Rebuttal to a half baked post

Law and Order Military Terrorism


One of the crosses that institutions like the Armed Forces bear in ensuring our country remains a thriving democracy is to receive potshots from every Tom, Dick and Harry (or Harriet). People with a lot of passion, but little understanding of issues at hand beyond what they read in the newspapers or see on television, become self appointed activists. Perhaps in their imaginations they are valiant crusaders fighting for the underdogs, brightening up their otherwise dreary lives by vicarious pleasures form the comfort of their armchairs.

Normally one tends to ignore such stupidities. But once in a while one doses feel obliged to respond. Particularly since the organization itself does very little to counter such slurs to its reputation. The result of one such instance is the comment below on one such post – Indian Army – Magic Formula to have beautiful and successful daughters:-

Dear Kamayani Bali Mahabal,

I often wonder why so called “Human Rights Activists” like you NEVER document and raise the rapes, murders and violations by terrorists, naxals and the likes. Is it that they don’t take place, or that people are too scared to talk about them in general? Or that they don’t really much such a good story?

I also wonder if any of the armchair activists in this country have any real understanding of the situation – or whether they only thrive on rhetoric and rabble rousing without logical application of mind. Reading your post today really makes me wonder.

Firstly, do you really think that such a hoarding would have been put up by the Army? If you do, then you really don’t have the moral and intellectual right to comment on matters related to the forces. The board seems to have been put up by someone to derive just the kind of mileage this post is deriving from it.
Secondly, lets get a few things about AFSPA in perspective:-

  •   The act has not been created by the Indian Army – it is the legislature of this country which has passed. it.
  •   It is not applicable all the time, or across the country. It is ONLY applicable in areas declared as disturbed by the government, and where the Army is deployed. The fact that the government has decided to use its instrument of last resort internally means that the situation is beyond the capability of the regular machinery to control. NOW, if the situation is extraordinary, how can it be dealt with using the ordinary laws.
  •   There certainly have been cases of excesses. But these have been aberrations. And for every genuine case of excess, there have been thousands of false complaints. Please stop spreading the fallacy that AFSPA grants immunity to perpetrators. You yourself have cited the case of Harbhajan and Gurtej Singh, where they got 10 years RI for rape. What AFSPA grants immunity against is the harassment of troops by false complaints. At the same time, the Army itself takes the matter of Human Rights violation very seriously, and takes appropriate action against any cases found genuine.
  •   If it wasn’t for the AFSPA, every soldier who served in Kashmir or North East for two years would spend the rest of their time and money traveling from one court to another trying to fight the false cases foisted by motivated and / or misguided parties.

As regards why no one talks about HR violations by terrorists and Naxalites, maybe because they are too scared of the repercussions, while there is no such danger from a disciplined force like the Army.

Fortunately for all people like you who trash the Army but enjoy a sound sleep because of them, the official machinery of the forces is too busy doing their job to worry about defending themselves against unwarranted attacks like this post. It is therefore left to old fogies like self to stand up for what we believe is true, and prevent people like you from getting away with saying what you please without really understanding issues or going into details.

3 thoughts on “Rebuttal to a half baked post

  1. This is the reply to my post by the blogger. My response is in the next comment.

    Dear Rohit

    This advertisement is by Army i also happen to see it on the roads of Patiala, and if it is not they should say so and disown it but they have not so far.
    Secondly, sure act is not created by army but obviously army endorses it and please read here what general v k singh said- AFSPA was a ‘functional requirement’ for the armed forces in certain areas . SO IF ARMY DOES not want it wont be there. The army which resists all attempts to lift AFSPA, says it has its own justice delivery systems and there is a strong and vigilant court martial process. But there is no transparency since one has no access to court martial proceedings and no information is shared either with the public or even the victims.” In several cases Right to Information applications are refused under exemptions.One of the key recommendations of the Verma Committee report has been that sexual offences by armed forces personnel be brought under ordinary criminal law, but this has not been acce[[ted under the new law.The real impunity of militarism lies in its use of land, indulgence in civil society and enforcement of militaristic rule. In a recent PIL hearing on fake encounter in manipur- the SC said ‘ It is clear that such laws have for long been part of the problem in these areas. Blanket immunity for security forces has led to murder, rape and other crimes. And when the legal framework vests such crimes with impunity, it vitiates the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law that are necessary for the citizens of these areas to feel part of the national mainstream. I agree Naxalism is a problem, but why are these poor people attracted to a politics that will end in death? Have we created such a heinous system that death is more attractive than the deprivations and humiliations this system doles out? If that is so, why should I defend this system? All that these people want is food, health care, school, clothes and their legitimate right over their land. Yet, instead of weaning them away by strengthening the democratic process, if we are going to run our democracy only on the strength of weapons, I fear we are entering a dangerous and irreparable state. WThe human rights accountability is to state, and when violence is permeated by the terrorists or naxalites it is equivocally state dby human rights activists, what we say due process of law should be followed which never is and they are killed brazenly in form of custodial deaths, fake encounters etc.

