Monday, July 5, 2010

Is this what "We the People" are?

"I feel sad that I don’t have another son and that my son wasn’t married and had no children as I would have sent them as well to serve the nation." These were the brave words of Capt. Devender Singh Jass's mother when asked if she was repenting the fact that her son joined the army after he laid down his life for the country in J&K. Such passion and such courage says everything there is to be said about the Indian Army. I felt a sense of disgust while watching a discussion on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1958 in We the People, a programme that runs every Sunday evening on NDTV. Some so-called human rights experts were accusing the army for all the excesses taking place on the civilians in Kashmir and the North East. Such people conveniently ignore the hardships the Indian Army goes through to make sure that we, including them, are safe. Asking for cutting down the powers of the army in terrorism affected regions like the North-East or Kashmir is like asking Sachin Tendulkar to hold the bat with just one hand while playing cricket. Just that the repercussions in the case of the army are going to be of a much higher scale.

My heart goes out to civilians and their families who have lost their lives during army operations in Kashmir and other parts of the country. There have been accusations that some of these killings have not been fatalities due to the operations but paid killings. I won't say that it is totally untrue as there never is smoke without fire but branding the entire army in the same category and cutting down their powers is no solution to this problem. We must remember that there are bad elements in every group, so we need to have checks and balances in place so that such bad elements in the army are not able to misuse the power that they have been given to serve the nation. But saying that the powers have to be curbed for proper implementation is nonsense. People in favour of this cutting down of the powers highlight the fact that fatalities in Kashmir have come down from 4507 in 2001 to 377 in 2009 which according to them shows that the situation has improved. They just tend to ignore the fact that it is because of AFSPA and the efforts put in by our armed forces that this decrease has taken place. The terrorists have on their end got stronger through better arms & advanced technology. If we commit the fatal error of repealing AFSPA, the situation can become worse than ever before.

Captain Devender Singh Jass used to tell his mother that what is there to live if you don’t live for a cause. By taking away the powers from the army, we would be telling them to fight for a losing cause. Is this how we, who according to a dialogue in my favourite film Lakshya “Are having a sound sleep because someone is awake on the border to take care of us”, want to payback those SOMEONES? Is this how we respect our soldiers? Is this what "We the People" are?


Jaskirat Bal said...

dude nice effort but here are my comments..first of all, all we want to hear is another mother saying tht she wud send another son in the war.wht else she cud say??..nd on the kashmir issue, i wud say it will always be State vs People when u deploy army in ur own house (Punjab, Sri Lanka)..thts why i strongly oppose deployement of army in naxal affected areas. I hv nothing against the soldiers fighting there but evrything against the people who dont want to pull them out..whnvr u give power to sm1 without controls, they r bound to turn violent whether it is Kashmir or Afghanistan ( tortures)'s just basic human tendency..getting the job done at any cost is not the solution in kashmir..the 'HOW' matters here..

Paul Swendson said...

I am from the United States, and as you well know, American soldiers have been engaged in operations for years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in the name of fighting terrorism. Reports of civilian casualties have also been common. When you are engaged in a "war" against a non-traditional army, it is very difficult to avoid civilian deaths. Terrorists, after all, blend into the population. This is why I have my doubts about the long-term success of my country in these conflicts. We may be creating more enemies than we are destroying. Kashmir, of course, may be a different situation. I agree, however, that it is unfair to take whatever frustrations you may have about a conflict out on the soldiers. They are just following orders and trying to do their best in a tough situation.

adarshs said...

@jaskirat...i agree that ppl who misuse the power given to them shud nt b let go scot free but taking back the powers in not the need to create a system where such cases r dealt wit n infact we already hav such systems(100 army personnel found guilty in such cases hav been court martialed) bt mayb dere is a need to strengthen the system

@paul...thanks for ur comment....i agree that there are casualties n wars n the armed forces cant b blamed for everythin..dey r following orders n putting their own life in danger to save others n dey need to b given benefit o d doubt in some situations bt at the same time v shud nt let them think that dey can do whatever they want to without any reprecussions. Any misuse of power needs to be dealt with in a serious manner

Brijender Singh said...

The AFSPA has been a bone of contention for a long time now-Irom Sharmila has been on a fast for about 10 years demanding that it be repealed.
And while I absolutely concur with the sacrifices made by the Army and the tough conditions they operate under,let us not forget that it should never come to a point where we need to save ourselves from our saviours.
A mother's grief is poignant but with the Army fast becoming a haven for people seeking a premature pension,we need to also consider the ramifications of a disjointed force working under the protection of iron-clad laws that obfuscate the very democracy they are intended to preserve.