Ex-army chief defends using protester as human shield

Ex-army chief defends using protester as human shield

The exceptional condition under which army men are fighting should be condoned

Retired Indian Army chief General V P Malik on Wednesday defended the action of an army major who held a protester as a human shield at the violence-hit Kashmir, that is still on the boil.

Participating in an interaction organised by ex-servicemen’s association of Dakshina Kannada at Town Hall, Malik, better known for winning the Kargil war as the chief of army staff in 1999, said, “One has to understand the exceptional circumstances under which the soldiers are fighting in the valley.”

When asked for his instant reaction, had he been at the helm of affairs, in the trouble-hit Kashmir now, Malik said, “Although I would have charged the particular officer (for using protesters as a human shield) for violating human rights, I would have condoned him for fighting under the circumstances. Our men are not robots.”

Continuing, Malik said, had he been at the helm the ideologues and separatists, who are fomenting trouble in the valley, would have been sent to jail in different parts of the country.

Mincing no words, Malik also claimed that there is no other country in the world like India where human rights are practised in toto, unlike Pakistan and other countries. “It’s the same reason why the Army follows rules of agreement while dealing with protesters and ‘jihadists’ in the valley, against whom only minimum force is used. In the case of Pakistan, they deploy military weapons while dealing with a situation, irrespective of people,” he said.

Malik, who earlier recalled the turbulent days of the Kargil war, instilled a sense of patriotism and pride among the gathering that included ex-servicemen, NCC cadets and also general public. He used slides that included exclusive photographs and information on the terrains of Siachen that lead to the Tiger Hill Drass (re-captured by Indian Army during Kargil War) and succinctly explained the difficult conditions under which the three combined forces of the Army, the Navy and also the Air Force took on the Pakistan Army, who were initially believed to be ‘jihadists’.

Malik, who also read aloud some of the letters written by the armymen, irrespective of officers or soldiers, to their kith and kin, before preparing for the final assault, emphasised on decorating them in the minds of younger generation to idolise them.