by Brig Arun Bajpai

A day before Infantry Day the 27th October, an Army soldier Rajendra Singh, just aged 22 years, was killed by stone pelters Anantnag District of Kashmir Valley. Reportedly he was with his team of soldiers who were out on patrolling. This team reportedly did not retaliate to this stone pelting from the local crowd because they were under orders to do so, due to the orders passed by the new Governor sahib who wants to act like Lord Buddha sitting in his Raj Bhavan. This must be investigated and if true, this Governor Sahib appointed by Modi Government after fall of Mehbooba Mufti Government must be sacked or Army withdrawn from internal security duties in Kashmir valley.

It has been reported in social media that this patrolling party, which was out doing patrolling in Anantnag District of Kashmir valley, was set upon by local stone pelters, raining stones on them. the rightful answer from this patrolling party of army which has been trained on the concept of EK GOLI EK DUSHMAN, would have been to open fire with the weapons they were carrying in self defence and killed these stone pelters one and all if necessary. No stone pelters would thereafter dare to throw stones at Army patrol. But no, due to new orders passed by the newly appointed Governor as reported in social media that troops will not fire back because these are our own people, this patrolling party tried to hide under their vehicles for protection. It was in this hiding process that this young Army Jawan Rajendra Singh got a stone injury on his head and later on succumbed to his injuries in Hospital. This needs immediate investigation and if found true then why is Army being employed in such a milieu ? who is this Governor to give such an order if he has really given it as is being tom-tomed? army functions as per laid down rules of Aid To Civil Authority, as enshrined in Indian constitution, where in this constitution it is written that army will not retaliate when attacked and its solders will get killed to please the civilian bosses ?

Indian Constitution lays down that Army can be employed for aid to civil authorities under two circumstances. first. It can be called upon by the civil authorities on case to case basis when civil authorities feel that situation has gone out of their control and army is needed. Then army comes in, local magistrate hands over the situation to Army in writing. The senior most officer of the army takes over the situation, sets right the situation and then hands back the control to Civil again in writing. Second. When a particular state or area is rebelling with arms then the state Government after taking permission from central government declares the said state or area disturbed. After the said area or state is declared as disturbed then Armed Forces special Powers Act (AFSPA) is promulgated and Army walks in till situation is brought to normalcy. this is how the situation has been brought under control in the past in Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam & Tripura. There is a third alternative also in Constitution in which in the said state or area Martial Law is declared an Army Governor is appointed and he deals with the situations as he pleases. However this option has never been tried in India. there are no other alternatives in Indian Constitution.

So under what Constitutional law Army is being employed in J&K since 1988 under a civilian governor as of now, who wants to win hearts and minds of people of J&K, a policy which has totally failed in Kashmir Valley since 1988 ? How can you win hearts and minds of people who do not have both ? Well the governor Sahib is welcome to win all hearts and minds he wants to win but not at the cost of Army ? current Governor Sahib has three advisers all from Police so what is Army doing in the Kashmir Valley ? today central police forces and para military forces numbering 1.3 million are more in numbers then army. Besides unlike Pakistani army or US Army, Indian Army does not use heavy weapons against insurgents under the concept that they are own people. So why use Army now in insurgency for such prolonged periods at the cost of their training for war fare and maintenance of heavy weapons when paramilitary forces numbering more than Army and with better weapons are available ?

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat says on the issue of this solders death due to stone pelters that these stone pelters are over ground workers of terror outfits. He is very right in his saying, but then are these terrorists in Kashmir Valley not gunned down without remorse by Army ? Then why this kid glove treatment to stone pelters? why are they not gunned down ? This stone pelters will stop the day army decides to do it. Army Chief says, tough action should be taken against stone pelters, then he adds an FIR has been lodged by the Army for this killing of soldier. Is this a tough action ? Why not take a stand that if the Governor Sahib wants army to be employed in Kashmir Valley then it will shoot to kill as is its mandate, stone pelters or no stone pelters, or else Governor Sahib should employ paramilitary forces available in plenty. Army should work as provided in Constitution or else Modi Government must amend the Constitution and make Army a Home Guard Organisation. There is a seething anger in Armed Forces both in serving and retired persons which is palpable due to these funny shenanigans of Netas. Army can not be treated like an appendage to police. Time Indian Netas wake up before this super organisation gets ruined. Senior Army Generals also must uphold Indian Constitution and work as per Constitution. Today's Army is much more educated and knows their rights. It needs better leadership from its Generals and does not like its Generals pussy footing Netas so that they can get good post retirement jobs.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same