In yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan today, one BSF constable and 4 civilians were killed in J&K, news agency ANI has reported.
BSF Constable Sitaram Upadhyay lost his life in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan in RS Pura Sector in the early morning hours today. This is what Sitaram Upadhyay’s disconsolate young wife had to say –
India asked security forces not to launch operations during Ramzan but my husband was killed in firing by Pak.What'll happen by offering compensation?It'll not bring back my husband: Wife of BSF's Sitaram Upadhyay, who lost his life in ceasefire violation by Pak in J&K's RS Pura pic.twitter.com/nzAD6TJV5B
— ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2018
The demand for a unilateral ceasefire of military operations in J&K first came from J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti who leads the PDP-BJP coalition in the state. Mehbooba Mufti had said Centre should consider a unilateral ceasefire starting from Ramzan in mid May till the completion of the Amarnath Yatra in August.
This call was vehemently opposed by BJP’s state unit, as reported by Times of India. BJP spokespersons dubbed Mufti’s call for a unilateral ceasefire as a move not at all in “national interest” while also slamming the state government’s “soft policy” on stone pelters. They said any ceasefire would only serve to ease pressure on militants and allow them to re-energise, and described the situation in the Kashmir Valley as “very serious” and said the ‘soft policy’ of the Mehbooba Mufti government was responsible for it.
BJP state leaders said large scale casualties of militants were taking place on a daily basis and they were under pressure. “The raising of the demand for a unilateral ceasefire is aimed to give a way out to the demoralised militants, ease pressure, and to save them,” BJP leader Sunil Sethi stated.
Security officials also corroborated this stand taken by the BJP state unit, as stated in this New Indian Express report –
“Security officials are apprehensive about a ceasefire as they are having an upper hand against the militants and have killed almost all top militant commanders in Kashmir after launching ‘Operation All Out’ against militants following a surge in last year’s militant violence.
“If we stop anti-militancy operations this time, it will provide militants with an opportunity to regroup. It will ease pressure and give them a chance to plan future attacks on security forces and other major installations. This will undo all our gains,” a top security official said. He said all their operations against militants were “intelligence-based” and not random ones as was the case in the past. “It has taken a lot of efforts to strengthen our intelligence grid and we cannot lower our guard and allow militants a free run,” the security official said.”
Yet, Mehbooba Mufti kept pressing the Union Government to call for a unilateral ceasefire in the Valley ‘to give people a breather from the Combing and Search Operations (CASO) and anti-militancy operations…and to bring the situation back to normal in south Kashmir ahead of the 2019 parliamentary polls.”
And Mehbooba’s pressure on the Union Government worked. Yesterday, the Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced a unilateral ceasefire per which ‘security forces would not launch operations in J&K during the holy month of Ramzan’ –
The Centre asks Security Forces not to launch operations in Jammu & Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan. Decision taken to help the peace loving Muslims observe Ramzan in a peaceful environment.
HM Shri @rajnathsingh has informed the Chief Minister, J&K of Centre’s decision.
— HMO India (@HMOIndia) May 16, 2018
Security Forces to reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.
Government expects everyone to cooperate in this initiative and help the Muslim brothers & sisters to observe Ramzan peacefully and without any difficulties.
— HMO India (@HMOIndia) May 16, 2018
It is important to isolate the forces that bring a bad name to Islam by resorting to mindless violence and terror.
— HMO India (@HMOIndia) May 16, 2018
In this Firspost article, written in the aftermath of the Sunjwan Army camp terror attack after which Mehbooba Mufti had given a call in the state Assembly that Bharat ‘must’ talk to Pakistan to ‘end bloodshed’., Lt. Gen. (retd) Prakash Katoch provides an uncluttered assessment of Mehbooba and the Kashmir problem –
“In all probability, Mehbooba is playing the game of Pakistan, which is also linked to elections there in November this year and next year’s General Election in India. The fact is that both the PDP and NC have cross-border links with terrorist organisations and by extension, with Pakistan’s ISI. PDP came into power with the support of the Hizbul Mujahideen and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (Mehbooba’s father) publicly thanked Pakistan after winning the election in the presence of Narendra Modi. Former militant commander, Hilal Ahmed War, claims the kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed (Mehbooba’s sister) was stage-managed by her father, who was then Union home minister, through Yasin Malik. This is the same Malik who later in an interview with Tim Sebastian on BBC boasted he had killed four members of Indian Air Force personnel.
