Everything is fair in Love and War: Ram Madhav on ‘Human Shield’ video

BK Monitoring Desk/Srinagar
April 21, 2017 TOP STORIES 285 Views
Everything is fair in Love and War: Ram Madhav on ‘Human Shield’ video

Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary and the main architect of the BJP-PDP Ram Madhav has backed the Army over the Kashmir ‘Jeep video’, saying everything is fair in “love and war.”
Madhav was speaking to CNN-News18’s Shreya Dhoundial about the situation in the Valley in the backdrop of the violence during by-poll for the Srinagar Parliamentary constituency on April 9.
The Excepts of the interview are as follows:
The Kashmir Valley is on the boil once again and complicating matters are ministers in the government there who are saying “pathhar ka jawab bullet se hi dena chahiye”. Do you agree with that point of view?
No. I disagree with this statement. The politicians better leave these matters to security forces. They know how to handle the situations. We should leave these matters to the security forces who are handling the situation in the valley. I disapprove of such public utterances by political leaders. Having said that, I agree with you, Kashmir situation is certainly troubling all of us.
There’s a battle of narratives going on in the valley. We’ve seen two videos play out over and over again on our television screens. The video of a civilian tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep, we are calling the ‘Jeep Video’. Do you think the young major responsible for the act should be punished or awarded?
First of all, one has to understand the kind of situations our security forces face in the valley. In this particular case, the young major was left with two options. One was to allow the mob to lynch 50 civilians and closely equal number of security forces personnel there. Allow the people to over-power them and do whatever they wanted to do. The other option before him was to indulge in indiscriminate firing because he had 10 personnel with him. Use them to indiscriminately shoot at people and kill them.
I compliment that major for not allowing both these things to happen. In either scenarios, there would have been huge amount of loss of human life. He tried to avoid that. If I were to blame anybody today for that scenario, I would blame those who are responsible for failing to send reinforcements when the situation was critical and it was informed to seniors. The reinforcements could not reach in time. One can try and take a moral position on what he did was right or wrong. Everything is fair in love and war.
There is a war out there in Jammu and Kashmir?
War-like situation emerges when 900 to 1000 people with heavy stones stand in the way, you are left with only two options. Go and crush them, indulge in some kind of killing spree which that young major avoided, I will compliment him for the decision he took. He saved the lives of the people in the police station, the officials and also his own boys while not allowing any civilian casualties.
A lot of commentary on the social media has been on the Kashmiri’s human rights, that you cannot use a civilian as a human shield. What about his human rights?
Those who talk about human rights, what they do all over the world, everybody knows. What America is doing, what Russia is doing, so let them stop giving lectures on human rights.
These are not Americans and Russians. These are Indians voicing their opinion.
No, since you used the phrase all over the world, I said we are not bothered about what the world thinks about us today. We are bothered about saving the lives of even a single person in the valley. In fact, I would say that this young major has protected the right to life of a large number of people, both who were in the police station – his boys- as well as the youngsters who were misled into indulging into stone pelting and all. He has protected the lives of the people, he has protected the human rights of the people. In the process, yes, he had to take one harsh decision which nobody wants. Who wants such a situation to be allowed to happen? Nobody wants it. But in order to protect the human rights of many more, if one person’s human rights are assumed to be violated or curbed, I think leave that judgement to the major.
There are many retired army generals who have gone on record, they have written about it as well that this is one image that is going to haunt the Indian Army for many years to come. Do you agree?
Fair enough. Fair enough. People can have different views. That was the instant reaction of many people I know when the video was flashed out. Flashed out in a very dramatic manner by irresponsible politicians, who always have become famous for being irresponsible on social media. When they flashed out those news item, there was immediate reaction by many well-meaning people also. But I’m sure after understanding the whole situation, probably they will also revisit their own statements even otherwise let them I mean in a democracy everyone is entitled to his view.
Is it fair to interpret that the government is backing the young major? Government is committed to maintaining peace. We do not want a dead body a day, which the militants want, which the Hurriyat want. They only want it so that they can perpetuate their agitation in the valley. They are the real violators of human rights, they use people as human shields. Instead of questioning them, you are questioning a major who has saved the lives of many people in a very critical situation.
In a second video, a trained and armed CRPF men were heckled, hit and kicked but they didn’t respond. The narrative that has played out was a great story of restraint. But is that the image you want to go out to the rest of the world about our armed forces?
No, that image, that video shows the kind of unruliness that prevails in the valley. Let people understand that before making a judgement about what a major did is right or wrong. Let them understand that’s the kind of unruliness, violent atmosphere that prevails in the valley.
