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Do men in olive greens have human rights: Why is no one raising voices for the slain soldiers?

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Imphal: Coffins of the soldiers of Dogra Regiment who were killed in an ambush by the militants, draped in Tri-Colours at a wreath laying ceremony in Imphal on Saturday. PTI Photo (PTI6_6_2015_000131A)
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By Rukma Singh

Do men in olive greens have any human rights? If yes, then why no one is coming out and raising a voice for the slain soldiers.

Last week in Manipur’s Chandel district, at least 20 soldiers of the 6 Dogra battalion were slaughtered and over a dozen were injured. The tragic incident was identified as the deadliest blow to the Army since 1982 when 20 jawans were similarly killed in the state leading to the escalation of militancy for years to come.

In Himachal Pradesh, a somber atmosphere prevailed in seven villages where the last rites of slain soldiers were performed with full military honours. Hundreds of people attended the cremations.

Some families did not even get a chance to have a last glimpse of the slain soldiers since the army had asked them not to open the caskets because the bodies were charred beyond recognition.

Strangely, if this would have been an issue of defence personnel going all out against the ultras, the rights bodies would have come out in protest and the issue would have also found support in the social media.

Of Laxity And Lives

Towards this momentous problem related to the rights of Indian soldiers being gunned down, why has there been a laxity in the attitudes of the State, the media and the citizens alike?

A fact that is conspicuous by its absence here is the lack of public response and media participation in terms of delving deeper into the roots of the attack. The contrast between the Manipur incident and the instances in Kashmir where the entire country came together to advocate against violations of human rights is stark. Citizen journalists and advocacy councils spring up every time even if a bird loses its feather.

But absolutely no interest has been shown by the rest of the country to combat violations that have happened in Manipur, in the form of innocent soldiers on duty being shot.

The Humans In Army

In cases of internal insurgencies, army is typically seen as an agent of atrocities. The army, in popular discourse, is portrayed as a raping, murdering entity, which is as insensitive as the weapons its soldiers wield. People who populate the ranks are seen as a solid monolith, not just by the ordinary people of the conflicted area but by the state controlling them too. Army is nothing more than a battering ram, a Trojan horse that is destroyed in the process of destroying.

However, the widows and orphans left behind by the martyrs tell a different story. And after the ashes of the dead settle, the wails of the ones left behind echo in the houses on both sides. Yet the exclusion of soldier from the teary, rosy pages of books written by human right activists is a fact both pathetic and heartbreaking.

Jaya Peesapathy, an Indian woman residing in Hong Kong, runs a radio show based on the Indian Army. When asked about the problems faced by the Indian Army, she points out, “The army men cannot share their emotions very openly. With the kind of work they do, it’s not so suitable. If one actually gives a thought to the kind of trauma they go through emotionally, they’d realize that it is something one can’t easily handle.”

The lives of these army men and their families are in a constant state of turmoil. Chaos, hopelessness and fear have become a part of their routine lifestyle.

It’s frightening to even imagine going to sleep every night with the fear of waking up to the news of not having a loved one anymore, and to live one’s entire life without having been allowed one last glimpse of the departed.

The soldier is a human bound by duty. He is an Arjun in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. And till the time a world without countries or boundaries is achieved, every Mahabharata will have a misunderstood Karan.

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Is surgical strike the ultimate answer to Pakistan fueled terrorism?

The new policy has sent a clear indication to Pakistan that the Indian government was not averse to precision attacks similar to last year’s cross-border strike on militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir

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In the new military doctrine, India has kept the options open for surgical strikes in response to “terror provocations.”
In the new military doctrine, India has kept the options open for surgical strikes in response to “terror provocations.” Wikimedia Commons
  • The attacks on Indian military bases in Sunjwan, Uri and Pathankot are not routine militancy
  • Like every time, this time also Pakistan denied its hand in the audacious terror attack on the Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sunjwan area
  • A surgical strike can be carried out by sending Special Forces into enemy territory through various channels

On 10 February 2018, the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists barged into the camp of the 36 brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry and started firing indiscriminately. The terrorists managed to sneak into the camp from the rear end of the base after a brief exchange of fire with the sentry guarding the periphery. The Sunjwan attack resulted in the death of five Army men, including two junior commissioned officers (JCOs), and the father of a soldier.

The attacks on Indian military bases in Sunjwan, Uri and Pathankot are not routine militancy. They replicate the acts of war. Without reacting in a knee-jerk manner to the terror attack, the Indian Army will come up with a befitting reply, the like of one which army gave after Uri attack.

Also Read: Gurdaspur Attack: Is India well equipped to deal with terror?

