Omar’s credibility at stake

Sanctioning prosecution of armymen. Timing is critical.

An angry Omar Abdullah met the Defence Minister, asking for the prosecution of armymen, who allegedly killed two innocent civilians in Sopore. While he will raise the same demand in his meeting with the Home Minister in Srinagar, the army brass has promised him the army enquiry report within the next two to three days. As with many other issues, the real question here is not the government sanction for this prosecution. The issue that should bother all well-meaning Indians is the credibility of the young CM. Do you want Omar to be seen as a lackey of Delhi, doing its bidding in Kashmir, or do you wish him to seen as a credible, strong political figure in the state?

Look at the timing — the separatists are struggling to stay afloat, security in the state has improved manifold and is at pre-1990 levels, Omar is a young CM with little political baggage and another successful parliamentary polls would provide the deathblow to the separatists. The opportunity is now. But the current lame duck government at Delhi seems to be lacking political will and wisdom to understand the significance of this decision now — when will they realise that a small, timely action will achieve much more now than what can be gotten by giving much bigger concessions later.

If the situation continues to improve at the same pace in the state, the next government at Delhi will have to take bigger decisions. It will have to seriously look at the continuation of AFSPA in the state, if it desires complete normalcy in the state. That will be a real conundrum to resolve.

P.S. — While on Kashmir, here is what the Pullitzer prize winning journalist, Steve Coll, said in his testimony before the US Commission on International Religious Freedom:

The (Pak) army took the extraordinary steps that it did to enter into these negotiations over Kashmir, essentially threatening to reverse decades of policy in this negotiation with India, it was not coercion that brought them to the table; it was aspiration. They wanted, Musharraf in particular, the international legitimacy, the credibility. He wanted to be celebrated at international events as a peacemaker. He wanted Oslo to pay attention to him.

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15 Responses to Omar’s credibility at stake

  1. shuks March 18, 2009 at 7:23 pm #

    Omars credibility is in contorlling the state machinery and estabilishing peace in the troubled state.He should remember that the state has been there because of Army and nobody else.He should first punish his own people who have killed hundreds of civilians and tens of Army men.When Army operates there may be collateral damage and it is aberration.

  2. samy March 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    sorry shuks that is not the way. we are in the state protect the interest of people of the state. Our trg teaches us to have max control over our emotions. Lets be true protector. Definitely there is no room for sheltering the guilty. Guilty should be punished.
    @ Prag
    The question is who is trying to establish who the guilty is? – The young CM ? whose credibility is yet to be proved. An opportunist He is at the moment. I do’t want get into the politics of it. Young was his father also when he became CM. credibility is what is lacking towards the state as whole. had it not been his speech in the parliament, jammu woldn’t simmered for 63 days

  3. Keshav March 19, 2009 at 3:15 am #

    I’m a little unclear. What do you recommend for Omar and the government?

  4. surender March 19, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    I feel omar has a great task ahead….its not merely punishing the armymen alone , rather shaking the entire administrative machinery which hardly exist in the hinterland.The credibility of enquiry by the state will also have many unanswered questions as the state is distinct in itself.Army should conduct their probe & punish if found guilty,but definately defend their men otherwise.
    Here again , i m coming to the same argument that army should withdraw from all kinds of internal duties.In a longer run,it only tarnishes its image.We have a HOME & HEARTH concept in J & K which is doing better than our regular army units.
    Hope our policymakers learn something from HISTORY???????

  5. Mangusta March 19, 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    Nobody’s permission is required by a CO to prosecute murderers.
    And, political ‘timing’ ought to have nothing to do with it.
    It’s absurd to suggest that we must hang some army jawans (just get hold of some) to make Omar a ‘credible and strong political figure’. It seems you are convinced that Omar is indeed a lackey!
    Come on, PE, you can do better!

  6. shastri March 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    @surender
    Well, i have nuthing much to say except what home & hearth did and definately better than the regulars. It shined through all news circuit when HOME & HEARTH JAWAN ESCAPED WITH THREE AUTO WPNS in Doda distt. As for bomai, i guess sopore has always been the breeding ground for terroists and punishing and removing forces from there would be a great boost to prag frnds across. Though Omar is doing a fine job but he has to assess the credibilty of the locals and dedication of army there. I am friend to forces but i think they do well in valley.

  7. Kaps March 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    Army is everyone’s pet flogging horse nowadays. Omar is nothing new. By getting involved in witch hunt, he is just playing to the gallery. Just like our own steel frame, kashmiri muslims also see Indian Army as an army of occupation employed by a Hindu India to suppress the onset of caliphate.

