Kashmir, the Indian Army and the opinion of a Kashmiri

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Kashmir

The land of Sufis, Kashmir has turned into a battleground after the killing of Burhan Wani in Anantnag area of south Kashmir last year. As a result, 75 people have lost their lives in clashes with the police and the paramilitary forces.

As the situation in Kashmir started to normalize, the Election Commission of India announced poll dates for the two parliamentary seats. These were Srinagar and Anantnag. The elections were planned to be held on 9th and 12th April in Srinagar and Anantnag respectively. Hoping to encash this opportunity to escalate tensions in the Valley, various separatist groups called for hartaals. They urged people to boycott the forthcoming assembly by-election.

On April 9th, the day of by-election, Srinagar witnessed groundbreaking violence which left eight civilians dead and many more injured. People came out in large volumes and started protesting and pelting stones on the security forces. In certain areas, they even tried to snatch away EVMs from the polling stations.

Kashmir

On the other hand, a few videos showcasing CRPF jawans being heckled, kicked, punched and even slapped in the head went viral on various social networking sites. I appreciate the fact that despite carrying weapons, our jawans showed maximum restrain and didn’t react to the crowd. Later on, the jawans told their seniors that their primary objective was the safety of the EVM machines. They were carrying these along with themselves. The Indian government has strongly condemned this act of brutality against our security forces. CRPF DIG Sanjay Kumar now plans to identify the Jawans and “recommend them for an award for showing restraint”.

Although the CRPF has lodged a complaint against the miscreants, there is widespread anger in the heart of every Indian. After this incident, a few more videos have started to come out in the social media. One such video showcased an alleged stone pelter tied in front of an Army jeep being used as a human shield. This incident came to light after ex-CM Omar Abdullah tweeted about it. He uploaded a video showing Farooq Ahmad Dar tied in front of an Army jeep on the polling day.

Kashmir

The government has decided to stand by the Army officer who took the decision to use an alleged stone pelter as a human shield to sheer his unit and other J&K officials on election duty to safety.

His treatment was “unlawful and unacceptable” human rights group Amnesty International said in a statement. The J&K police has already registered a case against the army unit involved in this act for human rights violation. After this event took place, violence has increased in various parts of the Valley. People are coming out on the streets to protest against this incident.

The job of the security forces is to maintain law and order, not to take it in their own hands. I completely understand that everything is not okay in Kashmir. The security forces need to take strong measures to maintain law and order. But we should not forget the fact that thousands of civilians have lost their lives at the hands of the security forces in the last few years. There is a need to give proper crowd control training and non-lethal weapons to the security forces so that no more civilian lives are lost in the coming future.

-Sharanpal Singh

Edited by Mrinaal Datt

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