of two civilians during counter terrorist operations elicited visits to their bereaved families by some political leaders, ostensibly to express sorrow and solidarity, but in actuality to demand the revocation of the AFSPA.
The first incident was the unfortunate death of Habibullah Khan at Kupwara during conduct of counter infiltration operations in the Rainwari forests. The cause of death could not be ascertained even as the possibility of the individual having been used as a human shield by fleeing terrorists was not ruled out.
People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti visited the bereaved family at Devar in Lolab, expressed solidarity, demanded a probe, demanded compensation and finally made a fiery pitch for revocation of the AFSPA and withdrawal of the Army from the state.
The second incident was the death of Ghulam Muhammad Kalas near Kellar. The individual along with an accomplice walked into an ambush laid by the Army on specific information regarding presence of terrorists in the area. The time being pre-dawn, a civilian was not expected to be outside his house and troops opened fire due to mistaken identity.
The Superintendent of Police did give a hint that the deceased and his accomplice could have been involved in smuggling of timber which could be the reason for their being out of their houses at that early hour and also for the fact that they were unaware of the Army ambush.
The first to visit the family of the deceased was the chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yaseen Malik, the condolences over, he used the platform to voice his protest against the AFSPA. Then came Mehbooba Mufti who also brushed through the condolence formalities and proceeded to instigate the gathered crowd to campaign against the AFSPA.
There is nothing wrong in visiting families of victims of terrorism, apart from expressing sorrow there is every reason to compensate these families and look after them, but to use the occasion for political mileage is quite unfortunate.
This apart, the selective condolence of victims of terrorism based on political expediency is even more inappropriate.
On April 21, unidentified terrorists mercilessly gunned down a police constable, Bashir Ahmed Sheikh, of Gardh Daman, Marwah at Nawapachi. He had been recently regularised after serving as Special Police Officer for several years and was known to be most active in counter terrorist operations.
Surprisingly, none of the aforementioned leaders considered it necessary to visit his bereaved family and express solidarity with them for having sacrificed a son to rid the region of the menace of terrorism.
If you ask the parents of Bashir Ahmed they will say that AFSPA should not only stay but also be strengthened so that terrorism can be eradicated once and for all. It is pitiable to note that the suffering of the people is being exploited on the mantle of political opportunism.
The existing security scenario in the State presents a strong case for proactive action to quell undeterred terrorist atrocity. Over 40 innocent civilians have been killed in terrorist initiated violence from 2009 to date, the youngest being a three year old child and the oldest a sixty year old.
The police have registered at least six cases of marriages and rape at gunpoint by terrorists during the last year. Fresh inputs indicate that terrorists have now started targeting children, the sick and the infirm. Recently an IED was discovered by the Indian Army in the compound of the Government High School, Shangus, Anantnag, adjoining the Government Hospital. Quite obviously, their aim of the terrorists was to emulate their brethren in Pakistan and perpetrate the kind of jihad that they are carrying out in their own country against their own people.
Why do we not question such blatant human rights violations? Why are there no bandhs being called and speeches made to exhort security forces exhorted to do everything in their power to break the back of these mercenary murderers? Why are the security forces not given the assurance of complete cooperation in achievement of this objective? Why are people not out on the streets with stones in their hands to protest against violation of their rights by foreigners? How many groups have taken up cudgels to get justice for women exploited by terrorists?
The terrorists are merrily continuing with their pernicious agenda of pillage, rape and murder but not one leader of a particular hue has ever come out openly against this gross barbarism. Holding on to a particular political ideology is the right of every democratic Indian citizen, but basic civilisational norm should be kept above politics.
There are media reports that the Jammu and Kashmir Government is planning to conduct a survey of militancy-affected people to ascertain the exact number of widows and orphans in the State.
It would be in order to extend the terms of reference of the survey to also ascertain the complete human and infrastructural loss that terrorism has afflicted on the State through rampant murder, grenade and IED attacks, abductions etc. By Jaibans Singh (ANI)