Keep calm

Keep calm

Let Uri- Muzaffarabad road spirit prevail

September 18, 2018  will mark the second anniversary of Uri  attack, one of the deadliest assault on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir. The death toll had risen to 21 soldiers dead and several others wounded. It had caused a nationwide outrage that  made the Government to order  what it called  surgical strikes across the Line of Control to avenge the killing of  soldiers in the attack.

The  Uri attack and its aftermath  needs to be looked at afresh. The study should  focus on the issues far beyond the clichés of lessons learnt or unlearnt. There are many questions that continue  to  hit the mind, whether it is possible to stop  all these “fidayeen” attacks altogether or there is no armour against such horrific  assaults  that shake the confidence of the nation  in its own capability. These questions persist because it was neither the first nor the last time when the militants could penetrate the security grid and  do  what they wanted to do.

It would be important to  recall the circumstances in which this attack took place two years ago. Kashmir was in flames. Streets had erupted. The recurrent clashes between   stone throwing youth  and the pellet firing forces had changed the scenario of Kashmir once and for all. A rare combination of the armed militancy and  street protests marked the beginning of a new phase of the troubles in Kashmir. The nursery rhymes were replaced  with the  likes of “ hum kaya chahte, azadi”. This type of home schooling  and the street protests had thrown off ground the formal education. An aggressive mood swept the Valley.

The attack made it to the headlines of newspapers and the Indian TV anchors were calling for  an action  against the enemy. The nationalist blood was  on boil. It would not subside unless there was some action, and the definition of action  meant  strike in Pakistan or Pakistan Administered Kashmir.  This idea was  reinforced by  the then Director General of Military Operations (currently Northern Command chief)  Lt. Gen  Ranbir Singh  in the words, “we have the desired capability to respond  to such  blatant  acts of aggression and violence in the adversary in the manner  as deemed appropriate by us. We reserve the right to  respond to these acts of adversary at the time and place of our choosing.”

Such a response  televised to the nation by all channels was  deemed  as a necessity  in 2016. The  NDA government did not  want to be seen in the same ugly spotlight  as its predecessor  UPA  government in 2008. The UPA government had flinched under the international pressure and did not act against the militants or the masterminds who plotted  the 26/11 atrocity. The NDA government claimed that it had conducted the surgical strikes across the LoC  on the night of September 28 and 29, an act that the Government  claimed was unprecedented.  Delhi believed that  it had delivered a necessary and striking lesson to  Pakistan and  the state or non-state actors on its soil or those working at  its behest would  not attempt a repeat of the Uri type attack. Pakistan, as expected, had rejected the  Indian claim. It had taken the foreign media to the  selected places along the Line of Control and shown that how the things were calm there, and no one had disturbed that calm.