Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Re: [IAC#RG] When Army Chief Says He Wishes Kashmiris Were Firing At His Men

My dear MG, how do we know for certain that Dhar was innocent? Also how do we know that he was paraded around across, some say five villages, other put the figure at 20 and you say 25 villages. I learn that he was handed over to the police.

  Ofcourse crowd control etc is not the job of the army, but with so much police (state and central ) call is still being made to the army. Further what come out of the Valley requires plenty of SALT for its digestion. I say this with long experience of serving in the Valley.

You might read through my article on the subject. It appeared in The Citizen.

Regards and best wishes.  Harwant.

                            Human Shield

            Lt-Gen Harwant Singh ( Retd )


      Many a commentator has drawn a parallel of Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi's action of carrying a stone pelter on the bumper of a jeep, with torture of Mau Mau terrorists of Nairobi, while some others have equated this action with the massacre at My Lai by U S troops in Vietnam. Even a parallel has been drawn with Jallianwalla Bagh tragedy.


       Some others have quoted Vienna Convention on violation of human rights, where using humans as a shield is considered violation of this Convention and a war crime.   Then there are the likes of Omar Abdullah, now out of power, who have gone overboard on this action and exaggerated the incident to the extent that the man on the bumper of a jeep was driven through a number of villages. Further, the action violated citizen's fundamental right and was against Constitution's spirit. Does someone who casts stones at security forces not forego, his right to be treated gently. To contend that Farooq Ahmed Dar had cast his vote in the morning, so it did not matter if he turned into a stone pelter in the afternoon, is simply absurd. .

       There were a dozen policemen and election staff at the polling both, surrounded as they were by a few hundred strong bloodthirsty mob, when a desperate call was made to the army detachment for rescuing them.  The policemen in the polling booth were armed with rifles and they could have shot their way out, killing dozen odd rioters.  At another end , this military detachment could have used firearms, killing few and injuring many more and rescued those trapped in the polling booth.


     Since the call had been made to Major Gogoi to rescue those trapped in that polling booth, he had two options. One, to use force to kill few and wound many to disperse the crowd and rescue those trapped, or think of some innovative method, whereby casualties could be avoided and yet those hopelessly trapped could be rescued.  


      Some of us who sit in secure environments, perhaps under air-conditioned comfort, cannot visualize the pressure, stress and the heat generated, when one is face to face with a bloodthirsty mob and called upon to take an instant decision.


     Carrying a stone pelter on the bumper of a jeep has been dubbed as human shield, which it is claimed, is a serious violation of human rights and human dignity etc. The fact is that he shielded nothing and no one. That jeep itself and those following it were not shielded and lay open to stone pelters and those with petrol bombs. 


    What the Geneva Convention refers to is, using prisoners, civilians and women upfront to face enemy fire, while troops move behind the cover of those being placed up front. To compare carrying this stone pelter with human shield as envisaged by many a commentator, is giving free reign to wild imagination.  It is the anti-national elements in the Valley who have often put women up front, when facing prospect of action by security forces.


    This simple action of carrying a stone pelter in this manner, lowered the tension and became a source of amusement, mirth, laughter, dropping of stones and clapping of hands by the otherwise, murderous mob.


      Many in this incident found an opportunity for army bashing.  Some others have strongly criticized the army chief for commending the actions of this officer.  While others have drawn a parallel with fall of Roman Empire and quote from Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, that only the, 'dead smile.' However in this case the mob, not just smiled but laughed.


   What the Indian Army is facing in J and K, more so in the Valley, is the cumulative failure of the Indian state to resolve the issues and poor, indifferent, thoroughly corrupt and inefficient government in the state.  To this one can add the nurturing of dishonest and anti-national elements : providing them security and funds by Indian government, besides  Pak ISI.


     The prevailing conditions in the valley and the onerous tasks of restoring peace, handed down to the army, requires patience, innovation and out of the box solutions, backed by a political will and sagacity. Uncalled for criticism of major Gogoi's action further exacerbate the anti-India bias and feeds the call for, 'Azadi.'

From: <> on behalf of MG Kapoor <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 7:22 PM
Subject: Re: [IAC#RG] When Army Chief Says He Wishes Kashmiris Were Firing At His Men
The question here is not whether there was any other or better solution. The question is whether it was legal to make an innocent person captive, tie him up with the jeep and parade him around 26 villages for over five hours. (Put this to your own self and answer truthfully if you, your kith and kin or near and dear had been similarly tied and paraded for five hours and the reason given to you was that it was to save the security personnel at the polling booth!) 

What was the aim of parading him through 26 villages? Was it to "intimidate" the Kashmiris? If so, was it correct to terrorise your OWN people? 

If Dar was a terrorist he should have been arrested and not tied and paraded, as was done by Major Gogoi. 

Please remember means are as important as the ends. 

If we believe Dar's version that he dared go to the polling booth to cast his vote against the dicta of anti-nationals (he purportedly showed even the indelible ink mark on his finger), then he was definitely made a soft target for those who were instigating and even threatening people not to vote. Thus Dar's life was put to risk. 

Basically to handle civil riots is not the job of the Army and Army is not equipped for it. It is the job of the civil police which is equipped with water guns and smoke bombs to disperse the rioting crowd. So, the Army Chief should have the guts to tell his political bosses that it is not Army's job to curb civil riots or disperse mob. 

In as far as comparing Major Gogoi with Gen Dyer is concerned, no two situations can be or are identical. In fact Major Gogoi's action was even worse than that of Gen Dyer in as much as wheras Dyer was acting against Indians (other than his OWN British people), Gogoi was acting against the Kashmiris, our OWN people. 

What we have heard is only Gogoi's version. The very fact that an Army spokesperson said that Army Chief was Day to day knowing as to what was happening in the Court of Inquiry goes to show that the court of inquiry was not "Independent" and suffered from command influence. 

Even if we do grant Major Gogoi the benefit of having acted as "he thought" the situation demanded, to rescue the security staff at the polling booth, once that had been achieved, he should have released Dar. This is without prejudice to my contention that his very act of making Dar a captive was by itself wrong; whatever be the reasons. 


I certainly do not approve Gogoi's act and Army Chief's act of rewarding Gogoi.

This incident will go down as a BLACK SPOT in the anals of Indian Army. 


On Tue, 13 Jun 2017 at 7:16 PM, m.g.r. rajan <> wrote:

In all fairness, one should leave decision making, for the action to be taken, on the war-front, or battle-filed or ground-zero to the man there. He is risking his life and limb following orders. Certainly, our army men are not trained to be sadists, who get pleasure by ill-treating or harrassing naive civilians. Since we may not have an independent, unbiased version of what actually happened that day, give Maj. Gogoi the benefit of doubt for his action. Certainly, his action did not escalate the violence in that area that day nor was the person tied to the jeep hurt. To say that, 'an innocent bystander was tied to a jeep and paraded along' is not correct or ethical in the least.

R. Rajan

From: <> on behalf of MG Kapoor <>
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2017 9:52:53 PM
Subject: Re: [IAC#RG] When Army Chief Says He Wishes Kashmiris Were Firing At His Men
Absolute truth. I entirely agree. Even Gen HS Panag and General Hooda agree with my views. The analogy I gave of the present incident to be similar to the action of Gen Dyer in Jallianwala Bagh is ascribed to by these Generals, both of whom are distinguished Generals. 
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