The Gool shock

 The firing on unarmed civilians in Dharam, Gool area of Ramban district on Thursday, resulting in killing of at least four people and injuries to other 42, is highly condemnable. Our thoughts must go to those killed and injured in the incident and their families. This latest carnage is yet another grim reminder of the perils of the almost unbridled powers armed forces enjoy to open fire without accountability in the state. This incident also highlights the extent of interference of armed forces in civilian life, especially in remote and secluded places like Gool. Instances like these underline the extent to which armed forces often breach their brief and override civilian government systems in engaging sensitive civilian issues. Although the government has ordered a magisterial inquiry, people generally view such inquiries with deep scepticism for their inability to fix responsibilities and bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice. If at all the personnel of Border Security Force (BSF) had any issues with the religious prayers of the community in the Dharam village, they ought to have contacted civilian administration to address the issue, if at all it warranted some attention. The beating up of the religious preacher, the reported act of sacrilege and the subsequent protests by the local people are said to have triggered the face-off between the civilians and the armed forces personnel. The subsequent firing on the civilians reflects the collective failure of the armed forces and the civilian administration officialdom in the area in engaging the local people’s concerns and trying to de-escalate the crisis. Contrary to de-escalation, certain officials of the civilian administration are said to have escalated the tension by an approach which has been viewed as partisan and insensitive by the local population. By no stretch of imagination do such face-offs provide any justification to armed forces to use fire arms on unarmed civilians supposedly meant for counter insurgency operations. Incidents like these leave their deep political impact. They serve to further erode the people’s trust in democratic and peaceful means of political resolution. Carnages like these also raise the fundamental question: whether laws of impunity to armed forces like AFSPA are really needed in matters of civilian interest. Constant delay in addressing this question only contributes to political complexities of this state, rather than helping in conflict and political resolution.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 19 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 20 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST

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