    A wrong has been done and it must be set right by the Army authorities. During the “healing touch” policy period, Army had restored a lot of faith which is again in danger of falling apart due to some vested interests. Omar will do well to use Army as his tool rather than a flogging horse. This will surely bring in a control on terror and a safe environ for shikara wallahs to offer their services on a serene Dal Lake.

  8. Liberal March 19, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    A magisterial inquiry has found troops guilty. what more proof the govt. of India needs to sanction legal proceeding and investigation. By delaying the sanction, only following points are proved :-
    (a) the govt. is a peevish govt. and every time it succumbs to pressure tactics by AF.
    (b) Every time voilation of human rights by troops takes place, govt. of india is hrlpless.
    (c) CM of the democratically elected govt. is helpless before uniformed armed forces.

  9. Yash March 19, 2009 at 10:25 pm #

    prag so what do u recommend?

    remove AFSPA and make the army a sitting duck for the local police. army fights with its hands (which it already is!) and legs tied up & slowly becomes central additional reserve police force.

    or

    remove army from Counter insurgency duties & just let them handle infiltration.

    any third option would mean having the cake the while also eating it. literally meaning – you (Army) will do nothing, but i want nothing to happen.

  10. Yash March 19, 2009 at 10:28 pm #

    and kaps, most of these ppl only know sopore as a town in J&K. they know nothing of its history.

  11. surender March 19, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    @shastri

    ur kind attention is drawn towards a national news few years back when a regular army NCO ran away with a LMG from his RR unit.The NCO dodged everybody at kashmir valley & created uproar while cought selling this wpn to a very famous politician of UP.There r many more examples which can be quoted.

    The larger picture says we cant afford to have a huge PMF which cant deliver when it matters the most .

    In a state like J & K where army is considered as an occupying force,we must slute these HOME & HEARTH soldiers who despite local hatred r serving the nation.

    I request u to kindly study the OP performance of these units raised hardly few years back,i m sure u ll ve different oppinion.

    regards

  12. Essvee March 20, 2009 at 7:35 am #

    Surendr is a ta offr. Gud wrk.

  13. surender March 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    @ Essvee

    Thanx for ur compliment

    best regards

  14. Eats Shoots and leaves March 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    British and Indian Army – Arabia; IOK:
    {Always these military fellows create problems}

    [1] Abdullah (Omar)
    Omar Abdullah born Rochford Essex. (m.) Payal Singh,
    daughter of an Army officer, Kran ( Colonel ?) Ram Singh from Delhi
    Wikipedia
    Link

    [2] Abdullah (Hussein)
    His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein is the 43rd generation direct
    descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Link
    s/o Antoinette Gardiner born Chelmondiston, Ipswich, Suffolk, (styled HRH Princess Muna al-Hussein from May 25, 1961). An award-winning field hockey player, former typist, and daughter of a British army officer turned innkeeper, Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Percy Gardiner

  15. Dr K Prabhakar Rao March 22, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Dear friends

    Dynastic product and Sibling CM of J and K state wants army guys punished and send back army and withdraw its powers. He should know that the state exists only because Army is there and nothing else. Army has lost scores of its men and officers all these years. Where was this guy all these years. He was not even born to understand the army and its role. We know how police works and whenever police is in trouble army has to step in. If army is withdrawn the state would be smashed in no time. He is too young and in experienced to understand the situation and tackle the state security. He probabaly is aiming at some popularising tricks and would soon boomerang on him.With his dramatic tricks he would run the state into the hands of enemy of the country and then there is no choice exceopt army. Where will this great youthful Abdullah run and hide himself? Al Qaeda and Lashkar are just waiting for armys withdrawl and then strike with devastation. Where will this Abdulla go if that happens? Can the police guys and BSF save him. He must kow this. He is too young to know this. Where was this guy when scores of civilians were killed in the state and pandits were killed in large numbers. It is oK he won elections and credit must go to him for that although he won because of the dynasty.. Instead of stabilising the state he is leading to destabilization. Hope his Peer Sheikh Abdullas days will not be repeated.
    Better read this

    INTO THE PAST WITH PAIN…XXXVI

    SCENE XXXVI

    Prof Dr Colonel K Prabhakar Rao ( retired)

    ( It is the remote area of Jammu and Kashmir State where terrorists hide and wage Jihad against India. In a secluded place, some Islamic terrorists are sitting around fire in cold and are warming up. They are discussing the situation in Kashmir. The terrorists are Nasrullah, Fakrullah and Hamid Jihadi)

    Nasrullah. Fakrullah, Look. Very soon we will be having free time in J and K

    Fakrullah. How? What makes you to say this?

