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|Army makes hole in Omar’s peace balloon|
|Wednesday, 25 July 2012 22:20|
IN the ongoing verbal duel between the Army and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, one is confused as to whom to believe and whom not to. While the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah maintains “peace is gradually taking roots and days of desperation are vanishing” in Jammu and Kashmir, the army observes the situation is “alarming.”
The sparks flew when General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 corps Lt Gen, Om Prakash after reviewing the situation in the valley said that the atmosphere was still alarming. General Om Prakash based his assessment on the renewed attacks and intelligence inputs that militant handlers were desperately trying to strengthen their cadre base by way of infiltration and local recruitment besides planning to launch suicide attacks.
It is surprising that the civilian government and the army are not working in tandem and coming out with the real picture of the prevailing situation in the valley. The chief minister, to some extent is right to assert that the valley is on its way to normalcy as the state has witnessed massive inflows of tourists and Amarnath pilgrims. Equally, the army’s statement can’t be taken lying down as the state has witnessed some serious incidents such as the shoot-outs at Pampore, Kulgam and Rajpora during the last few days.
Apart from shoot-outs, there have also been deliberate attempts to create sectarian violence by disgruntled elements by setting religious places of eminence on fire. The basic purpose of the exasperated militants was to instigate mobs against the government and the security forces, thereby disturbing peace and tranquility in the state. Credit goes to the people for maintaining calm and peace in such a highly charged environment. The evil-minded managers of the dirty game plan left no stone unturned to cash in on the emotional and religious sentiments of the gullible Kashmiris. The militancy-burdened people gave them a befitting reply by not indulging in arson and frenzied violence.
The truth remains that Kashmir has not yet fully recovered from the pangs of militancy as terrorists “are neither completely out nor down”. There are reports that while 200 to 300 militants remain active another 550 to 600 were waiting at various launch pads near the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to infiltrate into the valley. Apart from that, terror infrastructure in PoK and Pakistan was still intact.
According to intelligence sources around 70 Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists have sneaked into the Valley since May. Keeping in view the militants’ attempt to reorganise its cadre and rejuvenate attacks on security forces, the chief minister needs to reassess the situation and fully cooperate with the army in formulating a strategy to defeat the evil designs of the Jihadis guided from across the border.
The presence of militants in the valley is the main reason for the army to challenge the revocation of AFSPA and withdrawal of forces from the state. Last month the army chief has conveyed to the government in unequivocal terms that complete withdrawal of armed forces was not possible, unless militancy is totally wiped out from the state. His prophecy has proved right as the militants have started raising their heads again.
In between the civil-military stand-off separatist leaders have castigated both sides for making false impressions of peace and alarming situation in the valley. Mirwaiz reacted by saying “Both the Army and Omar Abdullah have their vested interests in pronouncing the recent statements. The Army is running a parallel government here. The intention behind their statement that the ‘situation is alarming’ is to make it as a pretext for keeping the draconian laws like AFSPA applicable in the Valley.”
Separatist hawk Ali Shah Geelani stated “Both the statements are unrealistic. Army wants to legalise their presence by saying that the ‘situation is alarming’. And as far as Omar Abdullah’s saying that ‘peace is taking roots’ is concerned, he wants to give a wrong picture of the situation. He is talking about peace that is enforced by dint of the gun. Our freedom and basic rights are being curbed. Without an iota of doubt this is not real peace.”
Meanwhile, United Jehad Council (UJC) chief, Syed Sallahudin said “such statements are aimed at justifying continued impunity of armed forces under black laws like AFSPA. The statement is beyond truth.” Salahuddin also refuted the GoC’s claim that militants were planning to launch suicide attacks in Kashmir.
There are no two opinions that the army has done an excellent job in Kashmir. It is only due to their tireless efforts and round-the-corner vigil that peace is slowly returning to the state. Moreover, there has been tremendous increase in tourist arrivals-reportedly more than 13 lakh tourists- in the state. The large influx of tourism has not only brought smiles on the faces of people connected with tourism, but economic prosperity as well.
Let’s hope and pray that no more violence happens and no more people are killed. All Kashmiris-both Hindus and Muslims-have suffered a lot during the past 23 years. It is time for Kashmiris to tell jihadis to leave us alone - Thousands of Kashmiris have died - enough blood has flowed in the Jehlum.
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