Washington Post report on Kashmir reveals its shortsightedness
The US daily in its July 2 report said major anti-India protests took place in Kashmir after five militants were killed
The US daily report said that a gun battle with militants in Kashmir triggered major anti-India protests and clashes between government and local residents is false. Had it been wide-spread protests, the Indian media would have certainly reported it. Indian media has always reported matters of public concern in a fair and transparent manner.
The US daily has tried to show the Indian security forces in the poor light, instead of lauding their efforts. In the gun fight, five militants were killed and an Indian soldier also died. Yet the daily chose to focus more on the militants and not bothered to report on deceased soldier Hawaldar Kashi of 44 RR.
Sharing information about the five militants, the police have said that among the slain included one district commander of the Lashkar outfit who has been identified as Nishaz Lone alias Khitab and one foreign terrorist.
Nishaz, as per police, was a district commander of the outfit. Quoting the indian police, the daily said that government forces on Wednesday (June 30) killed three suspected militants in a gun battle and recovered a rifle and two pistols.
However, family members of one of the slain men said that 17-year-old Zakir Bashir was picked up from his home, killed in custody and then presented as a militant who had died fighting.
Police insisted that the teenager had joined rebel ranks “just a few days before he was eliminated.” The select sensitivity on the part of US daily, is in sharp contrast to its claim that editors and reporters are committed to fairness.
If the daily talks about human rights of rebels then it should not ignore human rights of security personnel as well. The fact is that Indian security personnel have been diligently doing their duty to protect the lives of people in Kashmir from the terrorists who have no sympathy for any Kashmiri.
The reality was that the security forces had launched a cordon and search operation at Hanjin village in Rajpora area of Pulwama district on specific information about the presence of terrorists in that area.
The search operation had turned into an encounter after the terrorists opened fire on the security forces.
The search operation was launched within days of drone attacks on Indian Air Force base in Jammu.
The drones were used for the first time to target military installations in India.
It was followed by the spotting of several drones in Jammu over the next few days. On Saturday late evening, a flying object was noticed near Birpur in the Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir.
In the wake of the drone threat, security agencies in Jammu have now installed an anti-drone system at the Air Force station.
A close look at the recent spurt in violence and drone attacks in Jammu and Kashmir indicates a major shift in the strategy of Pakistan backed militants towards India.
The 'shift' in the strategy has to be seen in the context of the central government's latest attempts to strengthen the political process in the Union Territory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently convened a meeting of Jammu and Kashmir leaders in New Delhi to give a fresh momentum to the political process in the Union Territory.
This apparently rattled the Pakistan Army and the ISI. The recent spurt in violence in the Kashmir Valley is seen in this context.
Meanwhile, 15 retired IPS officers have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lauding him for his government’s “courageous and decisive” efforts to resolve the complex Kashmir issue, and termed “exemplary” the recent initiative by the Centre to reach out to political stakeholders there.
The signatories including 10 state DGPs, stated that the complete integration of Kashmir with the Union of India was an unfinished task since the Constitution was adopted in 1950.The momentous decision to annul Article 35A and read-down Article 370, was efficiently implemented, with all necessary precautions to prevent the loss of life and property. It further added that people of Kashmir can proudly call themselves Indians and receive all benefits that the Indian State bestows on its citizens.
The retired police officers appreciated the government’s ability to foresee future events and to plan for all kinds of possibilities led to tight control over crime, terrorism and public order since August 5, 2019, when the Article 370, giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated and the erstwhile state was divided into two Union Territories.
According to them, the implementation of the plan was impeccable, given that Pakistan, the “permanent interloper” in matters regarding Kashmir, was boxed into a difficult position, given its earlier stand of non-recognition of Article 370.
The retired police officers also appreciated the manner in which the government organised an impeccable system of managing external pressures such as those from western nations and multilateral bodies like the United Nation, which, they said, had been interfering in India’s internal affairs regarding Kashmir for several decades.
“None of these external elements were able to create any significant impact, except the appearance of articles in the media of choice. Almost two years have elapsed and the seal of integration with the Union is absolute,” they said.
However, the Central government’s recent initiative at reaching out to political stakeholders and countering the twin elements of “Dil ki doori” and “Dilli ki doori”, in order to enhance trust, is exemplary, reflecting a dynamic approach to policy-making.
*** The writer is a senior journalist; Views expressed are her personal