Mohammad Ali Baig
WHY Kashmiri youth in particular and people in general are protesting over the illegal and unlawful Indian rule in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and are demanding independence and liberty? Why Indian Army Major Leetul Gogoi used Kashmiri youth as a ‘Human Shield’? Is Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat unaware of the term ‘War Crimes’? India has been illegally and unlawfully holding Jammu and Kashmir for almost the past seven decades. Jammu and Kashmir is a warzone and 27-years old Farooq Ahmed Dar is among the millions of prisoners of war illegally held by India. On April 09, 2017, Indian Army’s Major Leetul Gogoi did the worst ever act by tying Farooq Dar to one of its military jeeps and used as a ‘Human Shield’ to ward-off the Kashmiri protestors from throwing stones. New York Times reported that an Indian soldier was announcing over loudspeaker that ‘Look at the fate of the stone-pelter’.
The Indian Government has failed to calm down the Kashmiri people. First, it used political means and tried to pacify people by giving a number of so-called development projects. But surely it has even failed to imagine the wishes of the Kashmiri people. After failing politically, the Indian Government has resorted to the use of military means. The Indian Military apart from being famous for slaughtering thousands of innocent Sikhs during Operation Blue Star in 1984 and extra-judicially murdering 30,000 Sri Lankan citizens in the capacity of Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) from 1987 to 1990; is again active to brutally crush the Kashmiri youth.
Historically, a German paratroops’ General Kurt Student used British prisoners of war (POWs) as a human shield on May 22, 1941, at Crete, Greece, during the Second World War. Men acting under Gen. Student were victorious and achieved the desired military objectives. After the war when Germany lost, a British Military Court started proceedings against Gen. Student and using British POWs as a ‘Human Shield’ was among the charges. The Court found him guilty and sentenced Gen. Student to five years in prison.
Major Gogoi and General Student both committed war crimes, but Gogoi received commendation from Indian Army Chief while Student was imprisoned. Maj. Gogoi violated every law existed on the planet earth especially the moral law. Maj. Gogoi violated the Geneva Prisoners of War Convention of 1929 by using Dar as a human shield. Article 7 of the convention clearly stresses on the immediate removal of prisoners from the war zone. Those who will criticize the author for comparing these two different scenarios must keep in their minds that Kashmir is a warzone. If it is not, then why Indian Army is deployed in the streets of Jammu and Kashmir? This move by the Indian Army has seriously maximized that Indian Cold Start Doctrine and its pivotal assertion to hold Pakistani territory is in fact intended to use Pakistani population as a human shield so that defenders of Pakistan would not be able to counter-attack.
Apart from the debate, the Indian Army Major Gogoi exhibited that i) The entire Indian Army lacks morality, ii) Indian Army is so much weak that it just cannot resist the jubilant Kashmiri youth, and iii) It also reflects that the Indian Army is in fact an organized gang of rapists, molesters and criminals. Last year in April, Indian Army extra-judicially murdered Khalid Wani by torturing him and breaking a number of bones in his body.
The virulent Indian Army now intends to amplify their brutal tactics to break the will and determination of the Kashmiri youth. Retired Lt. Gen. H. S. Panag of Indian Army tweeted on April 14 that “Image of a ‘stone pelter’ tied in front of a jeep as a ‘human shield’, will 4 ever haunt the Indian Army & the nation!”. Surely, not only it will haunt Indian Army but it will give birth to a thousand men to ultimately become Burhan Wani – the Kashmiri freedom fighter.
The Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat must resign over his non-serious statement, misconduct and state-terrorism of Indian Army. The conferring of a medal for Maj. Gogoi makes it easy to draw that there is no such thing as morality known to the Indian Army and its planners. It is requested to the international community and the United Nations that the Indian Army war criminals Gen. Bipin Rawat and Maj. Gogoi be tried in military courts and be imprisoned or hung like ordinary criminals for using innocent and unarmed Kashmiri people as human shields. The video of Farooq Dar made it possible for the world to know about the war crimes, atrocities and violence orchestrated by Indian Army, but unfortunately thousands of such incidents could not make it to the world.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.