Again, in this case, I would say, I would partly blame those who have failed to provide the reinforcements when you have the responsibility of safely taking the ballot boxes to the district headquarters you’d have enough security forces available to do that.
And you have allowed the youth to mock at the people, physically assault them. It is very unfortunate. Somewhere down the line, I blame our security establishment for its failure. Nobody can tolerate such things. But yes, we compliment the CRPF jawans in such a scenario that they preferred to protect democracy.
What is going on in the valley according to your assessment? You’re the pointperson for the government of Jammu and Kashmir. Polling percentage of 7%, 2%. Young boys in school uniforms throwing stones at security personnel. A view in the MHA that possibly the Anantnag bypolls should be postponed. What is going wrong?
Last year, I remember you had said we were not prepared. You know we didn’t anticipate this sort of violence. We were not prepared and therefore confused in how we should react to it. This time the government is not looking more prepared than it did last time.
Well, I said it in the beginning that the situation in the Kashmir is certainly a cause of concern for all of us. Not just for us in the ruling party. I think every right thinking Indian is concerned with what is happening in the Valley today. Remember, six to seven months ago I think, we had Anantnag Assembly bypolls. We had 80% polling. Mehbooba won with more majority than what her own father, Mufti saheb, used to get. That was the kind of climate at the time 6 to 7 months ago. This after the stone pelting and all. But 6 months down the line we are faced with such a situation where we conducted the election in Srinagar with great difficulty, low percentage of polling. And today, the second phase of elections in Anantnag had to be postponed to sometime in May. There is definitely a change in the situation in the valley. Now we are the ruling party, we cannot go and blame somebody else. We are a ruling party in the state. We are the ruling party at the Centre. We have to take the responsibility for it and we have to try and improve the situation. I’m telling to you, to the people today, that we are committed to handling the situation in a manner that would not allow these separatists and their sponsors across the borders to take advantage of it again. We’ll handle it.
You are saying very confidently you will handle it but where is the government? It was missing in action last time when violence broke out. It’s missing in action this time as well, so the situation in the valley almost like civilians vs the Army, security forces vs Kashmiris. The political establishment who should have been there taking stock of the situation, calming tempers down, is missing.
I disagree with you, the PDP-BJP government in the state is trying its best to, number one, to undertake a number of development projects so that people get benefit out of them. Number two, also to do its best to maintain law & order in the state.
And they are failing miserably.
I agree with you. I agree that’s why I repeatedly said that somewhere down the line, security establishment and the state government need to be more cautious, more proactive. We needed to do better there; we needed to do better to improve the situation.
I tell you, when Srinagar election happened, half of the central forces could not reach because of the landslides and road blockade at the Banihal Pass. With meagre forces, the state government was forced to conduct the elections. There were situations that had led to this kind of an atmosphere in the valley that we have to take that into account. It’s our responsibility we cannot run away, that is what I am saying we will do it.
You were one of the chief architects of the alliance between the BJP and the PDP. Has the alliance become a liability?
Look, this whole question, is not about alliance or alliance government. There is a challenge to the Indian state, there is a challenge to Indian national unity and integrity. If you are asking me as to whether the BJP-PDP state government has done enough to control the situation, I’m ready to admit that we could have done better, we should do better, it is our responsibility. We can’t blame anybody else because we are the ruling party. But, if you ask me if it is a liability, I say no, we are there, we are together with a purpose, our purpose is to provide good governance to the state, our government, both the parties, are striving to deliver. Situation is difficult but such situations have been there in the Valley so many times before.
Commentators who are saying this situation is almost like the 80’s, that we are back to how it was in the 80’s when militancy began.
Look, commentators can say anything. Those who are saying it is back to 80’s probably would have not seen 80’s at all. I am saying that in 2017, the situation is much different. Today, there is a large role of social media in promoting violence and separatism in the valley. We have to tackle that and this new style stone pelting which the youth have started using in the last six to seven years also needs to be tackled differently. The whole purpose of the separatist leaders is that they just want one dead body a day, they use it to provoke more emotions, more violence. We have to maintain our calm, maintain our balance and still manage to control the situation.
Is India losing social media battle in the valley?
No. not at all, not at all, social media is a medium which cannot make you win or lose any situation on its own. It can complicate situations, it has the potential to complicate it. Are you suggesting that if we win in social media, we win over Kashmir? It does not work that way, social media plays a role of complicating your problem which is happening in the valley today.
And we have not been able to control it.
We have to work proactively on the social media front. We have been discussing with the concerned ministries, concerned departments that we have to be more proactive but that is not going to decide whether you win or lose Kashmir.

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