    and BTW i do not have a sound sleep because of army, infact i do not have sound sleep thinking whats happening to soni sori in prison, when will rape survivors of konan poshpara will get justice, will irom sharmila will be alive the next morning who has been on hunger strike? You keep on writing without really knwoing whats happening on ground .I have sent letter to defense secretary and the advertising council, let them tell me its not army I am not an arm chair activist btu a kractivist, who is very much grounded and whats happening in the areas i have visited chhattisgarh and seen myself how system works.

  2. This is my response:-

    Dear Kamyani,

    In case the ad has indeed been placed by the Army, and I take your word for it, then I agree that it is stupid and misplaced. But then you find stupid people everywhere.

    As regards the AFSPA, you still haven’t got my point. You make it sound as if the Army is keen to do policing or internal security duties, and thus is keen to ensure AFSPA. Rather than agitating for the removal of AFSPA, why don’t you agitate for the removal of the Army from such roles? Or do you want the Army to continue providing the security, but without a legislative protection from frivolous litigation? I am specifying protection from frivolous legislation because despite the AFSPA, ALL complaints are investigated and acted upon, and there are numerous examples to prove the same.

    I agree with Gen VK Singh when he says that AFSPA is a functional requirement – and the sub-text is ‘in case army is to be used in such roles’. Because the act provides the legal framework for it to function in this role – like opening fire, pursuing, searching premises without warrants, destroying property and buildings. Yes, in the absence of the law, all these acts would not be possible. And a counter insurgency situation is akin to war, where the people operating, while chasing an insurgent, can’t be expected to go back and get a search warrant if he runs into a house. That’s the reason why these powers are given, because it is expected that the act will be enforced in situations that are war like. In case the situation is NOT warlike, as you all claim, then why don’t you ask the government to withdraw the army. You are just fighting the wrong battle.

    In the case of the Naxalites, I agree with you that the problem is caused by abject poverty resulting from government policies. And incidentally, in these areas AFSPA is not in force, and the army is not deployed.So you are mixing up two issues.

    As regards the lack of transparency in military trials / law, thank God for that, for it keeps them from becoming the media circuses that our normal high profile trials are in civil courts. However, despite the lack of such transparency, the justice in courts martial are swifter and surer. Remember the Tehelka case? The only people who have actually been punished are the armed forces personnel who faced court martial. What happened to others who were part of your transparent system? And what about the Delhi Gangrape case? Forget that, people who assassinated the Prime Minister of the country are still undergoing trial after 20 years!

    It is very convenient to brand the army as the bogey and feel righteously good about it. Be thankful that you are in a country where the armed forces have the deepest request for the democratic institutions, and therefore you have the liberty to do so. You don’t have to look very far within the subcontinent to see what would have been the circumstances here had the Indian Army also been as ‘militaristic’ as you believe it to be.

  3. Something for our Human rights organisations to think about

    A female libertarian wrote lots of letters to the White House complaining about the treatment of a captive insurgent (terrorist) being held in Guantanamo Bay. She received back the following reply: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, D.C. 20016 Dear Concerned Citizen, Thank you for your recent letter roundly criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Quaeda detainees currently being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You’ll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself, we are creating a new division of the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the “Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers” program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud (you can just call him Ahmed) is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. It will likely be necessary for you to hire some assistant caretakers. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter. Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his “attitudinal problem” will help him overcome these character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. We understand that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills at your next yoga group. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless (in your opinion) this might offend him. Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters (except sexually), since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him and he has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the new dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire. I’m sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of “respecting his culture and his religious beliefs” — wasn’t that how you put it? Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the proper way to do our job. You take good care of Ahmed – and remember…we’ll be watching.

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