Dangerous portents

The Pakistanis, backed by their supporters in Kashmir, are escalating their mischief in their systematic design to alienate and drive a deeper wedge between the Kashmiris and the Central and State establishments in India. The situation in the valley is a manifestation of the damage that propaganda can do to the position and morale of the Indian Army.

The virtual reprimand handed out by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to the Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, when he called on her on Saturday in New Delhi, telling him that ‘such conduct of the troops is washing away all the progress that the Army has achieved in the Valley over the years’ is a typical case of passing the buck for maladministration in the face of the Pakistan culpability for the chaos that is being fuelled.

The tragedy is that while Islamabad is working to a plan in subversion, the Narendra Modi and Mehbooba Mufti governments are clueless about how to bring back peace in Jammu and Kashmir. Stone-pelting on security forces by youth infiltrated by sinister elements has touched endemic proportions but all that Mehbooba has gone public with is a ‘hands-off’ message to the Army chief which is appallingly one-sided.

That the video showing a youth tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep in Budgam district had another side to it — that the armymen would have been lynched by the mob had they not resorted to this ‘human shield’ way to save themselves, is lost on even the State’s Chief Minister who should have known better. The Army has been functioning under very difficult conditions but all that it gets are brickbats.

The Mehbooba Mufti government sees only Army excesses and not the secessionist activities that the youth are indulging in under instigation and misguidance.

Enough is enough. The State has waited too long for conditions to return to normalcy while terror perpetrators and separatists are running riot. Even one-time moderate elements like Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar are now emboldened to oppose the Indian State. Farooq, who had the reputation of a playboy when he was chief minister, is today singing an anti-India line and has not a word to say against either the Pakistani mischief-mongers or the terror perpetrators.

Separatist leaders, especially Hurriyat leaders who have been eating out of the palms of the governments, have been flexing their muscles. The Army is doing a thankless job. India has to be saved in Kashmir. Only a well-thought-out strategy can counter the perfidious designs of the elements working against India.


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