Pakistan's border brutalities, radicalisation of Kashmir warrant stern, swift measures

Col. (Retired) Anil Bhat | Updated: May 18, 2017 22:55 IST

New Delhi [India], May 18 (ANI): Hailing from the troubled Kulgam district, 22 year old Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz, the son of an apple grower, was a classic example of a young Kashmiri boy who aspired to do well in life and in his case, by joining the Army. Selected for the National Defence Academy, where he excelled in studies and sports, he was commissioned into the Rajputana Rifles in December 2016 and posted to its 2nd Battalion deployed in Akhnoor. While on leave to attend a marriage in the family, on May 9, 2017, he was abducted by terrorists from his relative's house in Kulgam town and his bullet-riddled body was found in Harmain area of Shopian the next morning. While it is not shocking that in an environment poisoned by hate spread painstakingly by Kashmiri separatists controlled by Pakistan army/Inter Services Intelligence, Fayaz was targeted for joining the Indian Army, what is shocking is that stone-pelters did not even spare Fayaz's funeral procession. Terrorists and their supporters are intimidating young Kashmiris wanting to join the Army, police or security forces. A video of one of them being tonsured was widely aired. Many Jammu and Kashmir police personnels' homes have been raided by terrorists/their supporters to threaten them for discharging their duties. They have also issued diktats against sending children to Army's goodwill schools, where students have been faring well, accusing these schools of compromising 'Kashmiriyat', which actually is being killed by Pakistan supported Kashmiri terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen and the separatists, who are not even sparing their own fellow Kashmiris. Fayaz's brutal abduction and murder came shortly after another mutilation of two Indian security personnel by Pakistani troops and/or their terrorists comrades in the Krishna Ghati Sector opposite Battal in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) on May 1 2017. This repeated barbaric act of mutilating Indian soldiers/security personnel has further raised the level of public ire which has been simmering since heightened levels of heckling of security forces by Kashmiri youth of the valley's 'infected' districts. Mutilations and more exposures about separatists and their Pakistani contacts have hardened Indian public opinion/ rhetoric like never before. Never earlier had Indian television news anchors been heard referring to separatists as 'Pakistan ke dalaal' (Pakistan's agents) on the face of some of the pro-separatist speakers, while some guest commentators referred to the separatists/ their supporters as pimps. Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi did not mince his words in media, when he recently stated: "The recent report about a stone pelter tied to an Army vehicle helped contain stone pelters and saved the poll officials". While the army is reportedly planning punitive action against the Pakistan Army for mutilations at a time and place of its choosing, there are some meaningful calibrated measures the government must take on incriminating evidence. Because surgical strikes may cause lethal damage to the Pakistan Army and terrorists, but will not stop the ever rising level of poisoning the minds of the Valley's youth and support of terrorists by separatists. Immediate actions the government must take in Kashmir Valley are (a) stop the largesse/benefits to separatists, which should have been done ages ago, (b) stop the totally ineffective house arrests and instead, put them in jails outside J & K State, (c) expose Indian liberals/apologists/peaceniks and repeatedly criticize/condemn/comment against them (d) publicise Indian Army's Kashmir Super - 40 initiative for coaching J & K youth for engineering entrance exams breaking all previous records and overwhelming responses to recruitment into the Army, police and security forces and (e) publicise Pak army's atrocities in POK and Balochistan. On Pakistan announcing death penalty for retired Indian Navy commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, following a ridiculous Pakistan Army-managed kangaroo trial accusing him of being an Indian spy and terrorist, New Delhi finally decided to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which has temporarily stayed his execution. Whether the government's decision to approach the ICJ was based on a suggestion made by Dr.Subramanian Swamy,or other reasons is not yet known, but such a step has been taken after many decades of declining to do so. The ICJ must also be approached for the many cases in which the Pakistan Army has been charged with mutilating Indian Army personnel and recently one of the Border Security Force. This writer recently reviewed Supreme Court Advocate Aman M. Hingorani's book, Unravelling the Kashmir. Interacting with Mr. Hingorani, this author found that the latter maintains that mutilations by Pakistan are in gross violation of international law. There is nothing to prevent India from taking Pakistan to the ICJ at The Hague for condemnation, reparation and damages. The Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration do not preclude India from doing so. In any case, Article 103 of the UN Charter provides that in the event of a conflict between the obligations of the UN Members under the Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the UN Charter shall prevail. Former CIA station chief in Islamabad, Kevin Hulbert writing in Cipher Brief, a website for the intelligence community, states, "With a failing economy, rampant terrorism, the fastest growing nuclear arsenal, the sixth largest population, and one of the highest birthrates in the world, Pakistan is of grave concern.. while Pakistan is not the most dangerous country in the world, it probably is the most dangerous country for the world." The repeated recommendations by liberals/apologists/peaceniks for talks with Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists, as also conciliatory moves like drastic reduction of Indian Army troop levels in the hinterland must be nullified, as this is what has led to at least five Valley districts being dominated by terrorists. India needs to ratchet up its moves in the Kashmir Valley and against Pakistan, it must militarily raise the cost, while continuously exposing Pakistan's politic and diplomatic duplicity. Will a stage be reached when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's August 15, 2016 reference to Balochistan be taken forward? Disclaimer: The views expressedin the above article are that of Colonel (Retired) Anil Bhat.(ANI)