Should forces responsible for over 100 killings be praised for restraint?

February 1, 2011

India’s Prime Minister praised the work of security forces in disputed Kashmir on Tuesday, in a show of support for troops that killed over 100 separatist protesters last year that risks angering those that resent India’s large military presence in the state.

Indian policemen stand guard during a curfew in Srinagar September 21, 2010. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

The remarks represent a seal of approval for security forces that are cited by many Kashmiris as an element of the violence, rather than the preventers of it, and come as a team of interlocutors enters its fifth month of talks in the troubled region, and almost two months after Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said that a political solution to the troubles was likely to emerge “in the next few months.”

But can Manmohan Singh’s praise for the “tremendous restraint” of Indian forces in Kashmir be applauded considering they have been responsible for the death of over 100 separatist protesters in months of violent clashes since last summer?

“It is really unfortunate and sad that despite tremendous restraint shown by the security forces, many young people died,” Singh told a conference of state chief ministers in New Delhi on Tuesday. “As we meet today, the situation in the valley has improved.”

Such rhetoric — regularly trotted out by New Delhi and military leaders — is reviled by many in Kashmir by those who resent the perceived heavy-handed treatment by India’s security forces.

Last month, India appeared to be moving towards a reduction in ground forces in the state, while discussions roll on regarding the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act — much-maligned by Kashmiri citizens.

Kashmir is claimed in full by both India and Pakistan, and the neighbouring rivals have twice gone to war over the Himalayan region. In September, New Delhi announced an eight-point conciliatory package aiming to calm the violent unrest against Indian rule.

“The summer of 2010 saw a troubled period in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in the form of protests, particularly by stone pelters,” Singh said, adding that there “can be no let up if we are to succeed in our fight against terrorism and communal violence.”

Barely 12 hours before the Prime Minister spoke, two teenage sisters were abducted and killed by militants close to the Kashmiri border with Pakistan late on Monday, local media reported as violence in the state took its first victims of 2011.

As the political dialogue appears to be ramping up, is it time for New Delhi’s drum-banging for security forces in Kashmir to stop?

6 comments

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@Henry

Is it really the forces or the government itself responsible for killing over 100 people?? Look deeper to get the knowledge. How can you expect Indian military to go soft when incidents like the one you mentioned keep occurring from time to time.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@ Henry Indian forces have killed more than 100,000 people in Kashmir. They have raped more than 9000 women. They committed mass rape in a village called kunan poshpura. Thousands have been forcibly disappeared. There are mass graves in Kashmir, 9000 people in a single grave.
2 yrs back they raped and murdered 2 women in Shopian, and then used CBI to cover it up. The incidents as mentioned above are committed by Army, and the renegade millitants backed by the state. Army is committing atrocities on people, not on the criminals. Infact we have ample proof that Indian state has sheltered drug dealers, Criminals and sex rackets. We caught drug dealers who were trying to lure youth to drug abuse, but state police took them away and set them free. India’s hand are red with the blood of Kashmiris. We will never forgive the monster India for the crimes it has committed in Kashmir

Posted by Oppressed1947 | Report as abusive

Reading Henry’s account, you could be forgiven for thinking that the police fired regular rounds at peaceful Gandhian protesters without any provocation.

Posted by trickey | Report as abusive

Reading Henry’s article it seems that the security forces are supposed to just wilt away and die in Kashmir. I dont where he is from but I would urge him to check the records of security forces of US and UK in places like Yemen/Malaysia/Northern ireland/Iraq/Afghanistan and then misuse the opportunity that he has of writing a blog.

Posted by IndianBeginner | Report as abusive

“But can Manmohan Singh’s praise for the “tremendous restraint” of Indian forces in Kashmir be applauded considering they have been responsible for the death of over 100 separatist protesters in months of violent clashes since last summer?”

While the author accepts that it was separatists who were protesting (and protesting violently) maybe he should give us his opinion of what the security apparatus should have done. Showered rose petals?

Is it also the author’s contention that because there are interlocutors involved and a political process underway that law and order should not be a criteria? Does he realise that there are more people in the valley who are fed up of these protestors, propoganda agents and abetters of violence and their mentors than they are of the security apparatu?. Besides, can the State just lay back and become a bystander to violence? He certainly seems to be suggesting so.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

@Oppressed 1947
***I am curious why kidnapping and killing two teenage sisters by militants did not raise as much hue and cry as the rape and killing in Shopian case where people in the valley were protesting.

Why not protest like that now?

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive