Thursday, July 28, 2016

As A Soldier I ask; Withdraw AFSPA - Politicians Will Never Do It? They are Fooling People

There has been an intense debate in country over withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act on ground of it being called draconian law which empowers army to search any premise and arrest any suspected person without warrant in areas declared disturbed by govt.

The law in legal perspectives, only extends executive powers of arrest of police to army empowering them to use military force. In other words the law facilitates use of military force by civil govt to assist police in execution of arrests in areas where security situations are disturbed. The law in no way tempers with rest of the legal procedures of civilian justice system.  The law is necessitated as police in these areas finds themselves unable to enforce law and order, therefore required military force is used to execute arrests to maintain order.

There is no doubt about AFSPA being harsh as it allows soldiers to use military force on their own civilian population. But it is also a fact that such harsh laws are required to deal with a situation which has gone out of control of civil authorities. The real problem is not in the application of law but failure of political and civilian authorities to take charge when the situation has become almost normal after counter insurgency operations by the military. It is this failure on part of political and civilian authority which actually prolongs military deployments in police duties to cause hardships not only to civilian population but soldiers too.

For example in Kashmir after almost decade plus of counter insurgency operations and fighting a Pak sponsored proxy war, soldiers could bring democracy back to give people an elected govt. Politicians failed to catch and build the momentum of normalcy created by soldiers. The situation erupted again indicating a loose hold of politicians on population. It is this disconnect between politicians and populations which creates disturbance where in army's deployment is prolonged.

It is a known fact that soldiers dislike being used in prolonged police duties in  counter insurgency operations as it affects their war preparedness.  During Kargil war soldiers did take some time to shed hangover of CI operations to come back on war fighting grid.

It is actually the politicians and civil administration which doesn't want army to go back to barracks. They lack confidence to take charge of the situation. Army being around gives them a safe and secure atmosphere wherein they keep engaging in corruption and loot. In insurgency infested areas as the central assistance in form of more funding goes up so is the corruption. The fact is In Kashmir corruption levels have gone up since the time insurgency erupted. In Assam and NE activities like coal, drugs, gold and wood smuggling has increased with insurgency. Terrorists, politicians and babus have ganged up in this joint loot. Police has stopped doing security duties as army is around. If the people are at discomfort due to ongoing military operations their anger increases when they see politicians and govt officials engaged in heightened corruption activities. Naturally they come to streets as they are being crushed from two sides.

But what is the fault of soldiers? It is not their job to do police duties. They are not trained to use minimum force. They always shoot to kill. Politicians and Govt have to make up their minds. If the situation has been restored to normalcy and it is a law and order problem then let soldiers go back to barracks and let civil authority  take charge. Expecting army to operate under civil criminal laws for law and order duties will be highly disastrous. Army is not police and shall not be converted into one or else who will fight national wars? Soldiers are also humans. They have capacity limitations and surely can not adapt to two roles same times which are 180 degree apart in nature and when you have CAPF then why expect soldiers to do their jobs? After all life time earnings of CAPF soldiers is more then twice than military soldiers. Military soldiers are surely not scavengers. They have a constitutionally well defined executive role and they shall concentrate on that.

Politicians are doing double talk and firing guns from shoulders of soldiers. To public it is said "Army is against lifting of AFSPA" and on other side Politicians don't want soldiers to go back to barracks as they feel insecure if it happens. Politicians want to use army soldiers like police constables and get them beaten from terrorists by amending AFSPA? Why? Why this insistence? Don't convert lions into sheep? The day that happens country's security structure will collapse. Let us not forget soldiers did desert posts in 62 war. If you pitch soldiers without protecting their pride and logistics, best of the armies will melt.

Let good sense prevail.