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September 2, 2020

Withdrawal of forces from Valley a ruse

National

September 2, 2020

India has ordered immediate withdrawal of about 10,000 paramilitary personnel, rushed to the held Kashmir after the annexation of Article 370 last year. As per reports, a total of 40 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 each of the Central Industrial Security Force, the Border Security Force and the Sashastra Seema Bal will be taken out from Jammu and Kashmir. A CRPF company has an operational strength of about 100 personnel. So what does this mean?

India had deployed more than 300,000 additional personnel to the Valley, fearing massive resistance to the decision to end the special status of held Kashmir. Local resistance is continuing and on the rise. In one case, the Mujahideen attacked a security checkpoint, killing at least three policemen days after two security personnel were killed in held Srinagar. Kashmir Police Chief Vijay Kumar admitted that Mujahideen had attacked a security post north of Srinagar and killed one local policeman and two officers from the paramilitary CRPF. Also, an improvised explosive device planted under a bridge in the Pulwama district south of Srinagar was defused.

However, the paramilitary forces were too massive in numbers to deal with the situation i.e. freedom movement and were sitting idle. So instead of wasting more money on idle forces, the Indian government decided to withdraw only 10,000 troops of the hundreds of thousands already posted there. The decision is a ruse, telling the world at large that the situation is normalizing, which is far from it. The decision does not jeopardize New Delhi’s grip over the region and the world is not fooled by the signals of the development.

On August 5 last year, the Modi government had abrogated an Indian constitutional provision i.e. Article 370 that granted autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan and China recently issued a joint statement on the occupied Valley after talks between foreign ministers of the two countries. In their second annual strategic dialogue recently, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi discussed the Kashmir issue and progress on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor among a host of other issues. On the other hand, New Delhi continues to harp the tune that the “Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral and inalienable part of India and that it expects the parties concerned not to interfere in the country’s internal matters.”

Recently, Human Rights Watch asked the Indian authorities to immediately order an independent, impartial investigation into the killings by security forces of three people in July 2020 in held Valley. It was claimed that the three were alleged militants gunned down in gunfight but the families revealed that their killings on July 18 in Shopian district was in a fake encounter. The three were labourers in search of work.

The HRW said in its statement: “Security forces have long operated with impunity in Kashmir, and past army investigations have been more focused on shielding those responsible for abuse than providing justice…There can be no end to the cycle of violence in Kashmir if security forces are not held accountable for their past and current abuses.”

New Delhi has been insisting that the situation in Kashmir was normal but everyone understands that is not the case. The Modi Sarkar could not deliver on the Valley and if it could have had, there was no need for internet lockdown and presence of massive forces. The HRW added: “The Indian authorities have failed the Kashmiri people and have long denied them justice for decades of abuses by security forces, leading to a cycle of unending violence… The government should repeal AFSPA, ensure a civilian and independent investigation into the latest killings, and reverse its ongoing restrains on basic rights.” Is this normalcy by any means?