When the NIA cracked down on Hurriyat hardliners and arrested them with proof of terrorist links, illegal wealth and inciting youth for violence, Mehbooba went on record to state that the NIA has no jurisdiction in Jammu and Kashmir. Later, she threatened that if Article 35A (that deals with special status and due to which West Pakistan Hindu & Sikh refugees and many others are denied basic citizenship rights to this day) was tinkered with, there will be no one left to hold the National Flag.
….just before the killing of Burhan Wani, Mehbooba released over 600 stone-pelters from prison, and over 9,000 stone-pelters before the recent Shopian incident. The Jammu and Kashmir Police filing an FIR against the Indian Army (even Major Aditya Kumar who wasn’t even present at the incident site) for the Shopian incident, despite grave provocation by stone-pelters was possibly at the behest of Pakistan and the Hizbul Mujahideen, aside from pandering to her votebank.
….the ISI’s plans are being facilitated smoothly by politicians and local police. That radicalisation in the Kashmir Valley is increasing with assistance of the PDP and NC too is evident. While the government has reiterated that terrorism and talks cannot go together, a focussed policy is needed to crush the anti-nationals within Jammu and Kashmir, and the rest of India.”
It is indeed worrying that the BJP Government at the centre overruled the assessment of security forces and their own state unit, to announce this unilateral ceasefire at the behest of a controversial CM whose loyalty to the nation is extremely questionable.
BSF top brass have responded in a predictable manner to the latest ceasefire violation by Pakistan, with IG BSF calling it “expected mischief”. For how long will be keep pretending that this undeclared war against us by Pakistan is ‘routine’?
In 2017, a total of 860 instances of ceasefire violations by Pakistan occurred in which 31 people – 19 security personnel and 12 civilians – lost their lives. This represented a massive jump in ceasefire violations – almost double of the 449 violations in 2016, and over 14 times higher than the corresponding figure in 2011 (62). 724 times along the IB and the LoC till October in comparison to 449 times in 2016. There have been 351 violations within the first 2 months of 2018 alone – so the trend shows that the Pakistani aggression is going through the roof.
The terrorism in the valley is almost completely sponsored by Pakistan’s ISI with the top terrorist organizations like HM, LeT and JeM all led by Pakistan-based leaders like Syed Salahudeen, Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar. So if Pakistani Army is upping the ante on the border, it is foolish to expect that terrorist groups will honor any ceasefire within J&K.
Besides the 19 security personnel killed in 2017 due to ceasefire violations, 47 were killed during infiltration bids and other terrorism incidents in J&K – so a total of 66 security men were killed (not counting civilian casualties) due to the actions of a nation that we have full diplomatic ties with and to which we have still not withdrawn MFN (Most Favored Nation) trade status. There is no example of such self-defeating behavior anywhere else in the world.
The Modi Government’s poor handling of Pakistan, although better than the abject appeasement indulged in by UPA, is one of the black-marks on this Government. One surgical strike aside, there has been no concrete step to send a clear message to Pakistan and the rest of the world that the blood of our soldiers will not be shed in vain. Pleading US to cut funding for Pakistan and declare it a ‘terror state’ looks pathetic when we ourselves haven’t done the same.
So should we go to war with Pakistan? No. We need to prepare for a long-drawn cold war with Pakistan – cutting diplomatic ties should be the first step, followed by other actions to ensure that the Pakistani Army feels double the pain whenever a Bharatiya dies. This might not lead to immediate reduction in casualties on our side, but at least then the solider and his family will know that the entire nation is behind them and that they are fighting a known ENEMY.
The confused mental state we have tied ourselves in right now, has to be bad for troop morale.
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