    Nasrullah. Recently two civilian guys were killed in army firing. There have been great civilian protests against army and army has ordered probe into the incident.

    Fakrullah. That is very normal and a routine affair

    Nasrullah. No. No. Not now. This time even the new Chief Minister has taken cudgels against Army. He is grinding teeth at India army.

    Fakrullah. Does it make any difference?Army has seen many guys like him.

    Nasrullah. The Chief Minister is very vocal. He is no doubt a sibling. He is trying to make ground for himself in Kashmiris by being vocal and trying to corner Army. He is even asking the central government to withdraw special powers to army in the state.

    Fakrullah. That will be good if done. Army guys can not now act in whatever they form they feel like

    Nasrullah. Look. J and K is a special State. I do not think the government will loosen the grip they have. The young CM is trying to show himself as the savior of the Kashmiris.

    Fakrullah. If army looses powers we shall have nice time here. We can conduct our Jihad most freely. Army guys would be sucking thumbs while we can blast off the state. Oh we can loot, rape, kill, murder and create chaos. That will be a great day for us.

    Nasrullah. We have to be careful. Sheikh Abdullah the PM, once up on a time of this state got into trouble and was jailed by Nehru for being anti national and doing some acts like that.

    Fakrullah. Are you hinting similar things will happen soon?

    Nasrullah. No. No. I am giving a thought. If the CM distances from army and for every small thing interferes in fighting the terrorists, and if we increase our activities greatly, axe will definitely fall on him. He can not control the terrorists without army. Again army will come back with more force and we will have very tough time.

    Fakrullah. Why worry for all these things? When we get good opportunity we shall smash the state. We Kill the civilians, Muslims or Hindus. No matter what happens. We shall spread hatred and mayhem and murder.

    Nasrullah. Haa… haa.. Pakistan faindabad … Kashmir.. Zindabad.. Jihad long live… Allah ho Akbar..

    Jo hamse takraye gaa… mitti mein mil jayega
    Hoo…haa…hoo..haa..hoo.. haa..hoo…. haa

    ( All the terrorists rise and shout slogans lifting their weapons into sky.. Some open fire into sky.. One of the terrorist switches on the transistor and tunes to all India Radio.. News bulletin is heard)

    News reader. This is All India Radio.. News read by Ram Bharose.. Government of India on popular demand from the state leaders has with drawn the special powers act for army in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect…The army from now onwards has limited role in fighting Jihadis.The state leaders are seeing this as a great victory for the new sibling CM of state….keee….keee….mew…mew..brrr….brrr….trrr..trrr..drrr….drrr…pew….pew….sss.sssss….ooo…oooooosss….. (Suddenly there is disturbance and the radio gets dead.)

    Nasrullah.. Shit.. Bloody hell… The radio net work has failed. I feel like smashing this radio set..

    Fakrullah. Come on friend. Do not break it. We shall have none if you break it… (Yawns). I am feeling sleepy. Let us go to bed.

    (The terrorists go to bed while few keep guard over their camp)

    (After few days some jihadis dress up like civilians and land in Lal Chowk of Sri Nagar.. They are standing in the crowded street at a way side tea stall.. An army truck with some soldiers halts at the chowk and a dozen of troops in battle fatigues an armed get down from the vehicle. The soldiers are commanded by Capt Rakesh)

    Rakesh. Look. Subedar Ranjit Singh. Look at the small gathering near the dust bin. I am sure many among them are terrorists. They are dressed like civilians.

    Ranjit Singh. You are probably true Sahib. Can I go and search them

    Rakesh. No . Please do not do that. Now we have no powers to search them. Special powers have been withdrawn for army

    Ranjit Singh. Ohfo.. Capt sahib. You are correct. That tall guy was involved in a shoot out with us last month. I can recognize him. Capt Sahib . Let us not waste time. We must catch them or kill them.

    Rakesh. Yes. You are correct. But we are helpless. We can not open fire unless they open fire first

    ( The crowd throws onions and eggs at Capt Rakesh and soldiers and shout slogans against army.. Two guys from the crowd step out and do some jig on the road mocking at army.. In the mean time Ramdhun is heard and Gandhi accompanied by Nehru and Patel come to the square singing Ramdhun. They are in usual dress. They are followed by some Kashmiri Pandits.)

