Saturday, July 10, 2010

AFSPA debate

There is quite a bit that is wrong with the secular debate on AFSPA. NDTV had one recently (see here). Almost all points of views were represented though adequacy of some may be debated. The trigger for this debate is the alleged human rights violation of the armed forces. The human rights brigade has had phenomenal success is hijacking every important issue facing us today, but lets not go there.

It is interesting to watch secularists debate. This particular debate began with the host establishing the human rights violation angle. In their opening comments, army men in the show quickly put things back in perspective. This necessitated a change of course putting the focus back on human rights angle. Sajjad Lone helped do this with his stories with some able help from representatives of "civil citizenry". Enter Kanchan Gupta who put things back in perspective citing statistics that debunk the main charged hurled at our army. Turns out 97% of these alleged violations were baseless. Says who? How about the government and NHRC, among others. So now what is a secularist to do? Well, turn back to the human angle and that's precisely what happened.

Now it is alright to debate the army's accountability. It would carry weight if it was based on large scale violations and heavy handedness on the army's part. But, demanding the removal of AFSPA based on aberrations is where the secularists lose the plot. Myopic pursuits hardly help anyone's cause. The army has never been above law and will never be, unlike or neighbor.

The debate did touch upon something important but did not go further as it should have. The army is called in as a last resort, when the government, police, CRPF have all failed to control a situation. Rules and laws that apply in a normal situation have failed. The situation facing us in J&K is hardly normal. It is warlike situation. Now if you bring in the army under such circumstances and subject it to laws the local police is expected to operate under is utterly fruitless. Makes one wonder what is the "civil citizenry" batting for. A jihadi is not burdened by laws, he does not need an OK from a magistrate to fire at our army. Very easy to guess who is in a favorable situation.

The army is a lethal fighting machine guarding us from external threats. It should not be used to tackle internal situations. With political incompetence necessitating its use in J&K it should be empowered to carry out its job effectively. The AFSPA is that cover. To subject it to criminal laws is to neuter it completely. It will have an adverse effect on its operations.

No comments: