‘Rude acts of mere instinct’
Srinagar: Civil liberties and democratic rights organizations (CRDO), a group of Indian civil liberties organisations, on Monday stated that Indian army’s “rude acts of mere instincts” amply demonstrated that the army “is desperately desirous of playing the role army plays in Pakistan”.
The group was reacting to Indian Army Chief, Gen Bipin Rawat’s claim that the Indian Army was fighting a “proxy war” in Kashmir and that rules of engagement in a dirty war are “played in a dirty way”. CDRO said that the statements reflected “slopism at best or a subterfuge to pass off the blame for Kashmir insurgency on to Pakistan”.
CDRO, in a statement issued in Delhi, reminded the public that Indian constitution “nowhere, even in its list of duties, demands of the citizens to fear and obey the army” and such “outrageous interpolations” served as a reminder that the “even the most disciplined army can get hollowed out by a long drawn out engagement in wars against our own people”.
“An army, which gives into what Carl von Clausewitz described as ‘rude acts of mere instincts’, and believes that people must fear their army, is desperately desirous of playing the role army plays in Pakistan, the very country General Bipin Rawat blames for the imaginary ‘proxy war’ today in Kashmir,” the statement said. “Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations, therefore, considers General Bipin Rawats’s remarks as mocking the ‘Democratic process’, which the Indian army, and as its chief, he is expected to defend and uphold”.
The statement said that Jammu and Kashmir has been a “disturbed area” for 27 years where army and the paramilitary forces enjoy legal immunity under Armed Forces Special Powers Act and provisions of Indian Army Act 1950 for any offence committed by them in such wars.
“In course of 27 years, Kashmir went through a variety of developments, moving from militancy to mass agitation and now again a revived militancy. Difference is not the spread of armed militancy but its fewer numbers are publicly backed by masses of people gathering at encounter sites”.
CDRO said that people’s resistance in Kashmir had transformed in the course of these 27 years, where the nature of defiance expresses itself in the contemporary culture of protest and very measured statements from all sections of Kashmiri society, deflecting provocations and insinuations, to insist on movement’s indigenous political character and causation.
The civil liberties group, quoting from a Supreme Court interim judgement order on the matter of fake encounters in Manipur 1990-2012, said that the bench had asked about the consequences of Army’s war if “normalcy is not restored for a prolonged or indeterminate period?”
“In our opinion it would be indicative of the failure of civil administration to take effective aid of the armed forces in restoring normalcy or would be indicative of the failure of the armed forces in effectively aiding the civil administration in restoring normalcy, or both,” the statement quoted from the judgement.
CDRO said that General Rawat, in his interview on 15th February where he likened stone pelters to “anti-nationals” and threatened to “go after them” had rejected this constitutional view. “General Bipin Rawat went ahead to justify the criminal act of using civilians as “human shield”, dismissed the likelihood of a political solution in Kashmir by projecting it as a “proxy war”, advocated military solution in Kashmir, made the astounding claim that not just India’s enemies but Indian people should “fear” the Indian army, and expressed his ardent wish that the protestors “instead of throwing stones at us were firing weapons at us”,” the statement said, adding that the “shameless call” by Indian army chief. “His remarks show singular disregard for Rules of War as well as utter contempt for the Rule of Law, authorizes violation of Article 21 of the Constitution, and amounts to normalising lawless war which is already unleashed by army on the people”.
“The sum total of what he said shows that the Army which had come to acquire a veto power over repeal of AFSPA under the UPA Government now is being allowed to pursue its own course of war in Kashmir, because BJP prefers soldiers to resolve problems, it does not have the political stomach to resolve,” said the statement.