The Indian Army has reportedly ordered an investigation into a brief video tweeted by former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday, which shows a boy tied to the front of a green truck as it escorts an armoured carrier through a street in Kashmir. “This young man was TIED to the front of an army jeep to make sure no stones were thrown at the jeep? This is just so shocking!!!!...... A warning can be heard saying stone pelters will meet this fate. This requires an urgent inquiry & follow up NOW!!” he asserts.
A day earlier, another video which went viral showed a CRPF jawan who despite being kicked and slapped by a Kashmiri man, keeps walking away without reacting. Stone pelting is a form of protest made famous by Palestinians as part of their decades-long-intifada against the Israelis in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. If indeed the first video is credible, then the Indian security forces are emulating the Israeli Defense Forces, who use the same tactic to discourage stone-throwing mobs, which have become as routine as the daily calls to prayer in Kashmir.
The paramilitary forces like the CRPF and the Rashtriya Rifles deployed to keep peace in the state (while the Indian Army guards the borders) have an extremely unenviable job. Garrisoned in a hostile environment far from home, these troopers are operating with their hands tied behind their backs. In these days of social media, even a relatively minor push-back against these stone pelters, who include children, could quickly spiral into an international human rights issue.
In a strongly worded article, a retired Major turned talk show guest asserts that given a free hand, the Indian army could “sanitize’’ the Valley in a few days. But while the Major’s rage and frustration are understandable, after that, what? Without a clear political plan to back that up— which includes tackling Pakistani perfidy in the state—any such effort would be a short-lived exercise in futility.