Jammu & Kashmir: Indian army chief dares Kashmiri protesters to shoot

29th May 2017
Jammu & Kashmir: Indian army chief dares Kashmiri protesters to shoot

By Zahid Rafiq

 

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir, India (AA): An Indian Army chief on Sunday has said he wished Kashmiri protesters pick up guns instead of rocks, to provide the Indian army with a better excuse to retaliate.

Civilian protests against Indian rule in disputed Kashmir has seen thousands of people armed with rocks.

“In fact, I wish these people [pro-Independence protesters], instead of throwing rocks at us [Indian army], were firing weapons at us.

“Then I would have been happy. Then I could do what I [want to do],” Gen. Bipin Rawat told Press Trust of India (PTI), the country’s major news agency, on Sunday.

Rawat’s remarks came a day after two militants, one of them 16-years-old, were killed in a gun battle in southern Kashmir.

The head of the multi-party Hurriyat alliance, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told Anadolu Agency that the Indian army did not know how to handle the protesters.

“The Indian state and the army, with all its guns and power, is unable to subdue the liberation movement in occupied Kashmir and they are at a complete loss on how to deal with the stone-throwing protesters.

– ‘Doom of a country’

“They want to push our youth to extreme measures which will make it easier for them to kill our people,” he said.

In his interview with the PTI, Rawat said people in the disputed Kashmir region had lost all fear of the Indian Army, a sign he saw as the “doom of a country”.

“Adversaries must be afraid of you and at the same time your people must be afraid of you. We are a friendly army, but when we are called to restore law and order, people have to be afraid of us,” he said.

Human rights groups criticized Rawat’s remarks, calling it an admission of a policy long in use in Kashmir.

“The Indian government prefers militancy in Kashmir to stone-throwing protests and stone-throwing protests to mass rallies,” Khurram Parvez, a well-known human rights activist, told Anadolu Agency.

“After the massive people’s rallies in 2008, the Indian government decided never to allow a rally again because when a million people gather on the streets and raise a cry for independence, it is hard for India to lie to its own people and the world about the situation in Kashmir,” he said.

Parvez added that militants were “soft targets for the Indian state” while mass rallies and demonstrations were their nemesis.

– ‘Dirty war’

Army chief Rawat also lauded the use of human shields by his forces, calling it an “innovation”.

“This is a proxy war and proxy war is a dirty war. It is played in a dirty way. The rules of engagements are there when the adversary comes face-to-face and fights with you. It is a dirty war… That is where innovation comes in. You fight a dirty war with innovations,” Rawat said.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.

Kashmiri resistance groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict since 1989. India maintains more than half a million troops in the disputed region.

[Archive Photo:  Indian security forces in Nowhatta area in Srinagar fighting Kashmiris on 15 August 2016. Photgrapher: Faisal Khan/AA]

Leave a Comment

What is 6 + 15 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets