Srinagar: Prakash Karat, former CPI(M) general secretary, courted controversy when he said that Army Chief Bipin Rawat was “reflecting the views of the Narendra Modi government” when it came to dealing with the Kashmir issue. He added that both sides — the people of Kashmir as well as the Indian Army — would “suffer irreparable damage due to the government’s blind adherence to the use of coercive force against the civilian population.”
In an editorial in CPM’s mouthpiece ‘People’s Democracy’, Karat — who is also the editor of the newspaper — wrote: “Unfortunately, the army chief is reflecting the views of the Modi government which seeks to suppress the people of Kashmir… through the sole reliance on use of force. Not only will the people of Kashmir but the army itself will suffer irreparable damage due to the government’s blind adherence to the use of coercive force against the civilian population.”
Karat, in his editorial, also criticised Rawat for supporting Major Leetul Gogoi, who tied a Kashmiri civilian to an army jeep to prevent locals from pelting stones at soldiers. The CPI(M) leader said that the army chief had let down the “high professional standards of the army” by backing Gogoi.
Rawat had defended the ‘human shield’ incident that took place in Srinagar during the bypolls saying the Indian troops need innovative ways to fight the “dirty war” going on in the Kashmir Valley. He said he cannot ask his men to “just wait and die” if locals pelt them with stones.