Home English Articles Stone-pelters must pay

Stone-pelters must pay


General Rawat’s warning timely, justified

Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat’s warning that stone-pelters who come in the way of anti-terror operations in Jammu & Kashmir would be severely dealt with, has not come a day soon. Stone-pelting mobs in the State have been for long targeting security forces, and now they have also begun creating hindrances when Indian security forces are engaged in encounters, trying to flush out or neutralise militants. These stone-pelters — although Indians by nationality — are clearly not on India’s side and must be treated as traitors. General Rawat’s resolve that they can even be fired upon by the security forces, including the Army, if they refuse to desist from such acts, cannot be faulted. Our security forces cannot function with their hands tied. For years they have had to face the ire of such traitorous locals and place their lives at risk to combat terrorists, and all the time they had been ‘advised’ and even ‘directed’ to go soft on the protesting locals. This was an absurd situation. While it may be that not all stone-pelters are sympathetic to militants — they may have been misled by separatist leaders through false propaganda or paid some amount to create unrest — a majority of them know what they are doing is against the Indian state. To that extent, they are not innocents. And when they interfere with intent to disrupt anti-terror operations of our security agencies and in the process cause risk to the lives of our jawans, they deserve no lenient treatment.

It’s good that General Rawat has also warned of strict action against elements that wave the flags of the Islamic State and Pakistan with impunity in the State while demanding the disintegration of the Indian nation. He in fact said the Army would treat such people as “anti-nationals”. Here too, politicians of various hues have over the years sought to downplay such displays of anti-nationalism on the ground that a few disarrayed elements waving Islamic State or Pakistani flags can hardly be a threat to the nation. They have further argued that strong action against them would turn them into martyrs and fuel the separatist movement. This again is preposterous. Law and order is a State matter and security operations are being conducted by Central agencies including the Armed Forces in Jammu & Kashmir. Politicians must be prepared for the fallout of strong action in the national interest, and not cringe from such action for petty political considerations. Mainstream politicians, especially from Kashmir valley, should not fall into the trap that separatists and those others aligned with them, lay in the name of autonomy, human rights and such like. They need to understand that the stone-pelting crowds which deter our security forces from acting in the national interest, have direct or indirect support, material and moral of elements from neighbouring Pakistan. Let the bleeding hearts in India bleed; they are not more valuable than the blood and sacrifice of our soldiers.