The filing of a first information report against the Army for shooting at Kashmiri hooligans pelting stones at them was an atrocious act of the Jammu & Kashmir Police. It made a further mockery of the coalition government of the People’s Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party when the State’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed that the FIR enjoyed the consent of Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In this age of information superhighway and social media, the truth of the incident soon reached the people via videos, wherein a convoy quietly passing through a neighbourhood in Shopian was targeted by the miscreants. In other footages that surfaced, soldiers passing gently through the streets of Kashmir are seen booed, hooted, heckled and, when none of that works, manhandled. The dutiful and responsible soldiers that they are, they still avoid a confrontation unless commanded to retaliate. The government of the State behaved like a renegade when the Supreme Court had to virtually plead with its police to not take coercive action against Major Aditya Kumar and fellow soldiers, hearing a plea of his father dated 9 February to quash the FIR, not only on 12 February but again on 5 March.
When the charge against the Army of the country is that it has “murdered” people (Section 302) and/or that it attempted to do so (Section 307) — as the FIR lodged against personnel of the 10 Garhwal Rifles under the Ranbir Penal Code (applicable in Jammu & Kashmir) alleges — the very premise of the nation-state collapses. It suggests that some people can engage in a free-for-all with the assurance that the designated protectors of the country should watch the lumpen elements on like mute spectators while also grinning and bearing the insult! Ironically, Ganovpora saw no FIR lodged against the militants in the crowd who destroyed government property and threatened to harm (perhaps kill) the soldiers. The goons were certain they would have to bear no consequence for their bellicosity. Since the jawans’ exercise in self-defence ended three lives, it is the fault of the unit, whatever might have transpired to trigger the reaction! If the police of Jammu & Kashmir are so blatantly on the side of the anti-nationals, there canot be a better reason than this to impose President’s Rule on the State ― technically, Governor’s Rule under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir ― to let the Union seize control of the affairs of the province.
Things have come to such a pass in the Valley because the Indian state has tolerated to the extent of coming across as a pushover to the belligerent Muslims who enjoy the sympathy of closet secessionist Muslims of Kashmir who masquerade as moderate elements to stay in power. The expectation of the BJP leadership that their collaboration with a temperamentally separatist PDP would drive sanity into the State-based party has long been dashed. Its image across the nation could have taken a beating, but several other issues confronting India diverted citizens’ attention away. As the fugitives in cases of bank frauds have put the National Democratic Alliance government on the same pedestal as its predecessor, the United Progressive Alliance government, in a commoner’s perception, whatever be the merits of the notion, a brave show of nationalism alone can save it in the next general election. If that option cannot be as extreme as a war with Pakistan that sponsors these terrorists, it cannot be anything less than dismissal of the rebellious Jammu & Kashmir government. If not for its love for the nation, the BJP will have to take the tough decision to save itself.