Army chief reflecting views of Modi govt, forces will suffer: CPM mouthpiece

Army chief reflecting views of Modi govt, forces will suffer: CPM mouthpiece
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Tuesday slammed Army chief Bipin Rawat, saying he is reflecting the views of the Narendra Modi government and security forces will suffer “irreparable damage” due to the Centre’s “blind adherence” to using coercive force against civilians.

An editorial in CPM’s mouthpiece ‘People’s Democracy’,  of which senior Prakash Karat is the editor, said, “Unfortunately, the army chief is reflecting the views of the Modi government which seeks to suppress the people of Kashmir… through the sole reliance on use of force. Not only will the people of Kashmir but the army itself will suffer irreparable damage due to the government’s blind adherence to the use of coercive force against the civilian population.”

The party contended that General Rawat also defended the wrongful action of Major Nitin Gogoi who had tied a civilian in front of a jeep to act as a human shield and drove his convoy through a number of villages --to rescue poll officials under attack from a stone-pelting mob. Gen Rawat awarded a commendation to Major Gogoi "even while an enquiry into the action was being held."

It said Gen. Rawat justified the serious violation committed by Major Gogoi in the following words: "This is a proxy war ....It is played in a dirty way....That is where innovation comes. You fight a dirty war with innovation"," it added. The mouthpiece said the way Farooq Ahmad Dar, who had gone to vote in the Srinagar by-poll, was caught and tied to a jeep as a deterrent to stone pelters was a shocking incident.  "The army chief of staff, by commending this act, has let down the high professional standards of the army. Some former serving generals of the army have decried the use of the civilian as a human shield. They have correctly pointed out that the army cannot treat its own people in such a manner," it said.

The CPI(M) mouthpiece alleged that General Rawat makes no distinction between young protestors throwing stones and armed militants. "He had, on an earlier occasion, warned that the army would treat all those who do not support army operations or obstruct them during encounters as "overground workers of terrorists."

In an interview, the mouthpiece said, the Army chief also said he wished stone pelters in the Valley were firing weapons, because then “I could do what I (want to do).” He also maintained that there is a “dirty war” in Kashmir.

The CPI(M) mouthpiece said "to taunt protestors to take up arms, so that the army could deal with them appropriately is a needless provocation and displays an attitude which is unbecoming of a senior army officer."

Its comments came a day after Kolkatta scholar Partha Chatterjee faced heat for comparing Gen Rawat to General Dyer, a British army official in colonial India who is infamous for ordering the massacre of peaceful protestors at Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919.

The government and the Army have held that the security forces have acted in restraint to avoid loss of lives despite grave provocation by separatist forces at the instance of Pakistan.

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