Home minister Rajnath Singh is on a visit to the Kashmir valley. One expected that he would make strong statements against terrorism in the state during his visit. However, he has made a statement that is bound to backfire badly. He has made a controversial announcement that cases against first-time stone pelters will be withdrawn. In a statement due to which he is bound to drawn a lot of flak, he said that “children make mistakes”. At the same time he also said that talks can be held with everybody, and that being like-minded is not necessary but the people should be ‘right-minded’.
In a shocking disclosure, Rajnath Singh has announced the withdrawal of FIRs against 10,000 youths involved in first-time stone pelting for the sake of their future. Modi government has been known in the recent past of showing zero tolerance and sympathy towards terrorism. However, this statement is bound to cast a shadow of doubt on its attitude against terrorism. This remark has been made in pursuance of an attempt to bring the youth of the state on the path of rapid development.
One understands that the government wants to bring the youth of Kashmir on the path of development. But withdrawing cases against stone pelters is definitely not the right way to go about it. The foremost condition for bringing the state on the path of development is ensuring law and order in the valley. However, peace in the state cannot be ensured without taking stone-pelters to task. There has been general acceptance over the fact that stone pelters hampering the operations by security forces in the valley must be treated in a manner akin to terrorists. Even Army Chief Bipin Rawat had made it clear in the past that the Army will retaliate in full force to stone pelting.
It is beyond comprehension how those forming part of violent mobs can be termed as “children”. Those who have been indoctrinated in an extreme manner must be taken to task in order to ensure that peace and harmony prevails in the valley. Allowing them to roam around freely is going to be a dangerous move. It is equally outrageous how stone pelting was dismissed as a mere “mistake”. Stone pelting on the security forces is a criminal act and must not be taken to be a minor mistake. The state ought to treat such anti-national elements attacking the security forces and disrupting peace in the valley as any another criminals. No exemption must be giving to such despicable youngsters in the valley.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh has obviously made an attempt to woo the Kashmiri youth and take them away from the clutches of terrorism and separatism. However, there was a need to balance conflicting interests. Security forces should not have been demoralised by allowing the first-time stone pelters to go scot free. In fact, the government must allow the security forces to decide on how it tackles the menace of stone-pelting by anti-national and pro-terror elements. At the end of the day, the security personnel have to face stone-pelters and only they understand the challenge posed by such mischievous elements. Therefore, interference by the government was totally unwarranted.
Modi government has been praised by one and all for taking a strong line against terrorists and separatists in the valley. Rajnath Singh has, however, made a huge mistake by making such an irresponsible decision. This will definitely raise a question on the intent of the Modi government to take on anti-national elements in the valley in an aggressive manner.