Rights for Terrorists Only?
When I opened a newspaper recently, I saw the picture of a security personnel lying on the ground and half-a-dozen young hooligans beating him with sticks in Srinagar. Nobody was trying to stop such elements from desisting from thrashing the helpless policeman.
I was reminded of my tenure as Inspector General of Police in Srinagar during the worst period of 1988 when terrorist elements had kidnapped the daughter of the then Union Home Minister. The government in a gesture of abject surrender released the Pakistan-trained terrorists to secure her release.
Miserable repeated capitulation in the name of appeasement and so-called peace negotiations has emboldened terrorists, masquerading as separatists, and led to a skewed polity where there is nothing more left to yield.
The Central government has been hoping against hope and common sense that yield, yield and yield will lead to some positive results. Look at the sample of pacification, where even the parents of killed terrorists in open encounters are given a grant of Rs 10 lakh as a kind of rehabilitation money. More is being done for terrorists from the Kashmir Valley than for 3 lakh Hindus and Sikhs who were forced to leave as a part of well-thought-out ethnic cleansing.
A situation has been reached where any use of force in self-defence by the security forces is not only frowned at, but openly criticised by the State government that Central forces have gone out of control. The hot bed of terrorism are certain areas where even if a terrorist is killed, their supporters rise up in retaliation.
Every Citizen of India has a right to private defence, to defend himself or his body, except it appears the security forces!
Whether it is the media or the government, they find the security forces as villains of the piece who are responsible for all ills in Jammu and Kashmir. It is the publicity to terrorists which encourages them to make anti-India statements, with which they can get away. Margret Thatcher, the iron lady of the UK, once had rightly said that the publicity is the oxygen of terrorism. It is the publicity which gives terrorists a larger-than-life image.
The result of all this is reflected in the form of political parties vying with each other to outdo in supporting them. It is very true that the first, second and third priority of all politicians is to win, win and win, whatever be the means, and garner the support of even the devil.
The common citizen, who wants to lead a peaceful life, is unnecessarily dragged into the vicious circle of love and hate relationships. He cannot defy terrorists, as even the local government is playing double in appeasing them. So he feels that it is no use looking up to the government for protection, as its own leaders are living under the shadow of guns.
Nowhere in the world terrorism has been smashed with sweet talks and by dismal surrender. No security force has any grudge against any Kashmiri. They are following the orders of the government of the day.
If you throw stones, or attack security forces, you must expect retaliation with double the might. Terrorist leaders, whom some call separatists, have been given government security, which is the worst form of submission. Any excuse is good enough for terrorists to kick up a shindy, like giving place for temporary structures to the Hindu pilgrims going to the Amarnath shrine or the visit of the Prime Minister to the valley or killing of terrorists and intruders by security forces.
The worst sufferer in this matter is the ordinary Kashmiri, as nobody would like to invest in any place where bandhs and riots take place at the drop of a hat. Tourists also think twice before visiting any such place. It suits the terrorists to keep Kashmir in a disturbed state, as otherwise full-time pro-Pakistani politicians would lose their importance.
The way small-time politicians are going about, is wrecking the economy of the State. No amount of financial assistance is going to improve the situation. Despite the Prime Minister’s repeated visits and peace talks offers to sort out the problem, if any, there have been no takers of it.
The terrorists have got away with the genocide of Hindus and Sikhs from the Muslim-majority valley, with the Government of India being a mute spectator. If anybody from Kashmir is not happy to be in India, including the terrorists hiding as separatists and communalists, it is time for them to quietly migrate to Pakistan or any other country in the world.
It is for the Government of India to accept the reality. In the name of democracy, such elements should not be allowed to get away with murder. Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power, which in the present case does not appear to have been exercised.
(The writer was Director, CBI) (ADNI)