Although, intelligence agencies had informed of some kind strike on an Army or security establishment by Jaish-e-Mohammed. The threat was issued in view of the death anniversary of Afzal Guru, who was hanged on 9 February 2013, for the 2001 attack on Parliament House.

Like every time, this time also Pakistan denied its hand in the audacious terror attack on the Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Sunjwan area. On top of that, Pakistan showed the audacity to warn India against conducting cross-border strikes.

Surgical Strike could be achieved by air raids, airdropping special ops teams or a ground operation.
Surgical Strike could be achieved by air raids, airdropping special ops teams or a ground operation. Wikimedia Commons

In the new military doctrine, India has kept the options open for surgical strikes in response to any “terror provocations.” This sends the clear indication to Pakistan that the Indian government was not averse to precision attacks similar to last year’s cross-border strike on militants in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Now the question arises, as to why Pakistan was taken on the backfoot after Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman condemned the attack and vowed to take revenge on the part of fallen heroes of Indian Army.

What is a Surgical Strike?

A surgical strike is meticulously devised swift and calculated strike on the specific target with an aim to neutralize the intended lot while ensuring minimum collateral damage to the surrounding areas. Such neutralization of the targets cut down the possibility of a full-blown war. Surgical strikes are part of India’s response to the ‘Cold War’ strategy followed by Pakistan and has already proved effective in foiling a new infiltration bid by terrorist groups across the LoC (Line of Control).

Also Read: US: Terrorist attack at Pathankot ‘heinous’

How is a Surgical Strike carried out?

A surgical strike can be carried out by sending Special Forces into enemy territory through various channels. It could be achieved by air raids, airdropping special ops teams or a ground operation. All three Indian armed forces, Army, Air Force and Navy have their separate special ops teams. The details operation like surgical strikes is understandably never been revealed by the Indian authorities. External intelligence like Military intelligence, Intelligence Bureau and R&AW are quite vital in carrying out these attacks and these special operation teams work closely with them.

Surgical Strike fulfils the need of a shot in the arm for enemies without causing serious military damage to the other side, thus limiting escalation.
Surgical Strike fulfils the need of a shot in the arm for enemies without causing serious military damage to the other side, thus limiting escalation. Wikimedia Commons

India’s Special Forces carried out surgical strikes against militant camps in Myanmar in June 2015, leaving 38 Naga insurgents dead and on similar lines, a surgical strike on Pakistan’s terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) was carried out. Both the operations had the backing of the central government and India’s muscular response was announced to the world.

Pakistan, however, rubbished India’s claim as a “figment of imagination”.

What is the need for Surgical Strike?

The surgical strike is said to be the best form of attack is political theatre. It fulfils the need of a shot in the arm for enemies without causing serious military damage to the other side, thus limiting escalation.

During the surgical strike on Pakistan, army picked their target well too and struck when the terrorists and Pakistan Army was caught virtually with their pants down. There was nothing wrong with the response which India gave to Pakistan, as the Indian Army struck in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), which rightfully belongs to India and whose freedom is something that India has a direct stake in. n no manner, that part belongs to Pakistan.

Also Read: India Avenges Uri Attack: Indian Army conducts surgical strikes on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan

Again, in a brilliant move, the army chose to target the terrorists who were being pushed into India by Pakistan from the terror launch pads. The international community also stayed united on the offensive surgical strike by Indian Army.

The global community condemns the terror in any form and India hit the terrorist in that manner only. During the crossfire at that time, two Pakistani soldiers were killed as they sought to defend the terrorists. It is no two ways theory that Pakistan army fuel full supports to various dreaded organizations and later pump them into India, in the name of ‘Jihad.’

Surgical strike humiliated Pakistan beyond imagination. It showed them up for their coward acts that they prefer to strike on sleeping people. Although, Pakistan came up with a full denial that any such surgical strike by Indian Army as claimed by India never happened. But it was the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif who admitted the Strike, which was again refuted by Pakistani Army.

During the surgical strike, army picked their target well too and struck when the terrorists and Pakistan Army was caught virtually with their pants down.
During the surgical strike, army picked their target well too and struck when the terrorists and Pakistan Army was caught virtually with their pants down. Wikimedia Commons

Conclusion

If this is the only language that Pakistan wants to talk, the Indian government and armed forces will take no lying down and every miss-adventure from any foreign organization will be dealt with the same fury. Since long, Pakistan has been testing India’s patience level on the doctrine of ‘Cold War’ strategy and now it’s high time that India should make them learn for their intended misjudgements.

Also Read: Pakistan asks India for more evidence regarding 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks

Whether a knife falls on a melon or a melon falls on the knife, it is always the melon that gets cut. In the proxy war waged by Pakistan, it is always the innocent people who have always been the worst sufferers.