Lt Gen GS Katoch, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd) Writes: Of late the media (mainly social) has been abuzz with comments upon, or in criticism, of the deaths of seven civilians in Pulwama District of Kashmir consequent to an operation on 15 Dec. This occurred in the aftermath of a murderous mob attempting to assault security forces after an operation by the army in which three terrorists were killed and one Indian army jawan martyred. Operations in J&K— especially in inhabitated areas— are always joint between the Army, Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF (which is the nations mandated counter-insurgency CAPF— Central Armed Police Force) and the J&K Police. One of the critics using this medium was former supreme court judge Markandey Katju who on Facebook and Twitter lambasted the Army Chief and the Army, and sarcastically stated “Three cheers for the Indian army which has now started killing civilians in Kashmir, like General Dyer at Jalianwala Bagh or Lieutenant Calley at My Lai in Vietnam. All Indian army officers and soldiers should be given Bharat Ratna”.
This started a Twitter war with prominent Army defence analysts explaining to Mr Katju (and all others active on that media) that the attack by the murderous mob was on the CRPF who responded, it was not the army involved in that part of the operation, why the CAPFs get mistaken for the army by both media and the layman etc. Mr Katju whose ancestors left Kashmir over a hundred years ago, who champions the Kashmiri cause stating to his audience that he is an atheist maintained his stand of vilifying the Army. A stand which has given grist to the Pakistani media who used Katju’s words to give a spin to their own vested stories (Jawed Naqvi , “The Ace up Modi’s Sleeve”, DAWN Dec 18, 2018 https://www.dawn.com/news/1452126/the-ace-up-modis-sleeve)
This blog’s aim is not to talk about Mr Markandey Katju, who is also disliked in Pakistan for his advocacy of the Utopian goal of the unification of India and Pakistan. However, when it suits the Pakistanis they pick up his words to advance their cause.
This blog wants to state that the fight against terrorism and Pakistani venom in Kashmir is a fight of the nation and all its security forces. Neither should the army or serving and retired army spokesmen should state that “it was not us, it was the police”— nor should they feel obliged to comment upon it if needled by the media. The media or people like Mr Katju can ask the government and its institutionalised National Security establishment headed by the NSA, if they want answers. What the security forces are doing is not as per their own will. What they are doing in J&K is as per the will of the Indian people executed through the government — a government that their will has given to India. We are a democracy and in a democracy the will of the majority prevails. The majority of the Indian people believe that J&K is a part of India to keep which all sacrifices are worth it; as they are for keeping other parts of the Union together, in Assam, Manipur or Nagaland.