    Gandhi. Hello. Every body What is happening here? I find some one is doing jig on the street and mocking at army soldiers.

    On looker. Who are you sir? I am Bismillah Khan. You are singing Ram naam in the land of Kashmir. Don’t you want to live?

    Gandhi. Baba. Why I should not sing here? This is also India

    Khan. Many do not think this is India.

    Nehru. Why? Then What it is?

    Khan. This is Kashmir. We are Kashmiris.

    Patel. Look Friend. Kashmir is part of India

    Gandhi. True. What he said is true. Hundred percent true.

    Khan. Hee….heee…heee.. Better go away from here before some guy attacks you. You people appear very old and sick too. I am telling for your benefit.

    Gandhi. No. We shall not go. I shall make you sing Ramdhun and then only I shall go.

    Khan. Up to you sir. That is your funeral.

    ( A terrorist hiding behind a large dust bin lobs a grenade at the soldiers and it explodes very close to them. A soldier is killed instantly and two are wounded.. There is some confusion in the crowd and many run away from there.. A police van with siren screaming along with a jeep arrives at the spot and some fat looking police men struggle our from the vehicle…)

    Rakesh. Subedar Ranjit Singh sahib. Please take these wounded soldiers to hospital immediately and I shall take care of situation here. I have Naib Subedar Hukum Singh with me.
    Ranjit Singh. Sahib Please take care of your self. Do not leave the crooked guys. Whatever happens we shall face. Blast then out …Shouts .. Bharat mata ki Jai… Jo bole so nihal.. sat sri akaal.

    ( In the mean time a terrorist hiding behind the shop opens fire with a rifle and the bullets zip past Capt Rakesh and Naib Subedar Hukum Singh.. Hukum singh immediately opens fire from his AK 47 at the hiding civilian and the terrorist is killed… Gandhi, Nehru and Patel are caught in the confusion and they manage to hide behind a large cement pipe lying there.. Gandhi continues to sing Ramdhun…Raghu pathi raaghava Raja Ram…pateetah pavana seethe ram. Bolo.. Raghupathi…)

    Gandhi. What a violence here? There is no mutual love here.

    Patel. Bapu. What are you talking? Love was lost long ago. Even before you were killed by Godse, it disappeared.

    Gandhi. Why bring Godse’s name now?

    Patel . He will be remembered as long as you are remembered.

    Nehru. Haa…haa.. That is the truth. Along with Ram Ravan is also remembered. If
    Ravana is forgotten, where is the recognition for Ram? Ram gets glory because he vanquished evil Ravana. So Godse’s name will also be eternal like Gandhi’s name. This is the truth even if some one does not like.

    Gandhi. Let us go and see whether we can help the locals

    ( Some police men see and confront them)

    Inspector. Stop. Who are you dressed like Gandhi , Nehru and Patel?

    Patel. We are not dressed. We are they

    Inspector. What do you mean? How can you be they? They can not be you too. You can not be them…ohfo.. you…they…. We… them… Getting crazy with these words.

    Nehru. What a confusion? Look Inspector. We are actually they.

    Inspector. Ohfo. Confusing guys. You guys better go away from here. You are not Kashmiris. Why you should be here?

    Gandhi. Inspector. Can I say some thing to you?

    Inspector. Fast…. Fast… I have no time

    Gandhi. I am really unhappy with these killings. Why this Kashmir problem? Why can not we have plebiscite here?

    Inspector. I do not know. I have no time. I am least bothered. What I know is to hammer the people. I am paid for it.

    Gandhi. What types of people are here? Jawaharlal. Let us go. This is a useless place and people are useless too. They will cook their own goose

    Inspector. You can not just go away like that. We suspect you to be some evil men. ( Looks at constables). Constables ! Catch these guys and hand cuff them. We shall deal with them later. Put them in chains and tie them to the jeep

    ( Constables rush at Gandhi and Gandhi laughs… heee..heee)

    Gandhi. You just can not catch us. We have divine bodies…Come try and catch us..

