Kashmir is one of those parts of the country where even many of the civilians have participated in largely disruptive activities. This is not limited to people taking up arms and joining terrorist groups and are ‘active’ terrorists. Then there are those who are ‘passive’ terrorists who indulge in disruptive activities from time to time but go on living a normal civilian life otherwise.
The problem of stone pelting in Kashmir where the security forces are hounded by hundreds of people throwing stones at them is an example of ‘passive’ terrorism. The passive terrorists are mostly unarmed, untrained and are citizens of the country who have to be provided security; these people are not established terrorists. They can be students and young professionals with bright careers. Given these layers that form passive terrorism, it is more difficult to deal with it than active terrorism.
Stone pelting has been a major problem for the security forces in the valley. Although it has come down drastically in the last couple of months, it still remains a problem. The issue that grabbed headlines last year was when several personnel of Indo Tibetan Border Police were stuck in a booth office, surrounded by passive terrorists who would not let anyone come near the booth. Major Gogoi of 56 Rashtriya Rifles caught a stone pelter and tied him to the jeep as a warning to all the potential stone pelters. The result was that the ITBP personnel were successfully rescued.
There was a lot of hue and cry about the incident and strong voices to take action against Major Gogoi. But instead the Major was applauded for his action.
A somewhat similar incident took place a few days ago when the army had to open fire on protestors who pelted stones at the Army convoy in Shopian district of South Kashmir. In the course, two people got killed and several others were injured. However, this time an FIR was filled against Major Aditya of Garhwal Rifles for killing two Kashmiri civilians. The FIR was filled at the behest of the ruling PDP-BJP government.
However, Northern Army Commander Lt General Devraj Anbu was in no mood to sound apologetic. As per him – The police have prematurely put the name of Major Aditya,” He said that the truth will come out, when the police investigates. Lt General Anbu also said “in such cases, a generic FIR is filed as per the norms”.
Speaking about the incident Lt General Anbu said “It was in self-defense and protection of the property by government that is invested on us, we had our own inquiry and are clear that Major Aditya and team responded when they were provoked to the ultimate,”
The BJP demanded that the FIR be withdrawn immediately but Chief Minsiter Mehbooba Mufti refused to give in to the demands and supported the police action. This has created turmoil within the coalition government.
Subramanian Swamy spoke strongly against Mufti’s move and said that the BJP should withdraw support and topple the coalition government. Swamy took to twitter to express his anger and said that the FIR would be prelude to renewed demands of independence and will lead to more bloodshed.
The Road Ahead for BJP-PDP
What Swamy’s fiery remarks about withdrawing support may achieve is yet to be seen but what is sure is that the BJP is a junior partner in the PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu & Kashmir. Whether it is about tackling separatist demands, the settlement of Rohingyas in Jammu or support for Army in curbing militancy in the valley, BJP has got little or nothing at all from the Mufti government. The fact that PDP supported the FIR against Major Aditya is a proof that it is seeking to appease Kashmiri separatists in a bid to win the next elections and form the government single handedly.
It is time that BJP introspects and rethinks what the party has got to achieve from the coalition. This move of the Mufti government should be the final trigger for the BJP to exit the coalition lest it loses even Jammu in the next elections.