Army can’t be sitting ducks for militants
In the present scenario, an unilateral ceasefire with terrorists is not only a completely unworkable idea but also a politically ill-timed proposition. Actually, one of the participants floated this idea at the recently-held all-party meet where I was also present. In response to this, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said an all-party delegation would soon visit New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this. There could, however, be no consensus on these two propositions as the representatives of the Congress and the National Conference said they would have to first talk to their respective leaderships without whose consent they could not endorse any idea. Therefore, as such no decisions were taken.
We say, and categorically so, that if the militants stop their violent activities or carry out attacks at Army camps, it will anyway result in a ceasefire. The BJP stated this at the all-party meet as well. The second thing that we made known to all at the meet — and one in which we strongly believe in — is that the government’s move to give amnesty to about 9,000 first-time stone-pelters has been a failure. The government withdrew cases against them and released them in the hope that they will stop these activities but many of them continue to pelt stones at the security forces.
We want the government to take strong action against all these stone-pelters. Those involved in organising such activities must be dealt with firmly. As far as declaring a truce during the month of Ramzan and the annual Amarnath Yatra is concerned, it can’t work because it will be a unilateral move. Militants would continue to carry out their violent activities. If they attack an Army patrol party or a camp, do you think the soldiers should sit idle and do nothing to defend themselves? Also, the unilateral ceasefire will not only encourage militants but also provide them an opportunity to regroup and reorganise themselves. These stone-pelters don’t believe in seeking a resolution of issues through peaceful means, and you should not expect them to do any good for insaniyat (humanity). We need to be as tough against them as possible. The Army should be allowed to carry out counter-insurgency operations as per its own assessment. Those who have embraced the gun are enemies of humanity and must be dealt with accordingly. You can’t hold talks with militants and terrorists.
I feel the Kashmiri society as also the parents of these “misguided” youth should come forward and lend their support to the efforts aimed at purging this menace. The political parties too have to work towards restoration of peace and normalcy in the Valley. Dealing with militants and terrorists should be the prerogative of the Army and other security forces. They know their job and should be given a free hand to do it. The sooner the terrorists are eliminated, the better it would be for our country.
Narinder Raina is general secretary of BJP’s J&K unit
Violence cannot usher in peace
There is turbulence and unease in the minds of youngsters in Kashmir. The government may call them by any name — terrorists, extremists, miscreants or misguided. But many of them have genuine aspirations. There have been killings from both sides, which need to be stopped at all costs. One can move forward only through discussion and dialogue, not by violent means.
Army officers, both serving and retired, say privately and confidentially that the government must put an end to violence and resort to a peaceful dialogue and discussion. The paramilitary forces also want a discussion. Many of them have openly said that they have done enough. There is a limit to killings. They can’t go on killing people. It has the spark of a revolution, a revolt on ground. This is how a “people’s movement” starts.
The violence has to stop. Peace must be brought in through purposeful dialogue with the Kashmiri people, preferably with those who are angry at the Central government.
If the government goes in for truce unilaterally it will earn goodwill in the minds of the people of the state and international public opinion will also be on its side.
The Army and the political class of the country, including the government at the Centre, must understand that declaring unilateral ceasefire is not a sign of weakness, but that of strength. The government has enough military presence in Kashmir and there are other security forces too. They may suppress the “people’s movement” at this time but it will crop up again. So the better course is to declare a ceasefire and pave the way for a decisive dialogue on Kashmir. I think that’s the only way out. If Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat thinks he can restore peace by resorting to force, he is wrong.
If the government announces a ceasefire and also implements it on the ground, militants will also know that it is high time to reciprocate. The best course of action, acknowledged all over the world, is dialogue and discussion. The people of Kashmir want a dialogue. If the government doesn’t recognise the efficacy of dialogue, everyone will lose. No political dispute in the world has ever been resolved through the use of force.
The people of Kashmir are angry at New Delhi. This anger is represented by the joint command comprising three key leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. The declaration of ceasefire will create an atmosphere that is congenial for initiating talks.
How long will you go on killing people? It has international implications for the country. The UN has Kashmir on its agenda, which can be seen by the recent statement of the UN Secretary-General on Kashmir. If the government thinks that the rest of the world doesn’t know what’s happening in Kashmir, it is grossly mistaken.
Prof. Saifuddin Soz is a former Union minister and senior Congress leader