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Indian Army must not be politicised and demoralised
Recently the Indian Army chief, General Dilbag Singh Suhag has issued a letter in public domain which is almost apologetic of Army being made to use force to curb current violence by stone-pelters is Kashmir Valley.

The Indian Army is a highly trained and professional organisation. It has its laid down SOPs and it works under them. It does not have to be apologetic to anybody in dealing with the people who are hell bent to create problems in the valley after being instigated by the separatists and are the paid stooges of Pakistan.

If anybody within the Army crosses the line, the Army has its own checks and balances within to deal with the culprit and Army chief knows it. So still if he is apologetic, it simply means that political pressure is being applied on him. This definitely will have a demoralising effect on the troops on the ground. Indian political leaders and Babus (bureaucrats) must refrain from interfering in functioning of the Army because if it gets demoralised then they should forget about Kashmir. This is exactly what Pakistan wants.

During the recent visit of Union Home Minster, Shri Rajnath Singh to the valley, he in his press conference has stated that 2000 J&K police persons and 1100 CRPF persons got injured, some very seriously in the current unrest caused in the valley by the stone-pelters. He also stated that 2300 civilians have also been injured and 51 people including some police personnel killed. What he has not clarified is that out of these 2300 persons injured most of them are stone-pelters.

If somebody comes out on street and throws stones at the security forces who are doing their legitimate duty, then they will get injured, so what is the big deal? Why so many police and CRPF people got injured? They are the police bosses and political leaders should analyse, however, the Army must not take orders from civilians as to how to control the situation.

Indian Constitution is very clear on this issue. Civilians do not give orders to Army how to deal with a situation which has gone out of hand. The Army is trained for it and civilians are not. In any case internal security is not the responsibility of the Army. However, if our political bosses still want to use the Army then all that they should do is to let it work as per the laid down procedures outlined in the Constitution of India.

In 1950, during Naga insurgency days orders issued to the Army were that no Naga will be allowed to put on Khaki Uniform and carry weapons. One of the Army patrols found a Naga putting on Khaki uniform and was carrying what looked like a weapon. When Army patrol challenged him he started running as a result he was shot. It so happened that his daughter was working with the PMO. So Nehru wanted to decommission this battalion. 

However, Gen Thimayya, then Army chief stood like a rock for the said battalion and told Nehru that this mistake happened unknowingly and the battalion was just following orders. Nehru was convinced and the said battalion won lot of laurels later.

Compare this with November 2014 incident in which one Maruti car in Badgaon in Kashmir Valley broke the Army barrier despite being warned and tried to speed away. So the troops deployed on the spot opened fire in which a few occupants got killed. Lo and behold one officer and eight soldiers were court-martialed to please local public opinion makers and sent to jail. They were punished for doing their legitimate duty. 

Needless to say the Northern Army Commander and other commanders down the line should have stood for the right of their soldiers but they took the line of no resistance to save their skin apparently under political pressure.

If this is leadership then next time who will bother to take any initiative in the Army? In another recent incident in Kajigund area of the Kashmir Valley an Army patrol party was attacked from inside the crowd gathered there to snatch their weapons. The Army patrol had no option but to open fire in which three people died.

Lo and behold the Army after expressing regret for the incident has ordered a court of inquiry. This is really funny. Suppose, like police who have lost 70 automatic weapons in this recent Kashmir Valley unrest, if Army also had not opened fire and allowed the weapons to be looted then what prestige and fear of the Army would have been left in miscreants.

Needless to say these incidents of Senior Army Commanders playing to gallery apart from demoralising the Army are giving motivation to local miscreants and Pakistan paid jihadis to create more such problems. It is time for all the Army Commanders and the Army chief to take a stock of the situation. They must stand for the right of the troops under their command with proper checks and balances as laid down in the Defence Service Rules.

Yes, if somebody exceeds the limits then he must be punished but after thorough investigations. Let politicians and bureaucrats and police force under their command win hearts and minds of people in the valley, which they have been trying for last 68 years and failed. If our political masters want to use the Army then it must be used without fetters or else let police and paramilitary forces do it and the Army removed.

Now the new CM of J&K Ms Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed wants to remove AFSPA from certain areas. Surely one cannot have the Army operating without AFSPA. Let paramilitary forces and local police take on the responsibility of internal security in J&K State with the Army only guarding the borders.

The Army must not agree to this concept of AFSPA applicable in some districts of the Valley and not in other districts. As already demonstrated by these trouble makers in the recent valley agitation, trouble started in those regions where it was least expected. In this case Army will be forced to operate in compartments while the trouble makers will have no restrictions. They will use those places where AFSPA is not applicable as rest and relief camps.

The point that will need consideration is that the supply convoys of the Army deployed on border with Pakistan will have to pass through these areas where the new CM wants to remove AFSPA. So, the Army must have special permission to open fire in self defence if these convoys get attacked.

All in all, time has come for the Army chief and the Army commanders to discuss the whole issue with the political bosses threadbare and convince them that in case of the Army soft and populist measures will not do. The Army is the last option in internal security duties and should only be employed sparingly. But if the Army is deployed then one cannot prevent harsh measures.

Our politicians must understand that every soldier from the first day of his training is taught 'Ek Goli Ek Dushman'. This mindset should never be tinkered with if we want to win wars. However, proper procedures as evolved over hundreds of years of glorious history of the Army and as laid down in the Constitution must be followed. No acceptance of short cuts please. We must not forget that a demoralised and politicised Army is end of the nation.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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