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“We will always fight those who seek Azadi,” Indian Army Chief warns Kashmiris

The Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, in a message to the Kashmiri youth, has said that Azadi [freedom] is not possible, stating “we will always fight those who seek Azadi

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The Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, in a message to the Kashmiri youth, has said that Azadi [freedom] is not possible, stating “we will always fight those who seek Azadi,” a media report stated. Rawat said that the forces haven’t been “so brutal” and asked the Kashmiri youth to look at Syria and Pakistan and see “how they are using tanks and air power in similar situations,” reported Indian Media.

Gen Rawat, according to the report, expressed concern over the Kashmiri youth “picking up guns” and said they were being misled to believe “this path will bring Azadi”.“I want to tell the Kashmiri youth that Azadi isn’t possible. It won’t happen. Don’t get carried away unnecessarily. Why are you picking up weapons? We will always fight those who seek Azadi, those who want to secede. (Azadi) is not going to happen, never,” he said.

On the number of militants being killed in the gunfights, he said: “These numbers don’t matter to me because I know this cycle will continue. There are fresh recruitments happening. I only want to stress that all this is futile, nothing is going to be achieved by this. You can’t fight the Army”.

The dispute began during the partition of the British occupied subcontinent, due to the refusal of the area’s hereditary ruler Hari Singh to comply with his people’s wishes, which led to a rebellion.

Gen Rawat said that he is perturbed by the killings. “We don’t enjoy it. But if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force. Kashmiris have to understand that the SFs (security forces) haven’t been so brutal — look at Syria and Pakistan. They use tanks and air power in similar situations. Our troops have been trying their level best to avoid any civilian casualty despite huge provocation,’’ he said.

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“I don’t understand why people are coming out in huge numbers to disrupt our operations. Who is inciting them? If they want that the militants aren’t killed, they should go and tell them to come out without their weapons so that nobody is killed,’’ he said. “Let anyone of them say — mein le kay aata hun (I will bring him out). We will halt our operation.”He said that the youth, by pelting them with stones, are “inciting security forces to become more aggressive.”

General Rawat said that he understands that “there isn’t a military solution to this issue”. “This is why we want politicians and political representatives to go into villages, especially in South Kashmir, to talk to people. “However, they are scared that they will be attacked,’’ he said. “It will happen once there is calm and we are hopeful that people will soon realize that all this is futile and start thinking differently”.

The Army chief said he is “ready to suspend” military operations to avoid civilian casualties. “But who will guarantee that there won’t be fire at our men, at our vehicles? Who will guarantee that policemen, political workers, our men returning home on leave aren’t attacked, aren’t killed?’’ he asked.

Rawat said that the forces haven’t been “so brutal” and asked the Kashmiri youth to look at Syria and Pakistan and see “how they are using tanks and air power in similar situations,” reported Indian Media.

On Thursday, reacting to the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks about the improbability of ‘Azadi,’ Hurriyat (M) led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq y said the desire of people to be “masters of their own fate is far stronger than any military power”.

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Further to this, Terming Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s remarks as “illogical”, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik said he “needs to revisit basic historical facts before issuing such threats”. In a statement issued, a JKLF spokesperson, quoting Malik said: “General Rawat needs to revisit basic historical facts before issuing such threats to a nation that has resolved to achieve freedom”.

The region of Kashmir is a flashpoint between the two nuclear-armed powers of South Asia. The dispute began during the partition of the British occupied subcontinent, due to the refusal of the area’s hereditary ruler Hari Singh to comply with his people’s wishes, which led to a rebellion. Faced with losing his fiefdom to the people’s army aided by tribesman from across the border, the ruler acquiesced to India in return for military aid. This led to a war between newly found India and Pakistan and later on the division of Kashmir into Azad Kashmir and IOK.

However, the Indian militarization was unable to break the will of the Kashmiri populace desiring self-determination. Despite agreeing to an UN-ordered plebiscite, India has not fulfilled its promise and instead, it turned Kashmir into the most militarized zone on Earth.

Torture, rape, psychological oppression, vandalizing of property and enforced disappearances are few methods of the sustained terror campaign unleashed by the state of India, after violence broke out in the valley in 1988. It seems that in contrast to New Delhi’s narrative, Rawat’s threats to the Kashmiri youth has revealed the Indian design of viewing Kashmir as a colony instead of an integral part.


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