    Patel. Me too ( Does a fast Jig).. Catch me if you can my dear friend.. catch me

    Nehru. Me too.. ( Sings doing jig)

    Catch me you devil guys
    You can not and do you know why?
    We are from the sky
    And we make you run like a fly

    (Inspector and constables pounce on Nehru and Gandhi and Patel. Gandhi looks at them and gestures like Mandrake the magician and all the police men are thrown off the ground to a distance of fifty feet and fall in a heap into the dust bin.. They shout mar gaya. Yaa…Allah….Haye…haye… Bachao….aaa…. ooo….. eeee…eeee)

    Patel. ( looking at people) Look at these guys who are paid to protect you from the Jihadis and Pakistanis. You guys do not want army guys to save you. Only God shall save you. Bapu. Let us go from this cockeyed place

    ( Bapu, Nehru and Patel slowly walk off into distance haze)

    ( In the mean time the terrorists run away leaving the body of their colleague not before throwing some more grenades in to police men and innocent civilians standing there. There are more than twenty killed among civilians apart from four police men killed and one inspector injured all sitting in the vehicle.. Capt Rakesh gets a cell call from local command headquarters)

    Rakesh. Good evening sir. This is Rakesh

    Col Sawant. How is the situation there?

    Rakesh. Sir. We lost one soldier and two are gravely injured when the terrorists threw a grenade at us.

    Sawant. Wee they dressed like terrorists?

    Rakesh. No sir. They were looking like civilians

    Sawant. Why couldn’t you prevent them from doing such things?

    Rakesh. How can I sir? I could not carry out any search operation although we were sure they were terrorists. Subedar Ranjit Singh even recognized one as a terrorist. I am sure all were from Lashkar e Toiba. We had no powers to search now. So we had to wait till they did some thing.

    Sawant. Shit.. Ohf.. What a joke? Rakesh! Are you alright?

    Rakesh. Fine sir.

    Sawnt. Now come back to the camp. Let the police guys do the post mortem and running around. State Government wants them to do every thing. Let them do. How about them? Any casualties among them?

    Rakesh. Sir! Total five police men dead. Four constables and one Inspector died while sitting in jeep.

    Sawant. That is the usual way for them. Even in Bombay it was like that.

    Rakesh. There was some interesting thing. I saw Gandhi, Nehru and Patel among the crowd singing Ramdhun when the terrorists threw grenades

    Sawant. From where they have come? They were dead long ago before I was born.

    Rakesh. They may be some imposters dressed like them.

    Sawant. One has to be careful with such people. They may be terrorists trying to get information.

    Rakesh. Could be sir. Any how, they were looking harmless and docile

    Sawant. Forget about them. We have many things to do. Be careful while returning. You may be even ambushed by civilians too who could be terrorists. You can not do any thing because they are civilians till they fire on you. You have no powers to shoot at them till you are mortally attacked. Even if they attack you, you must show great restrain. Or else you may even be court marshaled if you manage to survive.

    Rakesh. Sir. By that time one or two of us would be dead. Any how it is better to die than face court martial.

    Sawant. True. What can we do? We have to fight Jihadis with hands tied.

    Rakesh. Sir .I am tired. I have decided to quit service. Once I return to the camp I shall put in my papers

    Sawnt. Do not be crazy. You hardly got any service. You will not get any benefits.

    Rakesh. Sir! I know. It is better to quit than to fight an enemy with hands tied down like a coward.

    Sawant. I know your frustration. Be patient. Things will change soon. The matter is being considered at highest level. Ok. We shall discuss in person when you return

    Rakesh. Bye sir. Thanks for every thing

    ( Rakesh returns to the camp along with his team and reports to Colonel Sawant)

    Sawant. Welcome Rakesh. News for you. You have been given Sena Medal along with Naib Subedar Hukum Singh. But the dead police men are given Ashok Chakras for showing exceptional bravery in front of enemy.

    Rakesh. Who all got?

    Sawant. All those guys who died in police vehicle sitting like ducks got Ashok Chakras. All dead civilians got Padma sri awards.

    Rakesh. God bless their souls. How about our jawan who died?

    Sawant. Nothing. Are you sure Rakesh? Do you want to quit?

    Rakesh. Surely sir. To morrow first thing is that only. I shall put in papers

    Sawant. If they do not leave you?

    Rakesh. I shall again put the papers stating that I want to join politics as done by Politician Jaswant singh. They have to leave me

    Sawant. Will you really join politics?

    Rakesh. Why should I ? I am the last one to do. I have better things to do in life.

    Sawnt. Good. Best of luck. But, still I advice you. Please do not be sentimental.

    Rakesh. Not at all sir.

    Sawant. God bless you with success.

    ( Rakesh leaves the room of Sawant smartly saluting lifting knee three feet high in the style of Indian Military academy at Dehradun and stamping on the ground while his brain gets the transmitted shivers)

    CURTAIN FALLS

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