Making conflict permanent!
Amending Criminal Procedure Code to incorporate some clauses of AFSPA would amount to making the internal conflict situation a permanent feature in Kashmir!
There has been a sharp reaction to Chief Minister’s recent missive regarding incorporating some clauses of AFSPA giving immunity to the members of the Armed Forces and Central Services for their actions in tackling law and order situation. The role of the Army is well defined. It is to protect and safeguard the sovereignty of the country against external aggression. They are posted on the borders and in cantonments wherefrom they can be quickly mobilized in times of need. Their civilian role is limited to aid to civil authorities in times of natural calamities, disasters, and in rare cases to control law and order when the local civilian authorities fail to do so.
Normally, it is not in the interests of the Army to have a continuous or a permanent role in the civilian governance of the society. This is bound to diminish its capability to deal with the real situation of conflict at the borders. They always undertake exercises to remain battle worthy when such a need arises. There are no two opinions that for last couple of decades the Army has faced a situation of conflict internally which had been supported by external forces. According to their own estimates the number of violent insurgents has been reduced to just a few hundred throughout the state. At one time the number was in thousands and the Army was conducting day and night operations in border areas as well as inside civilian populated centres. They had been fighting what they called a “proxy war”. Supposedly, a guerrilla war unleashed by a neighbouring country.
However, no guerrilla war can succeed or be sustained unless the local people support it. As Mao said, “Guerrilla is a fish which moves in water!” If the water which constitutes the local people is removed, the Guerrilla cannot survive. However, people cannot be won over by the Army by presenting a soft face through so called Sadbhavana programmes but by letting people live and govern their own lives as they deem fit. Continuous presence of Army with draconian powers is like the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. People can feel free only when they are able to return to the peaceful ways of life as they were used to lead before the start of the conflict.
One fails to understand why the Army is keen to continue as part of the civilian administration in spite of the normalcy supposed to have returned to Kashmir? They should have been glad to get rid of facing and alienating the civilian population in situations which could be easily handled by the civilian law and order machinery. If they are able to successfully seal the borders and prevent infiltration, the local authorities can tackle any untoward situation which may arise from the unarmed civilian disturbances. Moreover, if it goes beyond their control, the Army can be called in anytime under the existing laws without any amendments as has happened in the past.
The latest feeler of the Chief Minister amounts to putting the people from the frying pan into the fire! Unfortunately the AFSPA debate has put the real issue on the back burner. The main problem in Kashmir is the basic political issue which has got entangled in the Indo-Pak mistrust. Kashmiris have become virtual guinea pigs for testing the two conflicting ideologies. There is much talk on both sides about reducing the trust deficit. Trade is being given the top priority as it is felt that improvement in economic and commercial relations can open up channels for settling the long standing political issues. That being the case, then the first priority on both sides in regard to Kashmir should have been easing the day to day life of the Kashmiris on both sides of the LOC. The so called confidence building measures need to be implemented in earnest by allowing free movement of people from both the sides. The tense and oppressive situation of conflict due to omnipresence of security forces needs to be changed. At least all the civilian areas have to be free of bunkers and paramilitary or security forces. These troops can go back to barracks or to the borders as per requirement. In contrast to this devising new and round about ways of ensuring a permanent Army presence in civilian governance amounts to continuing a situation of conflict for ever! Only the beneficiaries of conflict would have a vested interest to do so. People of Kashmir are yearning for peace. They need a breather. This cannot be given by partly removing AFSPA but by totally removing the massive security presence from the civilian areas and allowing them not only to move freely everywhere but also by allowing them to freely express their views. Free expression of one’s ideas is the first step to begin any dialogue which ultimately is the only sensible solution to any conflict in the world! (Comments at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Nov 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 27 Nov 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Nov 2011 00:00:00 IST
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