In an editorial comment, daily Kashmir Images writes that while dealing with the militants, security forces should ensure that civilian population is not harmed. However, as the comment concludes that Kashmir society should ponder over the issue that when a gun battle is taking place involving militants and security forces, civilian should avoid jumping in the fray.
Civilians Killings: –
In a bid to kill three militants, if you end up killing seven civilians and injuring dozens others, there definitely is something wrong with your operational preparedness and also with your attitude towards the people amongst whom you are operating. What happened at a Pulwama village on 15th December morning was uncalled for and no matter what explanations are put forth by the security forces involved in the operation, no saner element in the world will buy those explanations. Seven unarmed civilians were killed and all of them were fired upon directly hitting in heads and chests. It was a fire to kill and not some ‘frightening fire to disperse an unruly mob’. Yes, the forces involved in the operation may be patting themselves for killing three militants and thus doing a ‘great service to the nation’. But then pause for a while and think – while doing so, they have ended up killing seven civilians, shattering seven families and alienating countless others.
The explanation by police that “crowd came dangerously close” to the site of the gunfight can’t be accepted as a valid reason to open direct fire on civilians. There was nothing new in what happened at Pulwama encounter. From past more than two years it has been happening. Crowds have been trying to disrupt the operations by throwing rocks on forces. So it has become a norm and when something, you know, is going to happen, you prepare your operational strategy keeping that thing in view and thus should have by now come up with something tangible to avoid civilian casualties in such circumstances. But nothing of the sort has happened and the security forces are reacting the way they reacted to first civilian intervention during an operation in 2016. Means, no lessons have been learnt and that is tragic.
That said, we as a society too have to look inwards and question ourselves. Aren’t we also somewhere responsible for such killings? Aren’t we shutting our eyes to certain realities? When a security operation is going on, the area becomes restricted for all civilian movements. This happens everywhere in the world and Kashmir is no exception. What started in Pulwama village was a military operation. Armed rivals were engaged in a gun battle. Both had the capacity to kill and will to die. Three militants and an army man got killed. Combatants fighting combatants – fair enough (though intention is not to justify any kind of violence but both the sides are holding arms out of their own choice). Question is, why should civilians march towards a wrong place at a wrong time? When two sides, armed to the teeth, are busy in a gun battle any unarmed civilian jumping into the fighting arena can either be insane or having suicidal tendencies. That is the question we as a society have to ask ourselves. What the security forces did at Pulwama is barbaric and inhuman but what we as unarmed civilians are doing at encounter sites is insane and suicidal. It is the responsibility of the leadership, from all schools of thought to do something to arrest this dangerous trend. We as a society have to do something and do immediately to stop our children jumping into harm’s way. Galvanizing martyrs is okay but saving lives is more important and much needed.”
[Courtesy: daily Kashmir Images, Srinagar, Kashmir, December 17, 2018.]