Rawat’s change of heart

June 14, 2018 EDITORIAL 107 Views
Rawat’s change of heart

Army chief General Bipin Rawat has favoured New Delhi’s dialogue offer with the separatists in Kashmir, which is a welcome development. He has stated that the “peace should be given a chance in Kashmir.” The statement has come in the backdrop of non initiation of combat operations (NICO) in Kashmir announced by the Government of India (GoI) recently, even as the militants have continued their attacks in Kashmir. The army chief’s statement also came at a time when General Officer Commanding (GoC) of 15 Corps, Lt Gen A K Bhatt, has stated that “there are no indications of an increase in militant recruitment during the unilateral Ramadan ceasefire” announced by GoI. This certainly marks a change in heart of the army, which had been pursuing the militants to different localities that was evoking strong protests and resulting in the casualties. Rawat was known for his strong posturing on Kashmir and even went on to felicitate the army officer who had tied a Kashmiri youth to the front of his vehicle and paraded him on different roads. He had also questioned earlier the decision of Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, to grant amnesty to the stone pelters by asking what goodwill are “they (the stone pelters) showing as the stone pelting (on security forces) in the Kashmir continues.” The Army Chief had previously also stated that the forces were ready to cross the border and launch attacks against Pakistan which had escalated the tension between the two countries. The Army should refrain from giving any political statements and strengthen the hands of political leadership in Kashmir to ensure peace. There are reports which suggest that the GoI is planning to extend the ceasefire beyond the month of Ramazan, which needs to be hailed. Some serious steps and confidence building measures need to be taken so that the peace is achieved in Kashmir. Since the cessation of NICO in the heavily populated areas, the incidents of stone pelting have significantly come down. Even people have come forward to ensure peace in some areas. In Nowhatta area the local shopkeepers assured the authorities that they will deploy the volunteers at the Jamia Masjid, which had been witnessing the frequent incidents of stone pelting between the youth and the forces on Friday. South Kashmir which has remained the hot bed of militancy has also witnessed calm in the month of Ramzan, which is coming to an end in next few days. Both the Army and the politicians need to give peace a chance and after the incidents of militancy come down the footprints of the forces in Kashmir should be reduced.

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